It seems like it's been a long time since you felt this way, your anger throbbing like a rotten tooth. You can still smell the sickeningly sweet odour of Brookmeyer's burnt flesh, even long after you left the man in that dreary Iraklin field hospital. You could never claim to be especially close to the man, but his injury represents something deeper – an insult to your entire crew, and a sign of how far Sinclair had fallen.Sinclair. Albert Sinclair Fortuin, the man responsible for the attack on Consul Hess' estate – the man who fled the fight and left his erstwhile allies to die. You were comrades once, fellow patriots, but now you doubt that you'll ever be able to think of him as anything other than an enemy. Not content with his own self-destruction, he tried to drag as many other people as he could down with him.So you're angry. You're angry at Sinclair, for what he did, and you're angry at yourself, for what you could not prevent – although perhaps no reasonable precautions could have prevented what had happened. Were you supposed to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder, waiting for your former comrade to attack?No matter how futile it might be, though, your restless anger remains.
>>2452042>Twitter: https://twitter.com/MolochQM>Previous: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Into%20the%20Skies>Airship combat rules: https://pastebin.com/DTLDheZ6“A pilot looking for work?” Trice repeats, considering your question as Doctor Barnum prepares to sew up the gash on her arm, “I don't know anyone. All the pilots I know are already working for the church, and that's unlikely to change in a hurry. Why do you ask?”“We could do with someone to pilot the ship while I'm away,” you reply, “If we could have brought the Spirit of Helena in earlier, we might have been able to catch Sinclair before he escaped. Blessings is... he knows a little about piloting an airship, and he might be able to handle it eventually, but he's not ready for the real thing.” You sigh, watching as Trice winces at the needle's first bite. “It's difficult,” you continue, partly to distract her, “Most airship pilots aren't the sort to take second place. Once they can fly well enough, getting a ship of their own is the next goal.”You're a little surprised that you can talk casually like this, considering that it's been barely an hour since you were getting shot, but on some level you know that you're just trying to distance yourself from it all. As you watch Trice squirm and fidget – every movement causing the doctor to murmur some faint chastisement – there is a knock at the infirmary door. Freddy enters a moment later, holding a bundle of clothes out before her.“Captain, provost, I managed to scrape together some spare clothes,” she announces, setting the bundle down next to Trice, “That dress is hardly practical wear, so I thought-”“Hey!,” Caliban interrupts, barging in, “We just got word on the radio. There's been a sighting of the airship that just attacked the consul's manor. It was sighted heading into Zenith, into the thickest part of the Drift. That's difficult territory – the Iraklins can't send their own ships in, not without clearing it with the Carths first. Instead, they plan to put out a bounty on the ship – it goes public in one hour.”“Great!” you snap, leaping to your feet, “But how did you hear about this?”“One of the consul's men, Carter, radioed us with the details,” the hunter explains with a wolfish grin, “The way he saw it, you've got some personal stake in this – he thought you might appreciate the head start.”A chance to hit back at Sinclair... you hadn't anticipated getting this chance quite so soon. When the bounty goes public, there will be no shortage of men out for his blood. One way or another, Sinclair will get what's coming to him. The question, then – should you be the first man to give pursuit, even if it means flying into all the dangers that the Drift has to offer?>You'll chase Sinclair. You can't let this chance slip away>You'll let Sinclair run, and focus on the Vault of the Sun>Other
>>2452043>>You'll chase Sinclair. You can't let this chance slip away
>>2452043>You'll chase Sinclair. You can't let this chance slip awayLet's do it. The vault isn't going anywhere.
>>2452043>You'll chase Sinclair. You can't let this chance slip away>Call Kez, gotta make sure those shield upgrades are either up and running, or completely off. Going in with half-modified shields sounds reaaaaally bad.>Also get her opinion on Sinclair now. We can spare a few minutes for that.
You'll do it. You can't let this chance slip between your fingers. The Vault of the Sun – everything else – can wait.“Everyone, get to your stations,” you order, already hurrying out of the infirmary, “We're moving out – our destination is Zenith. Caliban, give me the full picture here, where exactly was Sinclair headed?”“Exactly?” he repeats in a tone of faint exasperation, “If I had an exact location, I would have told you already. North-east, that's all I was told, and probably far out. This isn't my territory, captain, so don't expect me to sniff out-” Cutting him off with a curt gesture, you brush past him and hasten towards the bridge. “His ship is called the Maiden Red, registered to a captain... Captain Rusalka,” the hunter continues, “Carmen Rusalka. Do you know the name?”“She fought in the war, although she's not exactly a patriot,” you explain, “A smuggler, more like. She was worried that the Iraklins would tighten up the laws and put her neck in a noose. I don't know why she's risking her life for Sinclair now, but... hell, who cares about her?” When you arrive at the bridge, you sit down and grasp the controls. The engines are hot, ready to fly, and soon the Spirit of Helena is rising. As you begin your ascent, you send Keziah a blunt summons.“Not so rough, boss,” the witch curses as she arrives on the bridge, panting slightly from her rush in arriving, “What's the problem?”“Those shield upgrades,” you ask, “What's the status on them?”“Those? I'm still piecin' together a list of what we'll need. Some delicate parts in there, delicate and expensive,” she answers, “I hope you werenae expectin' them to be finished already. I'm good, boss, but I'm not...”“Just so long as our shields are functioning at full power. We might be flying into a fight, and I don't want us to be caught with faulty, experimental shields,” glancing around at Keziah, you flash her a quick snarl of a smile. Your blood is pulsing through your veins now, hot and violent, with your heart pounding out a drumbeat. Sensing a precipice before you, you shake off some of the fury. “Sinclair,” you announce, spitting the name out, “We're going after him.”“Aye,” Keziah replies after a long pause, “I thought that might be it.”Her reaction, her lack of a reaction, stabs at you. “Is that IT?” you snap, unconsciously making some minute alteration to the controls, “In all likelihood, we're going to end up fighting. One of us isn't going to be walking away from this. Is that all you've got to say?”“What do you want me to say?” she shoots back, “I hate this, and I hate him for pushing us to this! When I thought he was dead, that was... Better that he HAD died back in the war!”She hates what this has come to, and so do you – but that hate won't change anything.[1/2]
>>2452070When you arrive in Zenith, at the ever-shifting border of the Drift, you set the Spirit of Helena to hover for a moment as you stare out at the labyrinth that you are about to enter. Keziah mimics your silence for a while before some lingering fondness compels her to speak. “Maybe he'll come quietly,” she murmurs, “Maybe we can convince him to surrender, to hand himself in. If he does that, maybe the Iraklins will be-”“Lenient?” you finish for her, “When have you ever known them to be lenient on criminals they catch?”“I mean...” Keziah hesitates, “They never hunted US down after the war, right?”You don't answer that. Instead, you take the controls and gingerly shift into forward motion. The background hum of the engines changes subtly as the airship responds to your command. Keziah lingers for a moment more before sighing and leaving, slinking back to the engine room. As she's leaving, you hear Trice greet her cautiously. With all your focus directed towards the ebb and flow of the Drift around you, you can only spare Trice a passing glance as she sits down beside you and studies the screens and the data that scrolls across them. Leaning forwards, she starts to fiddle with some of the controls.“You've got a scanning array, don't you?” the provost asks, although it's a question that she already knows the answer to. “Looks like... nothing in the immediate area,” she continues, “You're heading deeper in?”“I'm heading deeper in,” you repeat grimly.-For all its dangers, the Drift can have a strange and alien beauty about it. Shafts of sunlight pierce through the curtain of dust and rubble that hangs transfixed above you, while islands of all different sizes surround the Spirit of Helena. Some are garlanded with greenery, vines hanging down like trailing fingers, but others are desolate rock. A few of them even show signs of human hands, structures remaining upon them from long-abandoned mining efforts. Impossible murals painted onto stretches of bare rock tug at your attention, the faces of saints and daemons leering out at you.“It always gets me,” Trice murmurs, “This place, I mean. I understand why pilgrims come here. Chapels are all well and good, but... if the Lord of Rising Light is to be found anywhere, it's here.”To that, you just reply with a faint grunt. You don't feel the stirrings of faith when you look about you, you just feel a mounting frustration. It's only gut instinct that drives you forwards now, with nothing to prove that Sinclair is out here. Maybe he just skimmed through the Drift in order to shake off a tail and then-And then the radio crackles, growling a long note of static out at you.[2/3]
>>2452105Through the surging tide of static, a voice emerges. “...Vaandemere, old boy, is that you?” it asks, “Shouldn't have followed me here. This... bad place. Nothing here for you... Turn back, or...”“Interference. Probably from some Pleonite deposits somewhere, they can play havoc with radio equipment or sensors,” Trice offers in a low, furtive tone, “But he can't be that far away, otherwise we wouldn't be able to get anything at all. Let me see... we're getting some Pleonite readings from up ahead, he might be using those to hide. Just turn a little and then keep moving forwards.” She points to the left, gesturing vaguely to suggest a faint adjustment to your course. Following her lead, you nudge the Spirit of Helena forwards a little more and the static blurting out of the radio begins to fade.“...Won't take a hint, will you old boy?” the voice continues, the thinning static revealing it to be that of Sinclair himself. “Very well then. Why don't we settle this face to face?” he suggests, “We can see you on our scanners now. There's a good, flat island further ahead. Why don't we meet there? You send your skiff, and I'll do the same – we can talk, man to man. There's no reason that we can't settle this like civilised men.”“Let me guess,” you reply, “You want me to come alone and unarmed?”“Good lord no!” Sinclair laughs, “I know better than to ask something so foolish of you. Bring as many soldiers or mercenaries as you like. What do you say, old boy?”His question hangs in the air. Ahead of you, you spot what must surely be the island he means – it's a flat scrap of rock, with hardly anything to serve as either distraction or shelter. Further ahead, the Drift grows thicker still. A dense maze, perfect to hide an airship within.>Fine. I'm sending my skiff out now>No deal, Sinclair. I'm coming for you>Other
>>2452122>No deal, Sinclair. I'm coming for youI don't trust him to keep that deal, not after the shit he's been pulling recently.
>>2452122>No deal, Sinclair. I'm coming for youI trust our airship more than our guns. Less risk of getting shot in the back afterwards, toogood to have you back, moloch.
>>2452122Hey Moloch is the radio private or public to everyone on the bridge? For both us and Sinclair
>>2452132>I'd say public. It broadcasts over a speaker and picks up voices through a mic. Pretty much the same as talking over speaker phone, really.
>>2452141Alright cool.>>2452122>No deal, Sinclair. I'm coming for you>Other"I've got a counter offer, but not for you. To the crew of the Maiden Red, I only want Sinclair. If you give him up I'll let you all go free. He isn't the man that you fought alongside in the war. The Sinclair I knew wouldn't have abandoned his men to save his own skin, throwing their lives away in an act that accomplished nothing. I don't know if Pastonia will regain it's sovereignty, but I do know that nothing good will come with Sinclair at the head of any resistance. Carmen, if you are there, take back your ship before he takes it down with him."
>>2452155>>2452122Supporting this.All the attack was, was lashing out. Maybe if they build up resources and whatnot they could one day free Pastonia, but throwing away their lives just to inflict pain . . . it's sad in every way.
>>2452122 >Spend five years as a drunk mobster, and we'll be hiring Sinclair as ourskiff plot. It worked with Iraklins, didn't it?
You look across to Trice, shooting her a wry look that causes her to smile humourlessly. “Trap,” you mouth silently, and she nods her agreement. With everything else that he's been doing, you hardly trust Sinclair to honour any kind of deal you might make – even something as simple as meeting face to face. Hell, if Sinclair radioed you to tell you that the sky was blue, you'd look out and check.“No deal, Sinclair,” you radio back, “I'm coming for you, sure, but we're going to meet on my terms. You can't hide out there forever.”The soft hiss of static greets you, and then Sinclair lets out a hard laugh. “I suppose I've given you ample reason to distrust me, old boy,” he replies, “Very well then. Come, then, and we can settle things in-”“But I've got another offer to make,” you interrupt, raising your voice so that it can carry over the radio to whoever waits on the bridge of his ship. “I'm making this offer to the crew of the Maiden Red,” you call out, “I'm not here for any of you – I'm here for Sinclair alone. If you give him up now, you have nothing to fear from me. Sinclair is not the man that you think he is – he's not the man who fought in the Annexation War. The Sinclair I knew wouldn't have abandoned his men to save his own skin, throwing their lives away in an act that achieved nothing. I don't know if Pastona will ever reclaim her independence, but I know that nothing good can come of letting Sinclair steer her path!”Trice flashes you a sly grin, and you continue. “Carmen, if you're listening to this, you're on the wrong path,” you add, “Take back your ship, before Sinclair takes it down with him.”A cold silence washes out of the radio, and then you hear a muffled shout – a feminine voice raised in anger. Someone shouts back, more voices crying out protests, and then the radio link is abruptly broken. “That should give them something to think about,” Trice chuckles, “Good thinking, Milos. Sounds like not everyone on their ship is a fanatic.”“I hope so,” you agree, “A lot of men on that ship...” That thought goes unfinished, the words never finding their way to your lips. In another life, you silently add, you could have been one of them.-Pressing further into the Drift is slow work, and it's almost twenty minutes before anything happens. A chime of warning sounds, shrill and faintly hysterical. “We're getting a reading on a ship now, probably the Maiden Red. Can't think who else would be out here...” Trice reports, reading off the screen, “But I'm getting some interference off something, that Pleonite deposit perhaps. She's... her shields are down, totally dead. Do you think...”“Damaged in the fighting,” you agree, “It sure sounded like there was some fighting, at least.”[1/2]
>>2452194It is then that the curtain of dust and rubble parts, and the Maiden Red looms out of the Drift. She's an ugly ship, all blunt angles and dull metal without even a token attempt at giving it any warmth or life. Looking out at the ship, you have a sudden memory of Carmen's old airship – the Kingfisher, brought down but not destroyed in the war. Now that had been a beautiful ship, her hull painted like a scenic landscape.As if stirred by your memory, the radio blurts into life once again. “That was a nice trick you played, Vaandemere,” Carmen Rusalka snarls, “But it wasn't nice enough. Not everyone on this ship is a gutless coward.”“Like Sinclair, you mean?” you spit back, “Come on, Carmen, don't do anything stupid here. There's no point in dying for his-”“You don't get it, do you? This isn't just HIS war!” she barks, “We've all got our own reasons to fight, and some of us still have the spirit for it.”“Fight?” you blurt out, “You've got no damn shields! This is suicide!”“No shields, sure,” Carmen laughs coldly, “But that just means that we've got more power for our guns. If I'm going down, I'll happily take a traitor like you out with me.”Carmen always did have a vile temper. This is it, then. This is as far as words go – from here, you'll settle things with blood. Glancing across the data screens, you check the figures and smile grimly at what you see there. The engines are hot, the missiles are loaded, and your hull is in good shape.>Current Hull: 25/25>Current Power: 10/10>Recharge Rate: 5>Missiles Remaining: 3>Advance (Target becomes one range band closer)>Fire Pleonite Cannon (1D8 damage, +2 damage for every 3 Power spent)>Fire Missile (1-3, 1D4 damage each)>Other>Going to keep voting windows open for 10 minutes or so, just to keep things moving along.
>>2452235>Is Rusalka a muscular blonde? Then we can just forgive her.
>>2452235>Fire Missile (1-3, 1D4 damage each)2 missiles>AdvanceAt a -2 to our cannons let's save our power for shields.
>>2452235>Fire Pleonite Cannon (1D8 damage, +2 damage for every 3 Power spent)3 power
>>2452235Though actually, can we fire the cannon as well as the missiles? We'll be at a -2, but we don't have to use extra power for it. It would just potential bonus damage.
>>2452235>Fire Missile (1-3, 1D4 damage each)Lets open with a salvo and a repetition of your offer to let them walk, while advancing.> All she's doing is killing more Pastonians. In the name of what? None of this helped Pastonia in any way.Was Pastonia just an excuse for her to continue killing? Did it really matter earlier that it was Iraklins, or was Pastonia just an excuse to kill, an excuse that she's using on her fellow countrymen on both your side and hers.
>>2452235I'll back >>2452248>>2452265Bro that's just going to make her dig her heels in.
>>2452265Well we should keep offering to accept her surrender at any time.
>>2452265>Was Pastonia just an excuse for her to continue killing?She's a smuggler not some murderer. Appeal to her potential freedom as a Free Captain, don't start throwing accusations of being a killer at her.
>Closing the vote here, going with an opening salvo of two missiles. So, calling for a roll of 2d4, taking the best of the first three results.>>2452256>We can't fire both missiles and cannons in one action, unfortunately. With our current equipment, it takes a moment to switch between them.
Rolled 1, 3 = 4 (2d4)>>2452289Damn would've done all 3 missiles had I known since we'll probably be switching to our cannon once we advance. Something to remember for next time.
Rolled 2, 2 = 4 (2d4)>>2452289
Rolled 2, 1 = 3 (2d4)>>2452289
Rolled 3, 4 = 7 (2d4)>>2452289
Rolled 2 + 2 (1d8 + 2)“Captain Rusalka!” you snap over the radio, hoping to get through to her, “Listen to me! None of this is going to end well for you. Your crew, your ship, your own life... you're throwing it all away! Just surrender now, and you can-”“Shut up!” Carmen interrupts, an ugly fury causing her voice to crack, “I've already lost everything! WE'VE already lost everything, so just shut your damn mouth! Shut up!” A crash cuts her rant short, and you realise that she must have broken her end of the radio. With no time to waste on regret, you twist a dial on the radio and connect to Gunny on the lower decks.“Gunny, we're fighting. Are all your men at their stations?” you ask, only to continue before he can answer you, “Deploy the missiles, send two of them her way. This is the real thing, Gunny, no hesitations!”“Aye, captain!” he shouts back, his voice taut with some unreadable tension, “Two missiles, heading her way now!”The Spirit of Helena shudders ever so slightly as the pair of missiles drop free and launch, tearing across the sky and punching into the Maiden Red. The airship bucks as the missiles collide with her hull and blossom out into brilliant explosions. Through the rapidly diminishing flames, you see the wounded ship swinging around to reveal her Pleonite cannons. A gaudy blue glow builds as the Maiden Red prepares to fire.“Brace for impact!” you call out, “Engine room, get those shields ready!”>Current Hull: 25/25>Current Power: 5/10>Recharge Rate: 5>Missiles Remaining: 1>Devote how many power points to shield? (1 power per 1 damage reduced)
>>24523344Don't we have 10 power though instead of 5? We didn't use any on the cannon.
>>24523344 points to the shield
>>2452338>That's right. I copied the stat block and overlooked that edit. That's my mistake. Writing now, with four power towards the shields.
>>2452349Are directed shields possible? Like does it just project in a bubble, or could it be projected as a plane?What happens when two shields touch?If our beams interact with shields, could we use beams to "push" on shields? How much space does a shield need?Do we know about batteries to store power for an extra boost?
>>2452349How does pure pleonite react to shields?
>>2452366Maybe save those questions for after the session since he's trying to write combat fast.
“Shields, magnitude four. We can take this,” you order, watching as the cannon fire splashes against your rapidly blossoming shields and spreads harmlessly outwards. It's like watching the surface of a lake after a stone has been cast into it, with lightning visible through the rippling waters. The attack is weakened by the distance between you, and your shields are sufficient to block it completely.“Shields holding strong,” Gunny reports, as if you needed him to tell you that, “Power coming back online. Readings are looking good, captain.”And now your engines are feeding new power into the Spirit of Helena's systems, preparing you for a new attack. With her shields down, the Maiden Red is easy prey – there's only one way that this fight can end, and yet you find yourself wishing otherwise.>Current Hull: 25/25>Current Power: 10/10>Recharge Rate: 5>Missiles Remaining: 1“Captain?” Gunny prompts over the radio, “Orders?”>Advance (Target becomes one range band closer)>Fire Pleonite Cannon (1D8 damage, +2 damage for every 3 Power spent)>Fire Missile (1-3, 1D4 damage each)>Other
>>2452374>Fire last missle, advance
>>2452374>Advance (Target becomes one range band closer)I'm guessing we can't fire and advance.
>>2452374>OtherSend Freddy out in the skiff with a telescope. Don't harry, but instead stay in the Drift scouting the Maiden out. Just in case Sinclair tries to steal the skiff and books it. Also for potential targets of opportunity or something.
>>2452374>>Advance (Target becomes one range band closer)>Fire Pleonite Cannon (1D8 damage, +2 damage for every 3 Power spent)+ 6 power
>>2452374We might as well fire a big one now, after advancing they will only be at -1. So we can still block up to 4 damage with the shields.
>>2452394But then only be at a 5/10 for the next round.It's boring, but we should try only doing 3 power usage shots (+2). Our shield advantage only stays relevant if we have power and we know they'll be using all theirs in their cannons.
>>2452397I mean. They don't have any shields so maintaining a distance where we minimize the danger from their charged cannons is a good idea. We can spend more on our shields and chip them to death. But hopefully quickly overwhelming them will make them surrender.
>>2452399>We can spend more on our shields and chip them to death.Probably the best bet. It does cost money to repair hull damage.
>>2452374>>2452392Changing to just firing the cannons with +3 energy.
“Hold fire for now,” you reply, “I'm taking us in closer, and then we'll...” You bite back the last of that sentence. “And then we'll gut her”, was what you almost said – a cruel thing to say, even towards your enemies. There are lines that civilised men ought not to cross. Shaking off your dark thoughts, you grasp the controls and push the Spirit of Helena hard, pushing her closer to the Maiden Red.It looks even uglier at this reduced distance, the scars left by your missiles standing out like blemishes on someone's face. As you're moving closer, you give Freddy the order to deploy – to survey the area, and to watch for any signs of trouble. As you're bringing the Spirit of Helena into a firing position, the Maiden Red remains still and silent. The attack you expected does not come, but you don't waste the opportunity.“Gunny, hit them with the cannons,” you order, “Magnitude three!”“Magnitude three, aye,” Gunny replies, his voice lacking in his usual enthusiasm. A moment later, you feel a faint vibration running through the ship as the cannons begin to charge.>Calling for a dice roll. 1D8+1, and I'll take the highest of the first three results.I'm sorry about the delay, I I'm a little out of it at the moment.
Rolled 8 + 1 (1d8 + 1)>>2452449
Rolled 2 + 1 (1d8 + 1)>>2452449
Rolled 1 + 1 (1d8 + 1)>>2452449
The Maiden Red is a sitting duck, perfectly unable to resist or defend against you as the Spirit of Helena digs her claws in. Your cannon fire rakes across the Maiden Red's hull like a knife slipping down a fish's belly. Explosions flash into life and die across the ship as it jumps and bucks. With a sudden violence, the Maiden Red wrenches around and shows you her backside. Engines flare into life as it begins to withdraw from the field. Either Carmen's courage has broken or someone else has taken control of the ship – either way, the result is the same.“She's disengaging,” Trice mutters, “Good engines on her...”She's not wrong. The Maiden Red is quick, perhaps quicker than you are in a straight race. Not only that, but every second you spend wheeling the Spirit of Helena around to give chase is another second that Sinclair can use on getting a lead on you. Even so, you wrestle with the controls in order to pursue. Ponderous, the Spirit of Helena lurches around until you're gazing straight into the retreating airship's rear. As you start to give chase, you see a skiff dropping free from the Maiden Red – the same skiff that Sinclair used to attack Consul Hess' manor.As soon as the rebel skiff deploys, Freddy guides the Eliza towards it in order to engage. Neither of them are armed, but she can harry its movements in order to keep it in check. A moment later, the Iraklin contacts you.“Captain, their skiff contacted me!” she announces in a clipped voice, “They say that Sinclair is still aboard the Maiden Red. They tried to take the skiff in an escape attempt, but they couldn't get away immediately. I can't see Sinclair in the cockpit, but I only caught a short look. What should we do with them?”“Patch them through,” you order, glancing aside before returning your gaze to the Maiden Red, “Give them our frequency. I want to talk directly to them.”Freddy doesn't reply, but soon another voice replaces hers. “I repeat, we are NOT armed,” the unseen pilot reports, a faint tremor in his voice, “Sinclair and Rusalka are still aboard the Maiden Red. We're just trying to survive. I won't ask for you to take us in, but none of us want to die here. Just... let us leave here.”There's no way of knowing who could be on that skiff. Sinclair might be hiding in the back of the skiff and you'd be no the wiser. A single shot could wipe the skiff out in an instant, easily, and that would be the end of him. On the other hand, if the skiff does contain men fleeing from Sinclair's suicide mission...>Let the skiff leave and pursue the Maiden Red>Shoot the skiff down here and now>Order the skiff to dock with the Spirit of Helena and take the men prisoner>Other
>>2452572>Let the skiff leave and pursue the Maiden RedTheir story checks out. Even if Sinclair is escaping, we'll get Carmen.
>>2452572>Order the skiff to dock with the Spirit of Helena and take the men prisonerFucking murderers aren't gonna get out of this that easily
>>2452572>Order the skiff to dock with the Spirit of Helena and take the men prisoner. Let them go if their story checks out.
>>2452572> The skiff has to hold off at a certain distance
>>2452572We can get Freddy to watch over them.
“Listen carefully,” you order, “You're going to dock with this airship, and then I'm going to check your story for myself. If everything check out – and I hope for your sake that it does – you can go free. Is that understood? I want you to approach slowly, with no sudden movements. My skiff is going to escort you – now get to it!”“Yes!” the unseen pilot replies, sounding too relieved for this to be any kind of trick. His voice drips with the genuine relief of a man who has been thrown a lifeline. They really thought you might shoot them out of the sky, you realise, is that the kind of man that they think you are? Pushing that ugly thought aside, you cut the Spirit of Helena's speed and watch through the observation window as the skiff approaches. Freddy circles it like a particularly persistent wasp, buzzing around it to cut off any easy escape route.You lose sight of it for a moment as the skiff flies above you, then the Spirit of Helena lurches as it sets down onto the airship's observation deck. It's not the safest way to land, but the skiff should be safe enough – so long as you don't make any deliberate attempt at shaking it off.-The escaping crew must have been crammed into Sinclair's skiff like tinned sardines, judging by how many of them there are. At a glance, you'd assume that the skiff held eight men at most, but Caliban escorts twelve onto the bridge. A mixed lot, some glaring at you with weary defiance while others look at you as if you were their saviour. One man in particular catches your eye, if only for how indifferent he looks. His shoulders are slumped and his head hangs low, allowing a curtain of messy black hair to hide his face, but he doesn't look defeated or dismayed. Just... lazy.You take your time studying them. The Maiden Red was already gaining a lead on you before, and slowing to take the prisoners aboard only helped Sinclair to widen his lead. You're not especially worried – the Maiden Red won't get far in her condition. You should be able to pick up her trail with a little hard work.“What happened?” you begin, leaving both the question and its intended recipient open ended. It takes a moment for the crew to react. A murmur runs through them, and then the indifferent looking man gives you a shrug.“Same thing that always happens, boss,” he sighs, “We saw an opportunity and we took it. Dying like that was no good deal. The way I hear it, one of our own boys sabotaged the shields. Hoped that the chief would realise it was a doomed fight and surrender. Dumb idea, if you ask me – the chief never surrenders.”“Rusalka, you mean?” you ask, “And who are you?”“Just a part of Captain Rusalka's crew,” he answers with a language shrug, “I'm not with these other guys.”“Hey!” one of the other crewmen snaps, “Fuck you, Dwight!”[1/2]
>>2452645>DwightThe Office has ruined me
>>2452645The languid man accepts the insult without complaint, tilting his head slightly but otherwise making no comment. “Short version, boss. We tried to take the skiff and leave, perfectly peaceful. Some of the more, you know, enthusiastic boys tried to stop us. Almost came to blows, but then some old guy came on the intercom and told everyone to stand down. No fighting, he said, but we were to be kept as prisoners. Captain Rusalka wanted us all shot, apparently.”That doesn't surprise you. In that regard, Carmen and the Iraklins could probably find a lot of common ground.“You know, I reckon I know where she's taking that old guy,” the scruffy man – Dwight – answers, “Captain Rusalka had an island she liked in this region. Sort of a hideaway. I could show you the way, if you want.”“Dwight, you traitor!” the other, more disagreeable crewman hisses, “You bastard, you-”“Why?” you interrupt, “Why help me?”“I dunno. You're calling the shots around here, it seems like a good idea to keep you sweet,” Dwight shrugs, “Point is, Captain Rusalka ran some pretty dodgy jobs and so she needed somewhere to lie low. I was part of her crew, sure, but that was just a job. No skin off my nose if you arrest her or... whatever you're planning on doing. What do you say, boss?”>Very well. Show me how to find this hideaway>No thanks. I don't need the help>Other
>>2452700>Very well. Show me how to find this hideawayHey Moloch is the bounty for the ship or Sinclair? Or both?
>>2452700>Very well. Show me how to find this hideawayThanks buddy
>>2452700> Very well. Show me how to find this hideaway
>>2452700>>Very well. Show me how to find this hideaway
>>2452704>The bounty is for proof of Sinclair's death or Sinclair as a captive. The ship itself is unimportant as far as bounties are concerned
>>2452700>Very well. Show me how to find this hideaway and I won't give you to Iraklins for execution like I'll do with all the others.
>>2452734So . . . We can keep it?
>>2452745Calm down Judge Dredd we already made the pronouncement that we just wanted Sinclair. Our rep will take a hit if we go back on what we say.
>>2452766What, you don't want us to earn some trust from our new Iraklin masters?
>>2452785Go away Sinclair
>>2452785Nope. Sinclair should be enough for that.
>>2452734Seriously. What is our legal situation here about keeping the ship if we can. Technically it's not part of any nation, right? They're terrorists anyways, so keeping the ship works for both sides since neither of them needs to be responsible for the incident then.
>>2452745>>2452700I vote to let everyone go if we keep the ship.
>>2452790>>2452797It's a piece of junk that already has a bunch of holes in it, that 1.) isn't worth the cost to repair it and 2.) we don't need a second airship nor have the manpower to field two. Unless you want to strip it for parts, let it go.
>>2452801Dude, the engine alone would be pretty valuable. We could also sell it to someone. They work for us to pay it off, and can buy it with the loot from the final job or something.>>2452700How much wealth would their salvaged airship be worth?
>>2452801Note: The engines were already said to be better than ours.
>>2452805Are they? It's said to be a faster ship, that might just be because it's a lot lighter and less stocked.
>>2452790>>2452756>Okay, legally speaking we have salvage rights for the ship itself. Meaning, it's ours to do whatever we like with it. Stripping it for parts is probably the most efficient course of action, as bringing the ship back to civilisation and repairing it could result in a fairly large bill. Stripping the ship for parts would be worth 2 Wealth, as well as giving us parts that can be used to upgrade out own engines.>In either case, writing now.
>>2452816Speedwise yes, but we don't know the charging rate or power capacity.We'll see what happens. There might be a chance Carmen dumps Sinclair out the side and runs away.
>>2452823Meant for >>2452805Mislinked
>>2452819What about the Skiff? Keep or sell?
“Very well. Show me how to find this hideaway,” you tell Dwight before gesturing to the rest of the deserters, “The rest of you can leave. You did the right thing by breaking away – at the very least, it saved your lives.” The crewmen hesitate for a moment before they start to shuffle out and file away. A few of them murmur thanks, and a few shoot you dark looks. They might not have wanted to share Sinclair's fate, but that doesn't mean they're your friends – and it certainly hasn't changed their anger.Dwight watches them leave without much interest, then slumps down into one of the seats. “So,” he says, “Do you want to fly, or should I?”“This is my ship, I'll fly it,” you warn him, “You just give me the directions.”-“So,” you ask as you guide the Spirit of Helena through the Drift, “Is that what you did for Carmen, you flew her airship?”“Sometimes. When she needed someone to pick her up – she never liked skiffs,” he scratches at his stubble, “I guess that was more her sister's kind of thing.”“I see,” you mutter, settling back down behind the controls and setting the Spirit of Helena into motion, “Her sister?”“Casia, I think her name was? Something like that, I wasn't paying too much attention. The chief mentioned her once when she was piss drunk, so it was hard to tell what she was talking about. You want to get a little higher here,” Dwight points vaguely ahead of you, “Her sister flew a skiff in the war, got shot down. Killed, obviously. I guess that's why she's so pissed off at everything. Stick to the left of that big island as you pass it, then go higher.”You're not sure what chills your blood more, the news about Carmen's sister – her motive for fighting – or Dwight's insistence that you fly even higher. You're already getting dangerously high, and it won't be long before your engines will be at risk. Glancing around at Dwight, you see him nodding calmly. A cigarette, unlit, hangs from one corner of his mouth. “Yeah, I know,” he mumbles around it, “Higher. Scared the shit out of, first time that the chief took us out here. Don't worry, you can just about make it... I think. Ship like this, her engines should be able to make it.”“You think,” you mutter, doubtfully raising the altitude lever a little more. Someone, most likely Miriam, has carved a notch into the metal of the lever, marking out a border which no ship has ever passed.You're not going to break that boundary today, but you're going to come damn close.>Okay, I'm going to pause things here. I'll resume tomorrow, and if anyone has any questions I'll answer them if I can>Thank you for your patience today. I'm still getting back into things, but I hope to improve as we go.
>>2452850>inb4 Freddy killed CasiaThanks for running.
>>2452850Thanks for running!When do we find out Dwight is leading us into an ambush?
>>2452850Thanks for running!
>>2452917Dwight is our handy dandy backup pilot, granted to us by the universe much like a new appropriately leveled party member in a ttrpg after someone's character dies. I think we should just teach Priscilla to fly the ship instead though, or pick up some undead/statue person in the Vault of the Sun.
Other than the occasional interruption as Dwight calls out some tiny alteration to your course, you fly on in silence. Even then, the lazy pilot soon runs out of things to say – the Drift thins out as you push the Spirit of Helena ever higher, going against every one of your instincts in the process, and soon there is little doubt as to your destination. Hanging in the sky like a lonely, taciturn satellite, Carmen's hideaway beckons out for you to approach.The hairs on the back of your next rise up as you set your sights on it. Maybe it's just the thrill of seeing something here, at the roof of the world. Maybe it's something more than that.“So, uh, there it is,” Dwight says, shrugging as he gestures towards the island, “Not exactly the place for a romantic getaway, right?”“Good place for a criminal hideaway though,” Trice announces as she arrives on the bridge, “I've seen enough of them in my time. Never one this remote, though. Isn't this-”“Just butting up against the threshold,” you confirm, “That's right. That must be part of the reason why Carmen chose it. You wouldn't just stumble across this place. Hell, if I didn't have this guy to tell me that it was safe, I'm not sure that I'd even try and find it. I'm still not totally convinced that it's safe!” Despite your misgivings, you make another small adjustment to the altitude lever. From your new position, you gaze out at the island in question.Like many islands of the Drift, it's shaped like a mountain that has been hacked away from the ground and inverted, only the base of the mountain, now the ground that normal men might walk upon, has been hollowed out into a shallow bowl. The centre is reasonably flat, solid enough for you to land safely, while the perimeter is lined with craggy, broken rock. You can see the Maiden Red from here, and one glance is enough to know that it was not a planned landing. Smoke rises from the crash site, while the ship itself lies in a crumpled heap against a broken spire of rock.“What a mess...” Trice complains, leaning over Dwight to examine some of the data screens, “There's a lot of interference here. This island must have some Pleonite deep inside it. Probably worth something, although it wouldn't be easy to dig it out.”“Not easy at all,” Dwight confirms, “The chief always complained about that when she came here. She was sitting on a pot of gold, but she couldn't do a damn thing about it. I tried telling her to sell the information to someone, but she said no. That would have meant giving up her old lair. Some things were more important than money, she said.”“Oh?” the provost muses, “Do you believe that?”“Me? Man, I don't know,” Dwight groans, “But I left some stuff there, and it would be hard work to clear it all out...”[1/2]
>>2455391You land the Spirit of Helena a short distance away from the Maiden Red. It's not all that likely, but the crash might have destabilised her Pleonite core. If it blows, you don't want to catch the Spirit of Helena in the blast radius. A short walk is a small price to pay for that extra security. Before you leave the ship, however, you move up to the observation deck to look out at the scene. As soon as you open the door, though, you come to regret that decision.At this altitude, the wind is biting cold – colder than the wind at Saint Alma's Academy or the Palace of Silence. It whips against you without mercy, carrying tiny chips of ice that slash across your face and sting your eyes. Blinking hard against them, you force yourself to take in a lungful of the thin air. Even that feels different to the atmosphere just a short distance below you, as if even the air itself struggles to reach this altitude. It has a taste to it, an acrid sharpness that tingles in your nose and mouth. Grimacing, you head back inside the ship to get ready. Maybe grab a scarf before you go.-As a group of four, you advance with Freddy, Caliban and Trice accompanying you. Trice insisted on coming with you, even though her arm had only just been sewn up. She can hold a gun, she pointed out, that was good enough. Considering that Sinclair had been the one responsibly for her injury in the first place, you couldn't find any good reason to deny her this chance. Once the Maiden Red has been secured, you can bring in the others and strip it for anything of value.Beneath you, a clump of loose pebbles gives way and almost pitches you to the ground. You grunt, almost dropping your rifle as you slip.“Careful!” Caliban laughs, grabbing you before you can fall, “Was that really an accident, captain, or were you hoping for someone else to catch you?”“Very funny,” you grunt. Any further retort is cut short as you notice the pebbles you scattered. They are... floating, rising slowly up as if your kick had somehow granted them a sluggish form of flight. Physics, natural law, seem to behave strangely here. It's almost as if-A bullet ends that thought, whipping past you and slapping hard into the dirt and gravel nearby. Crying out a wordless curse, you fling yourself down behind a pile of broken rocks. The others do the same, ducking behind cover as a second shot rings out. Peeking out from behind the rocks, you look for the sniper – and you see her exactly where you expect. Carmen Rusalka, her rifle in hand, stands atop the Maiden Red's observation deck.“Open ground between her and us, and I'd call that a minute's sprint to reach her,” Caliban thinks aloud, “What do you want to do, captain?”>We've got no choice, we've got to run for the ship>We'll stay here and cover you, you sneak up and get her>The rest of you cover me, I'll try and shoot her from here>Other
>>2455394>We'll stay here and cover you, you sneak up and get her
>>2455394>>>We'll stay here and cover you, you sneak up and get her
>>2455394>We'll stay here and cover you, you sneak up and get her.
“We'll stay here and keep her busy with some covering fire,” you order, “You sneak up and get her.”Caliban considers the instructions for a moment and then nods, tossing his rifle to Trice and drawing his hunting knife. “Perfect,” he tells you with a wolfish smile, “Just make sure that she's keeping her head down – I don't feel like running onto a firing range today.” With that, he falls silent and glances up over the rocky outcrop. A few seconds later, a bullet skips off the boulder and showers you both with shattered fragments. One scores a bloody line across Caliban's cheek as it grazes him, but he barely seems to notice the little wound.Before Carmen can reload, you lean out of cover and fire a shot in her general direction. Freddy and Trice soon follow, with the provost leaning her borrowed rifle against the rock in lieu of using her wounded arm. Together, the three of you keep up a steady hail of fire that forces Carmen to duck back behind the parapet. As soon as she ducks down out of sight, Caliban launches himself into motion and sprints across the open ground towards the Maiden Red.Keeping the pressure on her, you force Carmen to keep her head down as Caliban runs. When you see him reaching the cover of the Maiden Red itself, you allow your gunfire to peter off. Sneaking a glance out from behind cover, you watch as the hunter prowls around the perimeter of the ship, searching for a way to climb up to the observation deck. Before you can see anything more than that, a bullet from Carmen's rifle forces you back into cover.A moment passes, and then you hear Carmen crying out a curse. That's your cue – clutching your own rifle to your chest, you break out of the cover and sprint for the ship. As you run, you look up to the observation deck and witness Caliban's attack. Carmen brings her rifle up to fire at him as he pounces for her, but he closes the distance between them too quickly. Grabbing the gun, he twists it up until Carmen's shot flies harmlessly into the sky. Before she can wrestle the gun back down, Caliban jerks it up and slams the butt into her chin. You're too far to hear Carmen's grunt of pain, but you can see her face creasing with pain. The blow knocks her back against the parapet, and she loses the gun completely. Ripping it out of her hands, Caliban strikes her again with the blunt butt. This time, his blow sends Carmen tumbling over the barrier and down to the ground.It's not too high – someone could survive that fall with a bit of luck and a good landing.Carmen lands badly.[1/2]
>>2455454When you reach the ship, Carmen is just barely clinging to life. Blood bubbles out of her mouth with every laboured breath she takes, and her body has a sickeningly shapeless look to it beneath the coat of thin black velvet she wears. Her eyes fix on you, lurid with hate, but no words escape her. At you gaze into each other's eyes, Carmen rhythmically clenches and unclenches one fist – one of the few movements left to her.Then her hand slumps open for one last time, and she leaves it unclenched. You stare into her dull, glassy eyes for a moment more before you can tear your gaze away. Drawing your revolver, you grimly enter the Maiden Red.-In the gloomy cavern of the ship's engine room, you find Sinclair bathed in the blue light of the Pleonite core. The sight of the old man's back causes your hand to tighten around the grip of your revolver, and you feel yourself taking a step closer. The gun rises, and its muzzle is pointed square at Sinclair's back when he speaks.“I considered rigging this to explode,” he announces suddenly, his voice grave, “But then I realised... I don't know how someone would go about doing such a thing. All this time, and I never thought to learn that little trick. I suppose it can't be too difficult, but then what would be the point?” He turns slowly, and you see the gun in his hand. “It would kill everyone here, I suppose, you and whoever you brought with you,” Sinclair adds, “Carmen?”Your mouth is dry. Swallowing, you force the word out. “Dead,” you tell him.“I see,” Sinclair nods sadly, “Did you do it yourself, or did you hand that task off onto someone else?” When you don't answer that question straight away, the old man lets out a soft laugh. “Well, it hardly matters. I heard the gunfire, so she must have gone out fighting. That's what she would have wanted,” turning slightly, Sinclair points his revolver at the Pleonite core, “Would this be enough to detonate the core, a simple gunshot? It's strange to imagine that – an airship dying to a single shot, no different to a man.”A single gunshot would definitely be enough – you've seen that kind of reaction up close. “It's not too late to surrender,” you tell Sinclair slowly, “You put your gun down and come back with us. There's a bounty on your head now – even if you escape here, you're a marked man. If you come peacefully, you might-”“Milos,” Sinclair interrupts, disgust dripping from his voice, “You know as well as I do what would happen. I dare say that the Iraklins wouldn't even give me the luxury of a trial – just a firing squad and an ignoble cremation.”You try and think of a way to refute that, but you can't summon up a convincing lie.[2/3]
>>2455541The stalemate draws out for a moment more, with your gun pointed at Sinclair and Sinclair's gun pointed at the airship's volatile core. In the flickering blue light, you can see sweat glinting on the old man's brow despite the chill in the air. He could have pulled the trigger long ago, you realise, but something – some inherent cowardice – stops him. The same cowardice that drove him to flee from the Hess Estate, perhaps, a core of self-preservation that he can never truly shake off.Then gunfire, somewhere above you in the ship. Sinclair's eyes flick towards the ceiling, and you lunge for him. Your own gun is forgotten as you throw yourself at the old man, grabbing his wrist and jerking the revolver's barrel away from the Pleonite core. The gun discharges, wiping out your hearing with a piercing tinnitus squeal, but you manage to rip it out of his hands and throw him to the ground. Sinclair crumples, rolling over just in time to come face to face with the muzzle of his own revolver.“So that's it...” he whispers to himself before forcing himself to look you in the eye. In that moment, you see the last traces of his self-preservation flicker and die out. At long last, you see the old man accept his fate. “Well?” he prompts, “Are you going to shoot me?”>Execute Sinclair>Take him as a prisoner>Other
>>2455575>Other"Out of respect of the man you were I'll give you the option. By me here or the Iraklins later. The latter gives you the chance to talk a little shit at them before you go if that matters.
>>2455575>Execute SinclairIt sucks that it had to come to this. It's easy to see how we could have ended up in the same place as Sinclair. Frankly, we could have died in a ditch in Nadir, defeated and hopeless. At least Sinclair was fighting for something he believed in. He just took it too far. I'd want us to die here, at the hands of someone who can empathize, so I think it's best to end it ourself.When we confront Salazar about know of the attack, we should keep in mind that he's more than half the reason our fate wasn't the same, or worse, than Sinclair's.
>>2455575>"Iraklins killed a lot of my crew, and you only wounded one, but they did it five whole years ago, so sucks to be you">Execute Sinclair
>>2455575yeah I'll go with >>2455580He's not getting out alive, but he answers to more than just us anyway.
“I ought to,” you reply, your voice hard, “But out of respect for the man you once were, I'm going to give you the choice – here, now and by my hand, or back in the Union. Maybe they will grant you a trial, a chance for you to speak your mind and make your arguments known, or maybe they won't. I can't predict that, but I can give you the choice.”“The choice of being dragged back in chains? No, old boy, I have no desire to die by Iraklin hands. Too many Pastonnes have died that way,” a bitter smile tugs at one corner of Sinclair's mouth, “Some of your own men too, lest you forget.”“How could I forget?” you hiss, “But the war is over, Sinclair! It ended five years ago, but you're still fighting it – still getting men killed! You're...” Biting back your words with an angry grunt, you cock back the hammer on Sinclair's revolver. The old man just barely has time to close his eyes before you pull the trigger. The hard, flat sound of the revolver's shot ends the argument once and for all, forever silencing Sinclair. Silence falls over the engine room as you stare down at his corpse, and then you throw the revolver aside with a loud clatter of metal against metal. Stepping over Sinclair's body, you move to check the rest of the ship.You're done here.-“Minor resistance. Nothing we couldn't handle,” Freddy reports as you arrive at the Maiden Red's bridge. A few of Sinclair's men lie where they were shot down, weapons lying nearby. They fought to the last, as to be expected from fanatics. Still, the sight of yet more bodies settles in your stomach like a lead weight. “What about you?” the Iraklin adds, “Did you find the target?”“He has a name!” you snap, “He had... Yes, I found Sinclair. He's dead.”“Probably for the best,” Caliban muses, not looking up from Carmen's rifle as he studies it, “No need to worry about transporting him back to Azimuth this way.”Trice gives you a long, unreadable look, then shrugs ever so slightly and looks away, saying nothing. “If that was the last of them, then we can check the ship for any salvage,” you announce, making an attempt at changing the subject, “Caliban, you head back to the Spirit of Helena and get some men to help us work. Bring Keziah as well – she'll want a look at the engines, to see if there's anything she can use there. Does anyone have anything to add?”“No, captain,” Freddy replies, and the others agree with her. As Caliban leaves, you follow him out and head for the crew quarters. You'll get a sheet to cover Sinclair's body, to make sure he's out of sight before you start work on the engines.He deserves that much, at least.[1/2]
>>2455687Do we need to bring the body? If we bury it here, the Iraklin's will never find it. A good enough Fuck You.
>>2455716We can take an Imago picture.
>>2455721>Veteran of Pastonnian war hunts former comrades for moneyWe'll get a fine reputation by accepting the bounty for Sinclair.I'm sure everyone will like us.
>>2455687While the others search the ship, you wait out on the observation deck and let the chilling wind lash at you. It feels like an act of penitence, as if the wind could sink its claws into your doubts and carry them away. In the distance, you can just barely make out the Mountain of Faith through a filmy veil of airborne dust. Staring at it, you engrave that sight upon your memory. One day, you'll reach its peak and all of this, everything that you've been through, will be worth it.Footsteps behind you cause you to glance around, meeting Keziah's inhuman eyes. “Cold out here,” she murmurs, “Wouldn't you be more comfortable inside?”“I'm fine out here,” you reply, turning away from her, “I'll come inside soon. I just need some time to think.” Wordlessly approaching you, Keziah takes a place beside you and looks out at the Mountain of Faith. When it's clear that she's not going to leave, you let out a sigh. “I'm trying to figure out where we differed,” you admit, “Sinclair and I... we could easily have swapped places. Why did we end up taking such different paths?”Keziah considers your question for a moment. “Because we left,” she suggests, speaking in an unusually soft voice, “Down in Nadir, it was... someone else's problem. If we'd all stayed in Pastona, we might have ended up like Sinclair.”Because you left. Down in Nadir, there had been no shortage of things to distract you from the aftermath of the war. There had always been some dirty job that Morey wanted you to handle, or strong wine when you were left alone with your thoughts. Keziah had thrown herself into her Guild work, and Gunny... he ended up finding religion, of all things. You all had something else to latch onto, something to distract you from the past. But Sinclair? He had wallowed in his resentment and despair, and this is where it led him.But still, your doubts remain. One question – whether or not you did the right thing – circles you like a vulture.“I don't think there WAS a right thing to do,” Keziah answers softly, skimming the question off the top of your mind. “It's written all over your face,” she explains with a sad smile, “Look, I... I'm just an engineer, I'm not a scholar or a philosopher. Just tell yourself that this was an ordinary job – that's what I'm going to do.” Forcing levity, Keziah slaps you lightly on the arm. “Now then,” she adds, “I should take a wee peek at those engines, see if there's anythin' we can use for ourselves!”“Right,” you mutter. You've got an errand of your own to attend to – but you'll need the Imago device, and some fuel.[2/3]
>>2455863Burning Sinclair's body feels like a mercy. If you brought it back with you, to prove that he was dead, it would become a trophy. Even the Iraklins aren't barbaric enough to parade the corpse through the streets, but still – handing it over to them, to be measured and examined and god knows what else – you feel better this way. Burning his body under the open sky and scattering his ashes to the winds feels... right.Or perhaps you're just trying to silence your guilty conscience with these meaningless platitudes.As you watch the body burn, an Imago of Sinclair's face sitting in the inside pocket of your coat, you hear someone approach. Dwight gives you a shrug of greeting when you look around, his eyes straying across to the crude funeral pyre. “Hey,” he begins, “Is that...”“Sinclair,” you confirm.“Tough break,” he mutters, scratching one unshaven cheek, “Hey, listen, I came here to-”A rumble cuts him off, the ground beneath your feet trembling and moving. A sudden, primal terror runs through you as you feel the land recoil. Crouching low, you brace yourself and wait for the tremor to pass. All the while, chaotic thoughts flit through your mind – the ground isn't supposed to move like this. The island itself might be unstable, perhaps because of the Maiden Red's ungainly landing. When the tremor passes, you look up to Dwight.“Hey man, don't look at me,” he protests, “This place never shook like that when I was here. This is nothing to do with me!”“No, I wasn't accusing you...” you begin, only to cut your reply short with a sigh, “What did you want?”“I told you that this was Captain Rusalka's hideaway, didn't I? There's a cave round here that she uses... used as storage,” Dwight explains, “I thought you might be interested. That tremor, though... that seemed like a warning sign to me. I don't want to get buried in some cave-in. That's no way to die.” Shaking his head, he repeats those last words to himself in a grim tone.>You're right, it's too risky. Let's focus on stripping the Maiden Red>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show me>Other
>>2455951>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show me
>>2455951>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show me>Have some people stand outside the cave so in case there is a cave in people are aware and can potentially rescue us.
>>2455951>>You're right, it's too risky. Let's focus on stripping the Maiden RedLets leave this fucking place as fast as we can
>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show meIgnoring the obvious likely consequences, what could go right if you put second pleonite core in your core? Could you double up your charge rate?
>>2455951>Risk or no risk, I want to look. Show me.RIP Sinclair. I do think we did the right thing though, sad as it was. He was committing acts of terrorism and hurting people who had no part in the war to get at his targets.
>>2455951>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show meOkay, this is just too fucked up.Taking revenge on Sinclair I can understand. But profiting from his death? Coldly snapping a photo to get a bounty on our former friend? A bounty from the people who took our homeland from us?This is just too much. It means we become a second DuPont.
>>2455951>Risk or no risk, I want to take a look. Show me.
>>2456055I'd be fine with walking away with no reward.
>>2456055We don't have to take the bounty. Just proof to the Iralkins so they can call off the manhunt.And we don't even need to do that if you don't want.
“Risk or no risk, I want to take a look,” you state, “Show me, then we can leave.”“Somehow, I thought you might say that,” Dwight complains, although his protests are lacklustre, “Okay, fine. Follow me, boss.”-Before you follow Dwight to the caves, you stop by the Maiden Red and fetch a few of the surplus crew to stand watch. If there IS a cave-in, you want to have help on hand. You bring Keziah along with you, so she can relay your orders to them through your uncanny bond. As you follow the pilot, Keziah kicks a pebble and gasps aloud as it bounces up into the air. “You seein' this, boss? How is THAT supposed to work?” she asks, before frowning, “Although... we ARE standin' on a floatin' island already, so maybe this isnae so weird. Still, floatin' up like that...”“Yeah, this island has always been pretty weird,” Dwight agrees, “Dunno if the chief ever bothered to find out why. I always thought it was because we were so high up, or something like that. You're an engineer, aren't you? How much of all this stuff do you really understand?”“Ah, well, that's...” Keziah flounders for a moment, “You dinnae need to know that stuff to be an engineer! I leave those sorts of questions to the philosophers and focus on the practical stuff!”“Peace,” Dwight mutters to himself. Nobody says anything else after that, and you march onwards in silence. A few minutes later, Dwight points out a rock formation ahead of you. Even at a distance, you can see the entrance in the rock. Gesturing for Keziah and the others to wait outside, you follow Dwight inside. The pilot fumbles out an old military-issue flashlight and clicks it on, lighting the path ahead.At some point, Carmen or some of her crew must have carved steps into the steep downward path, making it easier to descend into the tunnels. The path curves around as you go further down, describing an arc until levelling out. By your estimation, the path leads directly towards the centre of the island. At first there are no deviations, but then the beam from Dwight's flashlight highlights a crude hole knocked through the wall. “This is the chief's room,” he explains, before moving his light to another doorway, “And this is... the spare room, I guess. I left a few things here last time I was here. Nothing valuable, mind you – I don't know if I own anything valuable...” Muttering under his breath, he passes the flashlight to you and fumbles around in the spare room. Lighting a gas lantern, he starts to search the room as you enter Carmen's “quarters”.As you enter, you send a wordless question up to Keziah to check on her. “No problems here,” her mental voice replies, as faint as the sound from a broken radio, “But don't be down there too long. This place gives me the creeps.”[1/2]
>>2456103Why would we want Iraklins to call off the manhunt?
>>2456144Cause all those Free Captains going after the bounty would be tearing up the Zenith to find nothing.I'd feel a little bad about all that time wasted or if someone got hurt during.
>>2456055I disagree on every point except for not taking the bounty.
>>2456055We show them proof of his death and then we tell them to donate the money to a war Pastonian war orphanage or something.Or we take the money and do it ourselves
>>2456229Or donate it to the survivors us attacks. Or better yet keep the bounty. Yes. Yes that one is best. We can donate stuff later when we get filthy rich but we got Bills.We should also sell the location of the hideout to pirates or scholars. Or the Iraklins.And not forget to strip the ship. Get whoever we left behind to do that while we are faffing about.
>>2456229This is better than just saying I don't need a reward. This 100%
>>2456247That's all well and good but a solid reputation is worth more than gold.That guy has a point.
>>2456229That works for me.
>>2456109Carmen's quarters are sparsely furnished, with just a bedroll and a small footlocker. Even that is a disappointment, with only a few boxes of ammunition and some canned food left inside. Canned peaches, you note with a humourless laugh, not exactly the kind of food you'd keep in your hideaway but Carmen did always have strange tastes. Leaving the contents of the footlocker alone, you head through to the other room to check on Dwight. He's sitting on the floor, smoking a cigarette and studying an Imago by the lantern light.“Who is that?” you ask, looking over his shoulder. The Imago shows Dwight standing beside a tall, mature woman with neat dark hair. At a guess, she looks about ten years older than him. Probably an older sister, but-“That's my woman,” he answers, smiling wearily at your expression, “I know, I know. I forgot that I left this here, actually. I was looking for a cigarette case when-” A faint tremor cuts him off, dust raining down from the ceiling and settling on both of you. “Uh oh,” Dwight mutters, “That sounds like our cue to leave. Give me a hand up, boss.” Hauling Dwight to his feet, you follow him back out into the main path. Before you head back up, though, you glance back down into the rest of the tunnels beyond. “Oh, those?” the pilot asks, noticing your distraction, “I dunno what's down there. Never bothered to check, so... hey!”Turning away from him, you start to lurch down the dark tunnel. It's not something you choose to do, rather it feels like something else is taking control of you and forcing you to walk. There's something down there, you dimly realise, something that possesses an uncanny power. Even when you feel its hold loosen, you continue onwards. Now, it's your own curiosity that drives you forwards. Dwight calls out something, hesitating a moment before rushing after you. Heedless of his cries, you hasten onwards towards the heart of the island.-You walk for a few paces more, and then you shut off the flashlight. You don't need it now, with an eerie blue glow lighting the path ahead. As you approach the source of that blue glow, another quake rips through the tunnel – this time, more violent than any of the preceding tremors. It throws you to the ground, but even that isn't enough to stop you. Grimacing, you grasp for the rock beneath you and drag yourself forwards. You crawl until the tremor stops, then you haul yourself to your feet and walk. Dwight has long-since fled back to the surface, and some part of you knows that you must follow his example.But not yet. Before you can leave, you have to see for yourself.[2/3]>Sorry for the delay. Had to run an unexpected errand
>>2456294Your lurching, uncertain step leads you downwards into a large chamber, a hollow in the solid rock. After the gloom of the tunnels, the hollow seems painfully bright – lit by the huge lump of raw, unrefined Pleonite that hovers in the centre of the chamber. Arcs of lightning crackle out from the Pleonite, raking across the stone and breaking off hails of dust and debris. That debris is drawn inexorably inwards, caught in some inescapable orbit around the chunk of Pleonite. A palpable aura of power fills this place, and you can't shake the feeling that you might be witnessing something monumental.Then another quake grips the island and shatters whatever hold this place has on you. Whole lumps of rock break free from the ceiling and crumble to dust as they are drawn into the thickening veil of debris that surrounds the Pleonite heart. Scrabbling around, you turn and launch into a sprint as you flee towards the surface. Before you flee, though, you take one last backwards glance.In that brief, fleeting glance, you see the rocks reshaping themselves – breaking down and reforming in the recognisable shape of titanic bones.-You run. Without slowing to turn the flashlight back on, you run blindly through the tunnels, madly gambling on your footwork proving reliable. When the first carven step catches you and knocks you from your feet, the foolishness of your decision is made manifest. You fall, and rubble rains down upon you as the tunnel shakes and convulses. Struggling to your feet, you reach out to Keziah but only a deafening roar – like radio static, but somehow organic – greets you. Shouting a curse that is drowned out by the rumble of the earth, you throw yourself forwards and race up the stairs.Sunlight embraces you as you reach the surface, but you can't stop to savour in it. Yelling an order to Keziah and the other men, you point back towards the Spirit of Helena. Without order or discipline, your entire group hastens across the rough, uneven ground. It's only when the tremor settles a little that you allow yourself to slow down, taking the opportunity to take a deep lungful of air.“Hey!” Keziah cries, “What's going on!”“I don't know,” you rasp, “Something down there... I don't know. Are we ready to leave?”“What?” the witch yelps, taken off-guard by your question, “I mean, I think so? We've stripped the Maiden for parts, and everyone else is back on the Helena, but-”“Then we're leaving,” you interrupt, “If we've taken everything we can from this place, then we're leaving. I don't think this island has much time left.”Before Keziah can continue her protests, a fresh round of tremors throw her to the ground.[3/4]
>>2456399As you're hurrying up the Helena's boarding ramp, you hear a deep crack as a vast fissure runs through the island. Looking back over your shoulder, you can actually see it snaking across the bare rock, see the stone splitting apart as the island enters its final death throes. Its destruction, perhaps first triggered when the Maiden Red crashed here, is nigh. Yelling an order, you wave the crew aboard as you race for the bridge. Before you make it, you feel a shudder run through the ship as the engines fire.Then your stomach lurches as the Spirit of Helena lifts into the air, leaving the doomed island to its fate. Higher and higher, the Spirit of Helena retreats like a skittish animal, and you have to fight your way to the bridge. There, you see Dwight wresting with the airship's controls. He looks different when he's in the pilot's seat – more confident, somehow. Before you can shout an order to him, Dwight throws the the ship through a tight corner and launches her into forwards motion. Tearing through the skies, you watch as the collapsing island begins to retreat.And then it... crumbles. In a matter of seconds, it shatters apart and the fragments crumble down into dust. As if caught up in a sudden wind, this dust swirls and churns like a storm cloud. Through the veil it throws up, you can see a shape taking form. A vast shape, easily dwarfing your vessel, it seems both majestic and terrifying. Lightning crackles through the dust cloud, and you feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end as the ship's shields are raised. Over and over again, one word pounds through your thoughts.Wyrm. Wyrm. WYRM.“Dwight!” you shout, “You...”“Orders!” he yells back, panic entering his voice, “What do we do?”>Just fly, get us out of here!>Take us back, but not too far. I want to see what this thing does>Give me the controls, we're fighting this thing!>Other
>>2456404>Take us back, but not too far. I want to see what this thing does
>>2456404>Take us back, but not too far. I want to see what this thing doesThere's a lesson to learn. Hopefully the lesson isn't that we should have left.
>>2456404>Give me the controls, we're fighting this thing!
>>2456261Then let's donate to the survivors of his attacks.
>>2456430Remember that the wyrm that one village guy encountered wasn't hostile.Not to say that they will all be like that but probably isn't the best idea to shoot first here.
>>2456404>>Take us back, but not too far. I want to see what this thing does
>>2456443The village guy also said that the wyrm told him things: that it didn't say a word, but he understood anyways. Then there's:>one word pounds through your thoughts.I wonder if there's some sort of psychic communication.
>>2456404>Take us back, but not too far. I want to see what this thing doesIt might NOT be hostile?
“Take us back, get us out of its way,” you order, grabbing the back of the pilot's seat – your seat – and staring out the front window as the creature writhes. “But not too far out,” you add, “I want to see what this thing does.”“You're kidding. You...” Dwight jerks around to face you, and his jaw hangs slack, “You're not kidding. I... Alright, you're the boss.” Being given an order seems to calm him, even an order like this. Turning back to the controls, Dwight puts some more distance between you and the wyrm. He handles the ship well, especially when you consider that this is his first time at the Helena's controls. You resist the urge to take the controls away from him, knowing that even that brief lapse in control could prove fatal. Even so, seeing someone else flying the Helena gives you a pang of discomfort.So, clinging hard to the pilot's seat, you let Dwight guide you around the wyrm in a loose circle and focus your efforts on studying the creature. Its hide is dark brown, the colour of rock and soil, while patches of almost metallic scales glint here and there in the light cast by the flickering lightning. That lightning seems to have no single source, sometimes lashing out from the wyrm itself and sometimes rippling through the dust cloud that surrounds it. Where it hasn't fully finished forming, you see bones in that same stony hue. From deep within it, hints of a blue Pleonite glow can be seen.The bridge door bangs as Keziah bursts in. “Boss!” she wails, gesticulating wildly at the windows, “What the hell is that thing? What kind of trouble... what...” Her mad protests die down to a feeble whisper as she stares out at the wyrm, her lips wordlessly moving as she tries to process what she's looking at. Even if she had questions, you're not sure if you could answer them. The wyrm is... it's like nothing you've ever seen before, a creature of living stone and soil. It has a mouth and vast fangs, but does it eat? It has a row of small eyes, but do they really serve a purpose or are they just markings? You couldn't even begin to guess at answers.Which is why you can't let this chance slip away. You have to study it, to learn everything you can. The wyrm hangs in the air, perhaps borne aloft by the same mechanism that powers the Spirit of Helena herself, slowly turning end over end in a manner that reminds you of... of a man stretching after a long nap. Its long, sinuous body twists as it hovers in place, vestigial limbs - tiny stubs of legs running down the length of its body – kicking against the air. Suddenly, you catch a flare of blue light as the wyrm's eyes crack open – and fix directly upon your airship.“Uh oh...” Dwight mutters, his shoulders slumping.[1/2]
>>2456531Like a fish swimming through water, the wyrm kicks into sudden motion and slashes through the air towards you. Fearing a collision, Dwight slams the Helena back into hover mode and waits, his hands frozen on the controls as the wyrm circles you. Arcs of lightning play along the length of its body as it moves, occasionally flaring out to spark against your shields. With each crack of displaced power, Keziah flinches. She's an engineer, she knows exactly how much the shields can take – and how much it would take to penetrate them.Ignoring Keziah's murmurs of fear and Dwight's tense silence, you approach the window and press the flats of your palms up against it, getting as close to the wyrm as you possibly can without leaving the ship. The next time that it circles you, those massive eyes – so vast that the span of your arms would fall short of their size – fix on you. You feel it, then, its intelligence and its curiosity. As you feel it studying you, an image forms in your mind – that of a man leafing through the pages of a book, sometimes idly reading a section but never lingering on any one thing for long. All that makes up your life, every thought and memory, feels as though it has been laid bare before this great wyrm.Then something changes. Something – and how you wish you could know what it was! - causes the wyrm to recoil from the ship. Roaring, the sound of its voice deep enough to shake your very bones, the wyrm kicks itself into aggressive motion. More tongues of lightning flash out at you as it twists around your airship once more. “Dwight!” you yell, tearing your gaze away from the wyrm with a heroic effort, “Get us out of here!”“Yeah!” he shouts back, reaching for the controls. As he touches them, a crack of displacing power runs through the entire ship as the shields collapse, shattered by the wyrm's attack. No, you realise with a sudden dismay, not an attack. If the wyrm had truly attacked, you would have been destroyed in an instant. This was just the force of its displeasure, its anger and its outrage.But it's enough. Every light on the bridge dies, and the Spirit of Helena begins to plunge as gravity slowly sinks its claws into her. With all power lost, with her Pleonite heart stilled, the airship can only plummet down towards Nadir. With no power, there aren't even any warning sirens to blare out at you – you fall with only the sound of Keziah's screams surrounding you. Her cries are cut short as you both fall upwards, crashing against the room of the airship as it drops. Only Dwight is left seated, with his harness holding him tight to the chair.But with the controls dead in his hands, what good does that do you?[2/3]
>>2456664We shouldn't have crashed against the ceiling if the ship was in freefall. Is something other than gravity accelerating it down?
>>2456664Chaos. Your entire world turns into a chaos of sound and motion as the airship falls, throwing you about every time it turns end over end. Keziah shrieks, Dwight curses, and then – finally – you hear a warning siren as power starts to creep back into the engines. A harsh blurt of static escapes from the radio, and then you hear Stafford's thin voice crackling out.“Engines warming up now, captain!” he yells, barely legible through the fear and desperation in his voice, “I don't know how long-”“Boring!” Dwight snaps, a strange note of lunatic confidence entering his voice. He pushes back his mop of scruffy hair to reveal wide, wild eyes – a striking contrast to his usual lethargy. Grabbing the controls with renewed strength, he pulls back and adjusts the altitude lever. As new power floods through the Spirit of Helena, the engines fire up and arrest your fall. As the Spirit of Helena comes to a halt, you fall back down to the floor and slam awkwardly into the ground. The pain grips your body like an iron fist, but even that can't dim your elation.You're alive. You're still alive. Where she fell, you hear Keziah blurt out relieved laughter. When the Spirit of Helena starts to rise slowly through the clouds, finally gaining altitude, you know that the danger has passed.Throwing the controls into hover mode, Dwight leans back and sticks a cigarette in his mouth. “Well,” he says lazily, “Not a bad ship, this.”>I'm going to pause things here for today. I'll continue this tomorrow, and if anyone has any questions I'll answer them if I can>Thanks for all your contributions today!
>>2456664I wonder what it saw in us that pissed it off.>>2456748Thanks for running.
>>2456748Thanks for running!Dwight has a weird sense of what boring means.
>>2456748How badly did we fuck up
>>2456767maybe it's the whole 'stealing the pieces of the key to the vault'
>>2456893>>2456767I wouldn't worry too much about it. Wyrms are notoriously cranky, especially after they've just woken up. Some people just aren't good in the mornings!
>>2456918>>2456981Could be that.Could also be our fucked up Zenith stone necklace.Could also be our interaction with one of the gods.Or it got a crash course in the history of the current world and didn't like what it saw.Or the most likely: It saw Mara in our memories and was incredibly disgusted.
>>2456981>the Wyrm was actually Moloch
>>2457032Shut your mouth. Mara, while not best girl as that's Keziahs mum, still is a good girl.
>>2456399>recognisable shape of titanic bones.fuuuuuuck it's dragons.>>2456404YEAAAAAAAAAAAA>>2457032My bet is the necklace. To the dragon, it could be like wearing a warcrime.
>>2458449Who knows what dragons are all about though.
You're really starting to warm to the idea of having someone else to fly the Spirit of Helena. There's so much more you can get done when there's someone else to handle the controls... although in this case, you're busy with the dull task of tidying up your quarters. You had the good discipline to keep most of your things secured – a habit that most airship crew develop early – but still, there was some work to do. As you pick up pieces of broken glass, glass from a fortunately empty bottle of wine, you think about your encounter with the wyrm.The tale you heard suggested that wyrms are capable of communication, and you certainly recognised an intellect in the creature. It was intelligent, and it... it saw something in you that it hated, you're sure of that. You're still trying to think of what that could be when you hear a knock at the door. Keziah enters, answering your knock with a frail attempt at a smile. Exhaustion has carved deep lines into her face, but she's not defeated yet.“Some day, huh boss?” she begins, stepping around you and sitting neatly on the corner of your desk, “Kinda seemed like we were in a tight spot for a wee bit there, huh?”“Just for a little bit,” you agree, setting aside the fragments of broken glass, “I didn't think that Dwight had that kind of spirit in him.”“Aye, well, you could have done that, easy,” the witch teases, reaching across to punch you lightly on the shoulder, “Unless you're starting to feel threatened? Worried about a younger man putting the moves on this old lady?”“No, I'm not worried about that. I know that old Helena here is my girl. I do wonder about him, though – he's a damn good pilot, but he was doing menial work under Carmen Rusalka, of all people. Maybe he just doesn't have the confidence to be a Free Captain – no will to issue orders or find work of his own,” you muse, taking out a fresh bottle of wine and pouring out two cups. Keziah takes one and drinks, her legs girlishly swaying back and forth. “I don't know his full name, I don't know where he's from...” you continue, “Hell, I barely know anything about the man.”“So?” Keziah prompts, “What are you gonna do about it?”“Well, first of all, I'm going to pour him some wine,” you reply, “And then I'm going to ask him some questions.”-“None for me,” Dwight tells you, shaking his head when you offer him a cup of wine, “I never touch the stuff.”“Not a good start,” you warn him, “Religious?”“No,” he explains, “But it makes a fool out of you. Seen plenty of men get a skinful of wine in them and do something stupid. Usually ends up with them in the infirmary... or worse. Besides, who can be bothered with the hangover? Waking up is hard enough as it is.”[1/2]
>>2459850Pastona itself seems to be suffering from a wicked hangover. A pall hangs over the city, the aftermath of Sinclair's attack still lingering like a bad smell. Soldiers patrol the aerodrome, questioning anyone who seems like they might be up to no good, while regular citizens hurry past and try to keep out of trouble. With a layer of alchemically toughened glass between you and the rest of the world, the bustle of the aerodrome seems very distant.“So where were you born?” you ask next, taking a sip of your own wine, “You're a Pastonne?”“Yep,” Dwight answers, “Born right here in the capital. My mother was from here, but my father was Iraklin. Family reunions get pretty awkward these days, for some damn reason.” Scratching his cheek, he studies you with lazy, half-open eyes. “I was working down in Nadir before the war. Pulling cargo on a big commercial ship. By the time I heard anything was happening, it was all over,” he adds, guessing your next question, “Figure you won't want to hear this, but I don't reckon I would have fought. I don't care who calls the shots, Pastonne or Iraklin – so long as someone knows what they're doing, I'm happy.”“Not really the passionate type, are you?” Keziah jokes, “So what DO you care about?”“Huh,” Dwight thinks for a moment, “There's my woman, I care for her. I wouldn't enjoy being stuck on land for the rest of my life. First cigarette of the day is always nice...” Running out of things to list, he just shrugs. “Look man, I didn't know anything about what the chief was up to. I knew that she was meeting some old friend, and they were planning a job. That's all I heard,” he continues, “When things started exploding, it scared the crap out of me. After that, I don't reckon any of us had time to think about what was going on.”“He's certainly no patriot,” Keziah thinks to you, her thoughts tinged with a weary mirth, “What do you think, boss?”“I'm not sure,” you think back, “He's got a chronic lack of ambition, but that isn't always a bad thing.” Looking away from her, you watch as the pilot taps cigarette ash into his empty cup and gazes around with disinterested eyes. “So,” you say aloud, fixing Dwight with your gaze, “What's your full name, then?”“Hasenkamp,” he answers, “Dwight Hasenkamp. Not much of a name, I know, but it's mine.”>Dwight, I'd like to offer you a job. Assistant pilot, how does that sound?>Well Dwight, it looks like this is farewell. I hope your next job goes better for you>I'd like to ask you something... (Write in)>Other
>>2459853>>Dwight, I'd like to offer you a job. Assistant pilot, how does that sound?
>>2459853>Dwight, I'd like to offer you a job. Assistant pilot, how does that sound?
Studying Dwight for a moment more, you reach your decision. “Dwight,” you begin, “I'd like to offer you a job. Assistant pilot, how does that sound to you? The pay isn't much, but you've got full room and board here. Plus, you'll definitely get to see the world. What do you say?”Dwight considers your offer for a while, then nods. “Sure, boss, why not?” he decides, “Oh, but I should warn you – I'm not much of a fighter, on foot or up in the air. Never really got much combat experience flying cargo down in Nadir, and Captain Rusalka liked to handle that sort of thing herself. She liked a good scrap, you know. Seemed crazy to me, but I wasn't going to argue with her.” Pushing back his mop of hair, the pilot gives you a weary frown. “I don't need to sign anything, do I?” he asks warily, “I hate all that paperwork stuff. Who has time for it?”“I wouldn't worry about the paperwork,” you assure him, “We're not that formal here. Well, I suppose you're a part of the crew now. Come on, let's get something to eat – you can meet some of the others, introduce yourself properly.”-For all his laziness, Dwight seems to fit into the crew as if he had been born to it. Within a few moments of introducing himself, he's talking with them as if they had known each other for years. Watching him at a distance, you nod with faint approval. Leaving him to it, you glance back around at Keziah. “That wyrm,” you begin, skipping the small talk, “What did you make of it?”“Other than the fact that it scared the pants off me?” she replies, “I dinnae ken, boss. Somethin' like that... how are you supposed to fight it? Dirt and rocks don't bleed, and who knows if somethin' like that feels pain. I'm just glad it didnae chase us.” Shaking her head in bemusement, Keziah leans forwards on the table and lets out a heavy sigh. “What do you think it's doin' right now?” she asks, “You reckon it's still flyin' around out there?”“Probably. The Drift is going to be even more of a dangerous place with that thing out there, though,” you sigh, “Someone should put out a warning or something. Maybe... maybe the consul can do it, and he can call off the bounty while he's at it. With Sinclair... well, there's no reason for anyone to go out that far now. I'll go and see him later, to tell him the news. I've got to admit, though...”“What?” Keziah prompts, “Havin' second thoughts?”“It doesn't feel right, taking a bounty like this,” you admit, “It's blood money, pure and simple. If I accept it, I feel... it just doesn't sit right with me, that's all.”Leaning back in her chair, Keziah frowns as she considers your words. She thinks for a long moment, and then she shrugs helplessly. Questions of morals and ethics were never really her strong point.[1/2]
>>2459908“Maybe I'll give the money to a good cause,” you decide at last, “Some charity or something. I've never really thought about it, but there must be a few of those around – people collecting money for widows and orphans, or rebuilding after the war. That way, at least something good could come out of this mess.” Nodding slowly to yourself, you reach across and flick Keziah on the forehead. “So stop frowning and pay attention,” you scold her, “Do you think you can do some research? Take a walk around the city, see what you can find.”“Yes captain!” she yelps, recoiling and rubbing her forehead, “But an order would have done the job, you dinnae need to... ah, whatever. I'll take a wee look around, sure. What are you goin' to do, talk to the consul?”“Probably,” you reply, offering her a vague gesture as Freddy enters the room. Seeing you, the Iraklin hurries straight over. “Freddy,” you greet her, “What's the problem?”“I'm concerned about Grace,” she explains, “I went to check on her, to see if she was hurt in that disturbance, but she won't answer the door. It's not locked, and I didn't want to intrude without checking with you first. Did something happen at the consul's estate?”Grace. Of course. With all the chaos of Sinclair's retreat, you hardly had time to think about how she was holding up. “She had to shoot a man,” you tell her, lowering your voice slightly, “It was a bad situation, she didn't have a choice, but still...”“Ah,” Freddy nods slowly, frowning as she considers your words, “That explains it. I see.”>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right now>Could you have a word with her? She probably needs a friendly face right now>She just needs some time. Let her rest for now>Other
>>2459940>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right nowBtw even if we donate the bounty, we'll still be known as that guy who hunts his former friends for Iraklins. Some people might find is... distasteful, and if there are other freedom fighters, we'd paint a huge target on ourselves.
>>2459940>Could you have a word with her? She probably needs a friendly face right now
>>2459908Hah, do we even have an imago of the Wyrm?>>2459940>Could you have a word with her? She probably needs a friendly face right nowKez might be a little flippant about it, Freddy can mirror back the academic perspective back to her and see if that's how she wants to look at it.But tell her that she saved Milos' life, we're not too proud to deny it.
>>2459940>>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right now
>>2459940>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right now.
>>2459940>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right now
>>2459940>I'll go and see her. She might want someone to talk to right now>Can you come with me Freddy? Your presence might help as well.
“I'll go and see her,” you tell Freddy, “She might want someone to talk to right now. We were both there in the middle of it, so I should speak with her. Thank you for telling me, though.”“Of course,” Freddy nods briskly, then turns on her heel and strides out. All business, even in the aftermath of a thing like this. You envy her for that. As she's leaving, you call out her name and she pauses.“Could you come with me?” you ask her, “She might relax a little more if you're there as well.”“If you think that's wise,” she agrees, “I'd be happy to help you. Should we go now?”Drawing in a deep breath to steady yourself, you nod. Wordlessly, Keziah pats you on the arm before rising and hurrying out to attend to her own business. Lingering for a moment more, you listen as Dwight laughs at some unheard joke. He has a good laugh, easy and unforced. Listening to it, you can imagine how someone might find it appealing.No use putting it off for any longer. Rising, you head over to the crew quarters with Freddy and approach Grace's door. You knock, but she doesn't answer. “Grace?” you call out, your voice low, “I'm coming in now. I've got Freddy with me – she was worried about you.”Still no answer. When you open the door, the smell of smoke from her pipe hits you hard – a different scent to what she normally smokes, something that coils around your thoughts and taints them with a dull, sluggish feeling. Mingling with the smell of smoke is the sharp tang of gun oil, and your eyes drift down to the scattered pieces of her disassembled pistol that litter the floor. She must have been cleaning it before the wyrm appeared, and this mess is the result. Kneeling down, you pick up a small piece of metal and examine it closely. Beautiful workmanship, and now it lies discarded.“Just here to check up on you,” you begin, all too aware of how hollow your words sound, “After that little disturbance before, I mean.”“Oh,” Grace murmurs, her voice very small, “Oh yes. That fuss and bother.”Fuss and bother. You might very well have encountered a creature of legend, and she calls it “fuss and bother”. Smiling humourlessly to yourself, you finally tear your eyes away from the floor and look at Grace. She still wears her fine gown, but now it looks crumbled and dusted with ash. Her eyes are reddened, and her hair is in dire need of a brush. A token effort at washing her face has left smears of paint around one eye, the paint looking alarmingly similar to a bruise.Behind you, Freddy swallows heavily. “It's hard to breath in here,” she thinks aloud, “Maybe we should go out and get some fresh air?”That, Grace answers with a shake of her head – a blunt denial.[1/2]
>>2459985You could spend hours dancing around each other, skirting around the real reason for your visit without ever making any progress, but that would just be a waste of her time and yours. Instead, you knuckle down and forge straight ahead. “Grace, listen to me,” you declare, “What happened at the estate was not your fault. Whatever else you might think or feel, you need to remember that. They made the first move – they attacked us.”“People have a right to defend themselves,” Freddy agrees, glancing your way with sad eyes, “To defend their lives, and their homes.”“I... I know that,” Grace tells you, each word slow and unsure. “I don't feel... I don't know what I feel. I don't feel guilty about what I did, and I don't regret it. It... I had to do it, you could have been hurt if I hadn't done anything.” Hesitating here, she runs a hand through her stringy hair and wipes her eyes, smearing her make-up even more. “But still,” she continues, “I feel so... It's like I keep seeing it, over and over again.”Moving past you, Freddy sits on the bed next to Grace. “When I was in basic training, they had us fire at targets – always shaped like a human being. From the very first day, they were teaching us to kill. Later, we moved on to using training ammunition – hard rubber bullets – and simulated combat. We were shooting at each other, in other words. The very first time I ran through a combat drill, do you know what happened?” she says quietly, keeping her words to a measured pace, “I still froze up when I set my sights on my target. All that training, and I still froze. You were forced into the real thing, and you did better than me.”Silence. Grace listens carefully, while you just wonder where she's going with this.“What I'm saying is, you had a good reason to do what you did. If you hadn't, you wouldn't have been able to pull the trigger,” she continues, “Sometimes, you need to do ugly things to protect your friends. It's not pretty, but... it gets easier.”“Oh,” Grace thinks on this for a moment, “I don't really... want it to get any easier.”“That's because you're a good person,” you assure her, “But I can't promise that you'll always be able to stay that way if you stay with us. So, I'm going to give you the choice – do you want to leave? We can bring you back to your father, or the academy, or wherever you want to go.”She actually considers it for a long moment, biting her lower lip as she thinks about her future – about the crossroads she is approaching. Then, finally, she shakes her head. “No,” the young scholar whispers, “I want to stay here. Despite everything... I've had fun with you, I've enjoyed this life. I can't go back to the academy now. Besides, I'm... I'm not finished translating that journal. I hate to leave a job half-finished.”[2/3]
>>2460050Clearing her throat roughly, Grace taps Freddy on the knee. “Excuse me,” she murmurs, “My throat... could you fetch something to drink?”“Of course. I'll go,” Freddy agrees, rising from the bed and giving you a faint smile – the worst of it has passed, her smile seems to say, but it's still not finished yet. She leaves, and the sound of the door closing behind her seems very loud. Once the door is closed, Grace climbs out of bed and staggers across to her desk, picking up her pipe before changing her mind and setting it down with a vague grimace.“Probably a good idea,” you agree, “What were you even smoking?”“I have no idea,” she confesses, “One of the other girls at the academy gave it to me. She said that it helped her relax before an important test. I thought it might... well, it just made me feel like my head was stuffed full of wool. Awful stuff.” Gazing around at the cluttered room with a new clarity, Grace lets out a small sigh as she realises how much work is ahead of her. “Perhaps I should have listened to Father,” she murmurs to herself, “He told me not to go. I thought he was just being overprotective, but... well, he does have good instincts about these things. Maybe I should have listened...”Of course. Salazar's warning – something that seems far more sinister now than it did before the party. Frowning to yourself, you try and think back to everything you and Salazar discussed. So far as you can recall, he never really mentioned the Annexation War or his feelings towards it. If he was in league with Sinclair, he was far more subtle about his allegiances. The uncertainty leaves an ill feeling in the pit of your stomach, but how could you go about getting answers? Salazar is just a radio call away, but...>You'll let the matter rest for now. You've got other things to attend to>You'll radio Salazar and ask him directly>You'll get Grace to radio Salazar and ask him>Other
>>2460079>You'll radio Salazar and ask him directlyI'll be pretty miffed if he knew, and told Grace but not us.
>>2460079>You'll radio Salazar and ask him directly
>>2460079>You'll get Grace to radio Salazar and ask himI don't believe Salazar was in on it though. We are his asset, so if he knew he would've warned us.
>>2460079>>You'll get Grace to radio Salazar and ask him
>>2460079>>You'll radio Salazar and ask him directlyHe should've known that we'd get involved in this shit, if he entrusts his daughter to us the least he could do is level with us so his secrets dont get her killed
You've got questions, and the only way you can hope of getting answers is to just ask Salazar himself. Once again, dancing around the issue will get you nowhere – you've got to be direct about this. If he lies... you'd like to think that he wouldn't lie to you, but that's no longer something you can guarantee. Regardless, you'll know if he's lying. At least, you hope that you'll know. “It looks like you've got a lot of tidying up to do,” you tell Grace, gesturing around at the messy room, “I'll leave you to it, okay?”“Ah, well... yes. Maybe I can get Freddy to help me,” the young scholar mumbles, crouching down to pick up the first of many little pieces of metal. As you're leaving, she speaks again. “Capt... Milos?” she asks, “You saved me as well, back there. I don't think I would have made it out if you hadn't been there.”But if you hadn't been there, you think to yourself, she wouldn't have been caught up in the fighting either. “I protected a friend,” you tell her, “Just like you did. The way I see it, we're even.”Grace considers that for a long moment, then nods.-Leaving Grace's quarters, you march up to the bridge. Determination lends strength to your stride, strength that you desperately need. Sitting heavily down in your seat, you take a moment to glance around the empty bridge before picking up the radio and calling Salazar. After his usual secretary puts you through, there is a short pause before Salazar speaks. “Milos, my boy, how are you?” he begins, “How is business?”Does he sound more guarded than usual, or are you just imagining things? Paranoia can easily stain even the most innocent of greetings with sinister undertones – you know that, and yet still you can't help but wonder. Perhaps his greeting was a little TOO casual. “I'm not doing so great, Salazar,” you admit, “I got caught up in that mess at Consul Hess' estate. Grace was there with me – don't worry, she's not hurt. We made it out okay.”“That IS a relief,” Salazar sighs, “I told her not to go, you know. I didn't want her there.”“Because you knew something was going to happen?” you ask bluntly, “Because you knew that Sinclair was going to attack the estate?”A long silence. “I suspected,” Salazar replies eventually, weariness stealing into his words, “A while back, long before we ever got back in contact with each other, Sinclair reached out to me. He... required the use of my services, he wanted information on various high ranking members of the Iraklin military – figures involved in the Annexation War. He could pay, although I never did find out where he was getting his money from, and so we did business. Recently – I believe it was two weeks ago – he requested a plan of the consul's estate, along with any information I could find regarding the security.”You say nothing, simply waiting for the old man to continue.[1/2]
>>2460146“I had no contact with Sinclair after the bombing in Reichstag,” Salazar elaborates, “In fact, I suspected that Sinclair had been arrested or killed in the raids that followed. Even so, when Grace told me that she was going to the consul's estate, I... I couldn't rule out the possibility of an attack, and so I tried to warn her off.”“But you didn't warn me, did you?” you snap, “Hell, you didn't even give her a reason why she should stay away. If you had told her she would be in danger, she might have listened! Even if you didn't warn us, why didn't you warn the Iraklins?”“Are you on their side now, Milos?” he asks quietly, his voice low and level. His question feels like a slap in the face, striking your temper dead in an instant.“I'm just... tired of this fighting,” you breathe, the words escaping you before you realise what you're saying. As much as you try to summon up your temper, you can't seem to find the energy any more. “You should have warned me,” you state bluntly, “I thought I could trust you, Salazar. After everything we've done together, I thought you of all people were on my side.”“Milos, my boy, I assure you that I meant no harm to come to you. If I had known for certain that you would be in danger, I would have warned you, but I had no proof, no confirmation of anything. As for the Iraklins... if I had warned them, do you think they would have left it at that? No, they would have tried to learn HOW I knew. They would dig into every piece of business I've ever done, everyone I've ever associated with,” Salazar pauses for a moment, “That includes you, of course. They can be very determined when they want to be. It was an impossible position – I had to take the option with the least danger to myself, and my associates.”“Even though it meant putting your own daughter in danger,” you spit.Salazar, to his credit, makes no attempt at hiding from the accusation. He offers no excuses or distractions, simply accepting the blame in silence. Finally, he speaks. “I'm glad that you were there to protect her,” he says at last, “I know that it doesn't excuse my mistake, but I knew that so long as she was with you, Grace would be in no danger.”This time, you're the one who remains silent. Your grip on the Helena's controls tightens, your knuckles white, but still you say nothing.“I'll understand if you wish to... part company with me,” Salazar decides, picking his words carefully, “We need never speak with one another again. Our business together will remain a secret – I would not betray your confidence. I would regret it, of course, but the choice is yours.”>I can't work with someone that I can't trust. Goodbye Salazar – I won't be contacting you again>I don't want us to part ways, Salazar, but you owe me for this. You owe me something big>Other
>>2460200>>I don't want us to part ways, Salazar, but you owe me for this. You owe me something bigBig enough to kill a wyrm
>>2460200>I don't want us to part ways, Salazar, but you owe me for this. You owe me something big>>2460208>Killing a wyrm>Not riding it
>>2460200>I don't want us to part ways, Salazar, but you owe me for this. You owe me something big
>>2460200>You owe me something big
>>2460200>I don't want us to part ways, Salazar.I understand why he didn't say anything. It was a mistake, but this is just another remnant of the war. It's in the past. I'd rather just let it go.
Gazing down at your hands, you force them to relax. You're glad that you chose to do this over the radio – this way, Salazar can't see the way you grimace and grit your teeth. He can't see how your shoulders tense up before suddenly slumping as all the tension floods from your body. Strength leaves you, replaced by an aching weariness. Forcing your head up, you turn and look at the radio. Salazar waits, unseen, on the other end, waiting for your response.“I don't want us to part ways, Salazar, but you owe me for this,” you breathe at last, “You owe me something big.”Is that a sigh of relief you hear on Salazar's end of the line, or is it just the rise and fall of static? “Ah,” the old man replies, “Yes, I understand. I can accept that. Did you have something in mind, my boy?”That old term of endearment grates now, but you bite back an angry response. “How about something big enough to kill a wyrm?” you suggest with a faint smile, trying to picture the old man's reaction. He pauses for a long moment, then clears his throat awkwardly.“Are you in the mood to go hunting down a legend, Milos?” he asks, “I'm not sure if I have any information regarding wyrms on file, but I can certainly look. I don't know if-”“Don't worry about it,” you interrupt, “I was joking... mostly. When I really need something from you, you'll know about it. Trust me on that.” Leaving him to consider that, you run a hand through your hair and take a deep breath. You feel better, somehow, although you're really not sure why. “I'll stop by your office one of these days,” you conclude, “We can talk more then – face to face.”“I look forwards to it,” Salazar agrees, and the line goes dead. Leaning back, you let out a long, low groan. For better or for worse, this is one link to your past that you just can't sever. Perhaps, in time, you'll come to work with Salazar again – but you're not sure if you'll ever truly be able to trust him.-Stepping out of the Spirit of Helena for a breath of fresh air, you bump into Trice sitting on the loading ramp. She's halfway through a set of stretches when you reach her, although she quickly hops to her feet as you approach. The sudden motion causes one sleeve of her borrowed vest to slide down her arm, flashing a hint of smooth, tanned flesh before she tugs it back into place. “A little too big for me,” she explains with a careful shrug. Her smile shows a trace of amusement, but no real shame or embarrassment. “You're heading to the consul's office, right?” she asks next, “I need to go there as well. You don't mind the company?”Shrugging, you gesture for her to follow you.[1/2]
>>2460338Got here to late to write in that we should inform Salazar about Grace having to shoot someone. He let her go into a situation where "safe" didn't exist. Even though we got out of there without any injuries, that doesn't mean we got out there unharmed. Grace has to deal with being a killer now, and the drug use is mildly concerning since she's using it for the first time for a very traumatic experience. We should make an effort to be available, either ourselves or one of our crew members, for when she needs support. Could be just talking, or maybe going on a mini-quest to keep her engaged and moving forward with other parts of her life, or just distracting her by inviting her to play cards or dice.Do any of us play an instrument? I bet Freddy does, and Caliban probably has a good singing voice. Blessings maybe too from singing Hymns. I can totally see Keziah as a percussionist.
>>2460440>to late to write in that we should inform Salazar about Grace having to shoot someone. Yeah. And while I agree she should always have someone to talk to it isn't really an issue considering the lifestyle and proximity of people on an airship.
>>2460338It's a nice day for a walk, but you can't bring yourself to properly enjoy it. You're bringing grim news, and that always dampens your mood. Perhaps Trice can sense that, because she abruptly starts to talk.“A while ago, I told you a little story. We were both drunk then, so maybe you don't remember. That story about how I crashed my skiff trying to catch an escaping target, to stop him running away with a relic,” she says, glancing around at you. When you nod to tell her that you do remember, she talks on. “Well, there was something I left out the first time. My target was a churchman – a priest. I guess he was trying to line his own pockets or something, and that's why he stole the relic,” she continues, “That's why I took it so seriously, I think. Normal criminals are one thing, but when one of our own goes bad? That's unforgivable.”“You've heard the story already, so I won't repeat it. The point is, I chased him down and took him out. My superiors were glad, but... things were never the same after that. Maybe they weren't aware of it, but my colleagues ended up keeping their distance from me. He might have been a stealing scumbag, but I had still killed a priest,” the provost looks at you with a grimace, “So what I'm saying, Milos, is that people are going to judge you for what you did. There's no way of avoiding it.”“From now until the day I die, I'm going to be the man who hunts his own kind,” you state bitterly, “Is that it?”“It's ugly work,” Trice agrees, “But someone has to do it.”-When you arrive at the consul's office, you see Trice's colleague waiting for her. Nodding her thanks to you, she hurries over to join him. Alexander regards you with cool, unreadable eyes and then looks away, muttering something to Trice. Whatever he tells her, it causes a deep scowl to spread across her face. Your observations are brought to an early end, though, as Carter arrives and approaches you.He looks dreadful, with an ugly burn splashed across one side of his face, but he doesn't seem to notice the injury. “Vaandemere,” he rumbles, his voice low, “It's good to see you well. I trust you got my message about the bounty?”“That's what I'm here about,” you agree, “I'm here to collect. I have proof of Sinclair's death here with me.”“Excellent,” Carter murmurs, “The consul wanted him to return here, to stand trial, but it's better this way. Better that we're spared the circus of a public trial – justice has been served quickly and quietly, as it should be. You did well.”His praise is the last thing you wanted to hear. Swallowing back a wave of revulsion, you allow Carter to guide you through to the consul's office.[2/3]
>>2460503I don't think our and Trice's situation are really comparable. That priest was a thief, someone who must be stopped. While Milos killed Sinclair out of revenge, despite whatever he's telling himself.
>>2460440She needs to be put in a confession booth. Trice may or may not be a good choice but really, get her to see a priest. Stability through faith, and all that.
>>2460503>The consul wanted him to return here, to stand trialWhy am I not surprised
>>2460566That's your interpretation. I voted to go after him so he wouldn't keep killing innocent people.
>>2460503Looking at Consul Hess, you wouldn't think that his estate was almost destroyed not so long ago. His clothes are neatly pressed, and he doesn't have a hair out of place. He listens with keen interest as you give him an abbreviated account of Sinclair's flight, and his eventual death. You can't bring yourself to elaborate on the precise circumstances of his death, leaving Hess with the simple facts and nothing more. The Imago, which you can barely stand to look at, is proof enough for him.“A shame,” Hess muses, holding the slide up to a light and studying it closely, “I had so many questions to ask him. Why he did it, for one thing.”“Why he...” you blurt out, “Isn't it obvious? You invaded his... our homeland!”“We brought it under the protection of the Iraklin Empire, forever safeguarding it against the insidious threat of Carth influence,” Hess corrects you smoothly, “At least, that's the official version of events. Yes, perhaps that question is unnecessary. Still, I would have liked the chance to speak with this... Sinclair.” Shrugging the entire issue off, Hess draws a letter of credit out of his desk and starts to fill out a few details. Checking the letter over, he slides it across the desk for you to take.Funds gained: 3Current Funds: 8“I believe that concludes our business here,” Hess says as you're taking the letter, “Unless you had something else you wished to discuss? I have time to talk – no urgent business for a good whil yet.”>No, there's nothing else. Farewell>There was something else... (Write in)>Other
>>2460597I don't think there were many innocent people at that party. The invitations are unlikely to have been given to just anyone.
>>2460606>>No, there's nothing else. Farewell
>>2460606>No, there's nothing else. Farewell
>>2460606>No, there's nothing else. Farewell>>2460615No, he was giving them out to just about anyone. We got one. Trice got one. Also it wasn't just the party, he's set off bombs in public places if I remember correctly. Finally, I kinda suspect your definition of innocent is not born Iraklin, which I disagree with.
>>2460606>How did his collection fare? He had a lot of very valuable historical items.we are an art connoisseur, after all
>>2460643He bombed the Reichstag, aka the place where the people who planned the war worked.
>>2460663War was years ago, I'm sure they've replaced a good number of staff by now.
in war no one is innocent and alot of those people helped the war, got big off of it, was in it, fighting a war like this anyone ina postion of power is your target.not to meation the conuls needed to ask way hi did it, just speak tons about how they dont see anything they ever done has been wrong
>>2460615It didn't help that his methods were wasteful and destructive. If he could have surgically assassinated the General behind the invasion and got out? Sure, good job. Milos would probably give him a high five. Instead he blew up a private event and had his men suicide attack the compound shooting anyone that moved an inch. Then left his men to die accomplishing nothing.I would've been concerned how much of an escalation of his methods would have been if he had been able to limp off and consolidate.>>2460606>No, there's nothing else. FarewellWe need to find some charity asap. Money feels wrong.
>>2460693You don't get to condemn wasteful and destructive methods after Milos killing a ton of people to get to Sinclair.
>>2460606>There was something else... (Write in)Tell them about the Dragon.
>>2460725I do actually after trying again and again to get Carmen to stand down.
>>2460727Should we? I feel like leaving that thing alone would be in everyone's best interest.
>>2460725By ton of people, do you mean the ones at the estate actively shooting guns at us, the ones on the ship who were given multiple chances to surrender, the ones on the skiff who did surrender, and we released despite them being accomplices to some pretty heavy crimes, or Carmen and Sinclair, who refused to take the multiple surrender offers and either fought to the death or threatened to set off one last bomb? Please elaborate.
“When I was pursuing Sinclair, I saw something out in the Drift. I don't know exactly what it was, but it resembled a wyrm – or at least, the few depictions of them that I've seen,” you offer, giving the consul a vague explanation of your encounter. As you talk, he crosses to his liquor cabinet and pours himself a glass of brandy. As he sips his drink, he gestures for you to continue. Uneasily, you complete your tale.“A wyrm...” he murmurs, savouring the word, “Fascinating. I would so love to see such a thing for myself.”“I wouldn't recommend that. It seemed dangerous,” you warn him, “I would suggest staying well away from it, and people shouldn't go seeking it out. Some things are better off left alone.”“Hmm, perhaps so,” the consul finishes off the last of his brandy, “Was that all?”“Yes, I... Oh, how did your art collection fare?” you ask as you're folding the letter and tucking it into one pocket, “Considering the attack, I mean. Some of those pieces looked very fragile.”“We were lucky. Some of the more delicate pieces – pottery, mostly – were damaged, but not to the point of being unrecognisable,” Hess leans back in his chair as he says this, and a look of what seems to be genuine pain flashes across his face. The loss of his ancient pottery seems to wound him more than the attempt on his life, no matter about the men who actually lost their lives. “Were you interested in them?” he continues, gesturing towards his liquor collection, “We could talk a while, and perhaps raise a glass to their memory.”“I'll have to pass,” you reply quickly, “I... have some things to do. Personal matters.”“Of course. You're a busy man. By all means,” Hess says, gesturing towards the door. Taking that as your signal to leave, you turn and start for the door. As you're about to leave, though, the consul calls out your name. “I'm glad to know that you're a reliable man, Captain Vaandemere,” he muses, “Some of my colleagues warned against any association with a veteran of the Annexation War. I'm glad to see that their warnings were needlessly paranoid.”Fighting back a frown, you nod curtly and march out. “Keziah,” you think as you're leaving the office, “Please tell me that you have some good news.”“I've got news,” she thinks back, “I found a small place, a little office called... uh... The Pastonne Volunteer Foundation. Tiny little place, wedged into the backstreets, but it looks legitimate to me. I don't know exactly where it is, but I can probably find a sign or some street name, something like that...”“Don't bother, just stay where you are,” you order, “I'll come to you.”[1/2]
>>2460693>If he could have surgically assassinated the General behind the invasion and got out? Sure, good job. Milos would probably give him a high five.Eh. Maybe. It could definitely also make things a lot worse for Pastonne. I have a long argument for it if anyone wants to read it, but the gist is that Iraklin instability is bad for post-war Pastonne since they depend on the Empire for too much.And since I suspect the Spooky Boi in the woods, wossisname the Nadir King, was funding Sinclair then I don't think that we should be happy about Sinclair succeeding since that would help the Witch King.Seriously fuck the guy who made those demon ships.We need to get Sal to look into where Sinclairs money was coming from. Once again, I also have a long argument for his backer being the Witch King, but the main thing is to make sure Pastonne doesn't get used to start a war between Iraklin and the Nadir or worse somehow start a conflict between Carth and Iraklin.
>>2460825Other than a few false turns, your gut instinct – and perhaps the connection inexorably binding you together – leads you right to Keziah. Coming up behind her, you tap her on the shoulder and laugh as she jolts around in shock. “Boss!” she yelps, “How did... you didnae tell me that you knew where this place was!”“Must have been a lucky guess,” you lie, gesturing up at the office, “I can't imagine they get a lot of business, hidden out here.”“Aye, well, I get the feelin' that that's deliberate,” Keziah suggests, “This isnae the sort of place that wants people to find it easily. The folks who have business here know how to find it, and that's who they want comin' here. I was wanderin' for bloody ages before I found it!” Favouring you with a theatrical scowl, the witch flaps a hand at the office. “Well?” she adds, “Are we goin' in or not?”“Just a minute,” you murmur, reaching over and plucking her dark glasses from the front pocket of her ratty tunic. Setting the dark lenses over her eyes, you pat her on the shoulder with a smile. “Now,” you conclude, “We can go.”-“The Pastonne Volunteer Foundation is a relatively new organisation, set up in the aftermath of the Annexation War to provide support to those affected by the war, as well as allocating funds towards the ongoing reconstruction efforts,” the elderly lady explains, “Funds are given to men who were injured... maimed... and are unable to work. We also provide support to widows and orphans, even elderly parents left without a child to care for them. It's important work, and there's never enough money to go around.”Although her voice is soft, you can tell that the old woman – who introduced herself as Andringa – has some steel in her. At any minute, it seems like her pleasantly wrinkled face could contort into a horrific scowl. For now, though, she's treating you both like favoured grandchildren. “So...” Keziah, her accent absent, asks, “How DO you get your money?”“Donations, usually from concerned individuals. Those who were unable to fight, but nevertheless supported the resistance efforts. We also get some support from the Church of the Rising Light... although we have to keep them at an arm's length,” a hint of that promised frown appears here, “They have offered us a great deal more support in the past, but on the condition that we help them establish a ministry here. To think that they would try and use our cause as a means to spread their own faith!”“That must put you in a very difficult position here,” you begin, but Andringa cuts you off with a wave of her hand.“Oh, never mind me and my woes,” she insists, “What was your business here?”>I have some interest in the Annexation War, that's all>I'd like to make a donation. My... fee from a recent job>I have some questions to ask... (Write in)>Other
>>2460901>I'd like to make a donation. My... fee from a recent job
>>2460901>>I'd like to make a donation. My... fee from a recent job
>>2460901>I'd like to make a donation. My... fee from a recent jobMight get super drunk later too. Pretty sure Milos has that vice.
>>2460825Also I say we donate half the reward to the Pastonne charity, and the other half to the surviving dependents of the attack. Both the Iraklins and Sinclairs men, so nobody can complain too much.Also it looks good. A Pastonne stopped Sinclair, and not only took care of the Pastonne's hurt but also the Iraklins. That defines the narrative as Pastonne not only solving it's own internal issues but being able to afford charity to the Iraklins who Pastonne is supposed to be indebted to and dependent on. Iraklin would probably prefer to refuse the aid because it makes them look lesser, but it's such a nice political gesture to show reconciliation and cooperation that they wouldn't be able to refuse it. Finally, by also donating to the survivors of Sinclairs soldiers, it prevents the donation from looking like an apology or redress for Sinclairs actions.
>>2460901>I'd like to make a donation. My... fee from a recent jobSee >>2460962Also> I have some questionsHow do people feel about the attack and Sinclair?Do they know anything about who was funding him?Can we make sure that some of the aid goes towards the dependents of the men he let die?
>>2460962I don't think we have any way to find out the identities of the Pastonne fighters.Also half of what we got would 1.5 funds. I feel like splitting that up between a bunch people will amount to not giving anyone anything substantial.
>>2460962Problem is that you'd split it into such piddling sums you might as well offer them dust. That would just make people see you as a man desperate for personal recognition and affirmation
>>2460983I don't think this lady would know about any of that, except maybe the last.
“I'd like to make a donation,” you tell her, “My... fee from a recent job. I don't need it, and it can do some good this way.”“Ah!” Andringa gasps, her eyes widening as she claps her hands together in a strangely girlish gesture, “This is wonderful news! I'm certain that a great many people will thank you for this, from the bottom of their hearts.” The old woman smiles as you start to write out a letter of credit, filling in the same price that you were paid for Sinclair's bounty. After checking the details over, you pass the letter across to Andringa. When she reads it over, her eyes flick up to your face. “Vaandemere...” she reads aloud, “Are you-”“Milos Vaandemere, yes,” you admit awkwardly, “I fought in the war.” You've never been very comfortable about being recognised like this, for good or for bad. Even at the best of times, it leads to awkward conversations. At worst, it can mean a lot of trouble. Veterans of the Annexation War are still seen as trouble by some, and so you often prefer to go incognito.“Ah, forgive me, I didn't recognise you. My eyes are a little bad,” Andringa gushes, flapping a hand at you before glancing back down at the letter, “This is no small sum... I don't know how, but I hope that some day we'll be able to repay you in some way.” “I do have a request, actually, for how the money is spent. If you truly wish to repay me, you could see that some of this money goes towards the victims of the recent attack,” you tell her, “I understand that some of the attackers were Pastonnes. If they have dependants, I want them to be receive some support. They shouldn't have to suffer for what those men did.”“Yes, they were-” Andringa begins, only to cut herself off sharply. A hint of her formidable frown reveals itself as her mask slips, and you see something in her eyes harden. “We don't condone those sorts of acts,” she hisses, “But I won't condemn those men either. They were doing what they thought was right.”“I won't dispute that,” you assure her, “I'm not here to judge them. I just want to make sure that their families are cared for.”“Ah,” just like that, the old woman's smile reappears, “Then, I think I can help you. I can make sure that their families aren't left out in the cold.” Now you're sure of it – she knows more than most about Sinclair and his affairs. It's like she said, she might not support his actions but neither is she criticising them. Your doubts and your suspicions must show, as Andringa laughs. “I'll tell you the same thing that I told the consul's man. We had nothing to do with the attack,” she explains, “I try and steer people away from violence, from revenge, but not everyone is willing to listen. It's sad... but I won't condemn them.”[1/2]
>>2461048“So if Sinclair didn't get his funds from you, where did he get them?” you ask. Asking such a bold question as this is a risk, but you need to know. If there are answers here, you might not get another chance to find them.“That, I can't say,” Andringa admits, “I know that he spent a lot of time with Captain Rusalka, although she never came in here. She thought that charity was below her.” The old woman frowns, but it's a harmless kind of frown – that of quaint outrage. “Perhaps she found some lucrative line of work. I couldn't say what that might have been, though,” tapping a finger against her thin nose, she thinks for a moment more, “Ah... I fear that I might have said too much. You're not about to report me to the consul, are you?”“Not at all. I just want to make sure that my donation is going to a good cause,” you assure her, “You said that the consul send men here already?”“A routine investigation,” Andringa waves a hand at you, dismissing the thought, “I told them nothing, of course. I can be a very convincing liar, when I want to be.”You let out a dry, humourless laugh. “I'm sure,” you mutter, “What are people saying about the attack, anyway? How do they feel about it?”“It's early yet. Right now, people fear that another attack might come. Random bombings, revenge attacks, recriminations... it will take some time before true calm returns to this city,” the old woman sighs, and the weight of all her years seems to press down upon her, “But for now, I hear people complaining. Sinclair, they say, has opened up old wounds. It remains to be seen how much those wounds might bleed. When the fear has passed, I suspect that it will be replaced with resentment. Sinclair's name, I fear, will not be remembered fondly.”Shaking your head, you let out a low breath. You're not sure what you had been expecting, what you had been hoping to hear. Now, more than ever, you just want to go and drown your sorrows. Raising your head, you look Andringa in the eye. “Thank you, ma'am, for everything that you've told me,” you tell her, “I hope that you can do some good with that donation. I hope that something good can come out of all this.”“I'm sure that you do,” she says, before turning to Keziah and giving her a sudden smile, “You have a good man here, young lady, you should hold onto him.”“Oh, no!” Keziah protests, her cheeks darkening as she stumbles to correct the old woman, “No, no, no, it's not... we're not...”“Ah, you needn't be like that. I was young once too, you know!” Andringa laughs, a surprisingly dirty chuckle, “Now, you two run along. I have some work to do. Go on, shoo! Shoo!”Funds lost: 3Current Funds: 5Flapping her hands, the old woman practically chases you out of her office.>I'm going to pause things here for this week. I should be able to continue this next Friday>Thanks to everyone who contributed today!
>>2461145Good run today, cheers!How many explosives can they buy with our donation? It better make a big bang!
>>2461145Thanks for running!How wrong is >>2461185How are spy boi and Eishin doing?How many Wyrms are there, and will we ever get to ride one?Has anyone made an airship out of a Wyrm corpse?How drunk is Milos going to get tonight?
>>2461145Thanks for running.Was the Wyrm made from the same stone as the White Zenith Statues?
>>2461213>>2461185Well, in the interests of fairness I'll confirm that Andringa was telling the truth about not funding any terrorism. That's just not her thing!Caldwell and Eishin? By this point in time, Caldwell would have been able to reach Eishin's territory. I'm sure they're getting along just fine!There can only be six wyrms at any one time, and nobody has ever been known to fly one. They're smart enough that such a thing might be possible, however, but only if they allow such a thing. Wyrms don't leave a body when they die, so making an airship out of their corpse is sadly impossible.Very, very drunk. Very.>>2461269This wyrm wasn't, it was made from regular stone, but that doesn't mean a different wyrm couldn't be made from Abrahad stone.
>>2461296So is it me or is everyone but Milos and maybe Kez downplaying the fact that we just saw a Wyrm? I thought they were supposed to be myth?
>>2461004Honestly I'm not sure what the value of "wealth" is to the average person.
>>2461372That's on me, I've not really dedicated any time to writing about it. I didn't want to get any more distracted than I normally do. I will get back to that, though. I suppose maybe it takes some time for the reality of the situation to sink in?
>>2461296> Wyrms don't leave a body when they die, so making an airship out of their corpse is sadly impossible.What if they don't die?
>>2460786It's easy to say "they didn't surrended so we had to kill them", but did we really have to? Did we have to attack them at all? Could we think of a different plan to get Sinclair than just chase and shoot down his ship? Did we even stop to consider?Also you might recall that the remains of the crew didn't block our way to Sinclair. They were killed by our people who we sent to scavenge their ship for spare parts.>>2460962Pastonne isn't indebted and dependent, anon. Pastonne doesn't exist anymore. Iraklins didn't even install a puppet regime, just a governor. It's just another Iraklin province now.As such, Pastonne has no internal affairs anymore, and isn't a political subject. It can't reconciliate or cooperate with Iraklin any more that your foot can reconciliate with you. Any donations would come from just another Iraklin citizen. "As it should be.">>2461145Thanks for running!Keziah is adorable.
>>2461145What would've happened to the quest if everyone voted to join with Sinclair back then? Crash into flames?
>>2463047I guess that depends on how smart we had played it and a smidgen of luck, like everything else we have done. We wouldn't be on good terms with Iraklis though.
>>2463047If in terms of going about things, probably killing Hess and invading the iraklin camp for the key pieces.In terms of the terrorist effort, possibly by getting the Church to go to war with Iraklin.
>>2462941>Also you might recall that the remains of the crew didn't block our way to Sinclair.You mean ones dubbed by the QM as fanatics that were going to fight to the death anyways? We did our best in a shitty situation to minimize what casualties we could. Those that left and surrendered were allowed to leave.It's easy to say 'We should have found another way' and not give any alternatives.
>>2463476They were going to fight to the death, but we didn't have to fight them at all. We had absolutely no need to give them a reason to fight to the death.As for another way to catch Sinclair, we could've contact him and pretend to want to join him, we could've snuck into his hideout that we knew about, we could've connected the dots and found him through Salazar - and that's three different ways just off the cuff. Nobody even tried to consider an alternative.
>>2463685Your alternatives either would have taken way too much time and resources, or been outright impossible after he attacked us directly at the ball.
>>2463685>We had absolutely no need to give them a reason to fight to the death.Other than making sure we or our crew aren't shot in the back? Or are you assuming they'd just cower in the corner in the time it took to secure Sinclair?>we could've contact him and pretend to want to join him>You just attacked my friends and I so now I want to join you, I hunted you down to Zenith just to tell you that.Yeah I'm sure Sinclair would buy that.>we could've snuck into his hideout that we knew aboutNo we didn't. We needed Dwight to tell us and Dwight only appeared after he surrendered during the fight. And say we sneak in all incognito, other than Caliban who else is could at subterfuge to pull of an abduction in the middle of a guarded smuggler hideout?>found him through SalazarBut we already had the trail. Say we go talk to Sal a continent away. He'll just tell us 'They are going to Zenith' and by then the trail goes cold. Even assuming he knew the hideout's exact location and that's a big assumption they'd had already moved on by then.Everything you've said endangers our crew more than we need to or is just unfeasible for the sake of moral pacifism. And sure if we wanted to be pacifists there are plenty of options for that (that probably wouldn't work considering who we are dealing with and who he surrounded himself with), but that wasn't the point of this entire reply chain. The point was Sinclair's methods pointlessly bloody and ours, while sadly involving some loss of life, minimized casualties as much as we could while still completing our objective and keeping the danger to our own crew low. Anyways this whole conversation is hindsight shit so we should drop it and move on.
>>2463685>but we didn't have to fight them at allthey killed our driver.>pretend to want to join himYes, slap him in the face with an even bigger betrayal than honorably fighting him. Drastically lower our chances of success while putting ourselves at risk for an asshole who could and did drag innocents into the fray.And would you drag the rest of the crew into it? If you don't, then you're hopelessly outgunned. If you do, then you laid on a whole bunch of dangerous work without pay on people who have little to no stake in the issue.He didn't even WANT to be babied into coming out of this alive. That's what you would do for a child, not a grown adult older than you are.
>>2463745>We needed Dwight to tell usThe hideout where we met him the first time, anon.>>2463750>they killed our driver.My point exactly. This was an act of revenge, dressed up as caring about the safety of innocents, and let's not pretend otherwise.Btw the driver was still alive last time we'd seen him.>Drastically lower our chances of successWe can only guess now.> you laid on a whole bunch of dangerous work without pay on people who have little to no stake in the issue.Implying a ship to ship battle followed by close quarters combat is something other than that.
>>2463771>The hideout where we met him the first time, anon.So you wanted us to go back in time before it got raided? Or you going super hindsight and saying we should have laid the groundwork of something we had no idea we'd be doing at the time?>This was an act of revenge, dressed up as caring about the safety of innocentsIt's both. Driver's injury was the spark to actually do something about Sinclair before it escalated even more. Milos' thoughts and actions don't imply just revenge. But tell me I'm wrong cause one anon is fixated on the driver and ignore the writing.
>>2463771A certain amount of revenge okay, so he's not dead, you get the point is necessary and even expected as a free captain to maintain your honor. If you're so easily pushed around, it's hard to have a loyal crew.>We can only guess nowWe were brought at gunpoint to a hidden location, alone, with several people surrounding us with big guns at the actual meeting place. And you're telling me that going in deep had the possibility of being safer than shooting them to shit with a better airship.
>>2463791>So you wanted us to go back in time before it got raided?Okay, I misremembered this one. But this was only one alternative method.>>2463795>shooting them to shit with a better airship.We only know this in hindsight.Consider this: by pursuing Sinclair's ship, we could've been heading head-first into a deadly trap - a crossfire of land-mounted cannons, another ship in hiding, mines, kamikaze demons, anything. It's reasonable to assume a rebel hideout would be suitably defended, right? We haven't met anything of this, but we couldn't have known it beforehand. I'm telling you that now we won't know if another way would be more risky or not.
>>2463862>It's reasonable to assume a rebel hideout would be suitably defended, right?no? If they were strong enough people to make a fortress, you'd have had a more balanced fight back in the war.These are people who lost their ships, and the majority have been too bitter to move on and make a new living for themselves. Look at what it took Milos to get a ship again. If they were composed enough to be at a stronger economic position than during the war, then they would be playing to WIN, not taking everyone with them as they lose spitefully.Besides, the hideout is in the Drift. It's not a place suitable for the multiple trips of resources needed to upgrade and maintain a fortress. The only way they'd be noticeably superior in the ship area is if DuPont was in on it, and it'd be worth it just to find out.
>>2464768What are you talking about? What fortress? A single well-camouflaged machinegun nest on a rock is enough to kill everyone on the bridge of a ship. A skiff hidden among the rocks is almost guaranteed to successfully deliver a boarding team, or just a big bomb. The Drift is a perfect place for all manner of ambushes, and that we didn't met one can only be chalked up to Sinclair's incompetency.
>>2465934If you're talking about a regular ambush, it's not like we'd shy away from a normal job that involves the Drift.
>>2465934I don't think either of those are true anon
I've been reading through the archive for this quest, I love it.I fucking love airships and adventuring.
>>2466443You should read Moloch's other quests.
>>2467278Other quests, you say?
>>2467606Moloch has 3 other COMPLETE quests under his belt.
>>2467633> Lighter tone
>>24676334 actually. 5 if you count both parts of Devil Summoner as 2 quests which I kind of do since they have beginning, middles, and ends while being decent length each.Or 4.1(5.1) if you count the one shot.
>>2467633Hey, that's pretty good. Hardly any quests seem to be completed these days.
>>2467952That was last quest, we're back to normal now
>>2468221This has a way lighter tone so far for real though.
I'm almost caught up with the quest unfortunately and it's been highly entertaining. You're a good writer, Moloch. Easy to get invested in your story and the characters dialogue and interactions feel natural and smooth.
>>2469836Moloch is a treasure.
“So... so I remember this one time,” Keziah slurs, shoving aside an empty tankard in order to properly gesticulate at you, “These two guys, these two wee arseholes, were pokin' fun at me because of how I talk, like. They were pokin' fun, and you werenae around. You were off doin' business or bein' responsible or... somethin'. Anyway...” She pauses, hiding a belch behind a ladylike hand. “Anyway, there was poor wee Keziah, about to cry, when Sinclair showed up and whacked the first guy with his cane,” she continues, swiping her hand through the air, “Went and gave the both of them a good beatin'. That's how I'm gonna remember him – beatin' the shite out of two wee arseholes.”“That's a good way to remember him,” you agree, nodding slowly as you swirl the last mouthful of ale around the bottom of your tankard.“What about you, boss?” the witch asks, jabbing a finger towards you, “How are YOU gonna remember the old boy?”As a broken man, you think, finally accepting his death at your hands. “I don't know,” you reply aloud, “That speech he gave in the Wild Duck, about how we should all resist the Iraklins. That's a good way to remember him.”“Oh yeah,” Keziah nods to herself as she tries to remember some of it, “He was all, “What is a homeland, if not a home, and what is a home that you refuse to defend?” or something, right?”“Something like that,” you murmur. It sounded better when Sinclair said it, but then... he hadn't been monstrously drunk at the time. After leaving the Pastonne Volunteer Foundation, you both came here to this nameless bar – if it had a name, you didn't pay enough attention to notice – and you've been steadily drinking ever since. This is no drunken revelry, though, this is serious drinking – throwing back mug after mug of ale until your mind and body are both numb. It's only a temporary escape from your troubles, but you don't care.The bar door bangs open, then bangs again as it closes. Marching straight towards you, Caliban takes a seat at your table. “Well well,” he chuckles, “You two make the sorriest pair of fools that I've ever seen.”“Get a drink and join us,” you offer, “We can be a sorry threesome.”“No thank you!” Keziah protests, “I'm not that kind of girl!”“I'll have to pass on that this time,” Caliban says, shaking his head, “Listen, I've been looking for you. The crew are getting pretty restless. That wyrm thing was got them all riled up. They were laughing it off at first, but now the reality of it is starting to sink in. You've been out for long enough that some wise guy started claiming that you've abandoned them. So, what I'm saying is, you need to come back and knock some heads together. If you don't, we might have some trouble on our hands.”A captain's work is never done.[1/2]
>>2473556“There's one man in particular that you'll want to watch out for,” Caliban adds as you're all lurching back towards the aerodrome. Keziah can barely stand up, with you and Caliban supporting her between you. “I think his name is Haumann,” he continues, “He's been trying to stir up trouble. I think he's unhappy with how... recent events have played out, and this is just giving him an excuse..”“Sounds like a nasty wee bastard,” Keziah groans, “Here, how do you Deep Forest lot handle that sorta thing?”“Usually, they'd get killed,” Caliban answers simply, “If someone was trying to undermine their leader, it wouldn't be long before they ended up with a knife in their back. I doubt that things can be settled quite so easily here, though.”“You never know,” you mutter. Airship captains have always had a degree of leniency when it comes to enforcing discipline. It's necessary – when you're far out from civilisation, you can't just turn a troublemaker over to the authorities. In a case like that, the captain IS the authority. You've never been too strict about enforcing discipline, but you've heard of plenty of captains who were quick to dish out beatings... or worse.-“This man, Haumann, is one of Gunny's people. Very good with the cannons, apparently,” Caliban mutters as you're heading for the Spirit of Helena, “Not irreplaceable, but he knows... he thinks that you won't come down hard on him. He's getting cocky.” Pausing for a moment as Keziah mumbles something unflattering in her sleep, he gives you a wan smile. “I'll let you handle the matter,” the hunter adds, “But Gunny might prefer it if you leave him alive.”Giving him a short nod of affirmation, you let Caliban and Keziah leave, with the latter still mumbling drunkenly to herself. You march onwards, following the distant sound of voices to the ship's simple dining room. Angry voices, dismayed voices, voices of protest.“...You've all seen what sort of man he is!” a rough, raw-edged voice hisses as you reach the threshold of the dining room, “A little bit of Iraklin coin was all it took for him to chase down an old comrade. We should have been helping them, not hunting them down!” The troublemaker, Haumann, pauses a moment as the other crew murmur amongst themselves. Only a few of them seem to be heeding his words, but that's already more than you might have hoped. “And this... “wyrm”. Who's to say that it wasn't some trick to distract us?” he continues, “I mean, seeing a legend like that? Far more likely to be some kind of witch trick!”This gets a reaction, a ripple of uncertainty. Frowning, you step into the dining room and clear your throat. Haumann turns, and his eyes widen as he sees you.>Talk to the man, see if you can change his mind>Dismiss him immediately. You can't have a troublemaker on your ship>Deliver a punitive beating. You need to come down hard on this>Other
>>2473559>Talk to the man, see if you can change his mind"I didn't do it for coin Haumann. Every bit of that bounty has already been donated Pastonne Volunteer Foundation. I did it because his methods were escalating to pointless destruction and better for him to die by me and have a funeral in Zenith then being dragged back in chains by a bunch of bounty hunters to be subject to a Iraklin judicial circus and firing squad. If you don't like the way things are going or don't believe me you are free to leave, I won't hold it against you.""Regarding the wyrm? I'm still trying to piece that together myself but I'm pretty sure that was real."
>>2473559>>Talk to the man, see if you can change his mind
>>2473559>Talk to the man, see if you can change his mindI don't think witchcraft can make something like THAT happen.
>>2473559I told you it would happen.>Talk to the man, see if you can change his mind>But do it one-on-one.I can't think up good words to suggest, but I do know that telling people they're wrong should be done without an audience. Otherwise they'll try to defend their position at all costs rather than try and understand you.
>>2473559wait shit, we told everyone about the Key right?>Tell him where the coin went>Tell him Sinclair was a misguided fool, who only succeeded at making life harder for the people he was "protecting">Tell him that if witchcraft could make a Wyrm like that, we'd bloody well be riding those and not airships>Now if he's done riling up the crew instead of bringing his worries to the captain like a reasonable person, it's time for a one on one Talk.
>>2473636But remember that telling with the audience can clear everyone's doubts since they are hearing it firsthand. He could double-down and look the fool or just listen. His choice.
>>2473663If we make a fool out of him he'll resent us for real, and this won't be the last trouble he makes for us.
>>2473663We'll need to do a public speech as well, but only after we talk to Haumann.
>>2473673Then we dismiss him. I just think assuming that he'll double down on bullshit when he is just looking for an explanation to all the crazy shit that happened is just an assumption. Rather just get this all done at once.
Utter silence from the onlooking crowd. A pin could fall, and you'd certainly hear it. Every time someone shifts their weight from one foot to the other, it seems deafening. That's why, when you talk, you do so quietly.“Do you want to talk to me, Haumann?” you ask calmly, “We could talk privately, man to man, if that's what you-”“No!” Haumann snaps, nervousness making his voice brittle, “You... you're going to answer to all of us!” He gestures around him in a vain attempt at drumming up support, but he is met with indecision and uncertainty. Before he can press on, you cut him off.“I didn't do it for the coin, Haumann,” you begin in a hushed voice, allowing your calm tone to contrast with his fevered rants. It takes an effort to keep a slur out of your voice, considering the alcohol still rushing through your blood, but you manage. Making sure to keep your words clipped and precise, you continue. “The bounty? I gave every last bit of it away to the Pastonne Volunteer Foundation, so that some good can come of this. I didn't do this for the money,” you pause, but not long enough for the man to speak against you, “I went after Sinclair because his methods would only lead to further violence – escalation, perhaps to the point of another war. Is that what you want?”“You don't...” Haumann starts to protest, only for the weight of the stares surrounding him to still his tongue. Sullenly, he shakes his head.“Sinclair died on his ship, and he was given a funeral under the open sky – a better fate than anything else he could have expected. This way, he was spared the farce of whatever trial the Iraklins had planned for him,” you explain carefully, “Everything I did, I did for a greater purpose. I won't force you to agree with what I did, but I want you to understand why I did it. If you still feel as though there's no place for you on this ship, you can leave with my blessing. I won't hold it against you.”“But what about the wyrm!” someone calls out, and a few ragged voices offer their support.“In truth, I don't know what that was,” you admit, “Perhaps it was a wyrm, ripped straight from the pages of some legend. We were far out in the Drift, further out than most. Perhaps there are strange things out there.” Casting your eye around the crowd, you see an odd mix of fear and excitement there. “But... a witch trick?” you ask with a smile, “I'm afraid to say that I'm not smart enough for that kind of trick.”A ripple of muted laughter runs through the crowd, bleeding off some of the tension. Inwardly, you let out a sigh of relief. The worst of it has passed, you're certain of that. You just need to wrap things up.[1/2]
>>2473709“Go on, Haumann,” you say, returning your gaze to the crewman, “If you've got anything else you'd like to discuss, we can do it in my quarters. There's no need to make a show of this.”“No, I...” he mutters, shooting you a glum look. He falters for a moment as he tries to work out a way of salvaging his pride, then his shoulders slump. “I... seem to have got... the wrong impression of things,” he manages to say, “I heard things. Talk from some of the soldiers in the aerodrome. They were boasting, see, and...” Trailing off here, he shakes his head and leaves the thought unfinished.“Gossip has a way of changing things,” you remark, and another faint laugh stirs the air, “That's why I'm glad we had the chance to clear the air like this. But now, lads, we should look ahead of us. The past is past, but the future awaits!”You had been hoping for a rousing cheer, but the response you get is far more muted than that. Not unhappy, exactly, but far from jubilant. It's a work in progress.-Later, as you're resting in your quarters, Caliban pays you another visit. This time, the news he brings is a little brighter.“Not a bad little speech, apparently,” he muses, “I've been listening to what the men are saying. Some of them thought you went easy on Haumann – they were expecting to see some blood – but I wouldn't worry about them. Seems like Haumann himself is staying on for now, but I wonder how long he'll last for. By all accounts, he's made himself into something of a pariah. That kind of reputation doesn't encourage a man to stick around – I should know.”You murmur an acknowledgement to that. Your very own Nadir pariah... and a surprisingly adept hand at managing the crew. When you mention as much, Caliban laughs. “I've got good instincts for people,” he explains, “Back in Camp Prosperity, I wound up mixing with a lot of different people – traders, soldiers, scholars... the works. It taught me a lot about asking the right questions, and listening to the right things.”“Well, I'm certainly glad to have you on my side,” you laugh, gesturing towards a bottle of wine. Caliban shakes his head, gesturing back towards the door.“I was just leaving,” he explains, “What's our next destination?”“Sol Carthul, probably. We can return those papers and file that petition – a formality – and then...” you grimace a little, “Then it's onto the Vault of the Sun. At least, unless something else gets in the way of things. Speaking of flying, though, what do you make of the new pilot?”“Him?” Caliban frowns, “Strange man. I don't think he's trouble, but... strange nonetheless. Most people I can figure out straight away, but him? I'm not sure if there's much TO figure out.”But if he was a normal sort of man, you muse, he wouldn't really fit in with the rest of your crew.[2/3]
>>2473802By night, Dwight flies the Spirit of Helena across to Carthul. You sleep fitfully through the journey, waking upon your arrival. You're not used to sleeping aboard an airship in transit, and every subtle shift in the background hum of the engines causes you to jolt awake. Still, it's more rest than you might have expected from flying the ship yourself. When you look outside and see the bright sunshine falling over Sol Carthul, it feels as though you've turned a page – as if you're leaving Sinclair and all that ugly business behind.Your tentative sense of optimism increases when you see Grace up and about, eating breakfast with Blessings as they sort through the last of the church papers. Calling out a greeting, you join them. “Good morning,” you add as you sit, “I hope I'm not interrupting anything.”“We're just, ah, checking things over,” Blessings explains, “Making sure we didn't leave anything out, you see? It never hurts to be careful!”“Everything seems to be in order,” Grace agrees, “I wonder what the church is going to do with these. Hide them away in some dusty old archive again?”“Probably,” you sigh, “But it's not our problem. So long as we continue to cooperate with them, we shouldn't have any problem getting into the Vault of the Sun. That's what really matters.”Leaning forwards and resting her chin on one hand, Grace murmurs acknowledgement. “Are we going to have any spare time here, captain?” she asks, “I was thinking about visiting a chapel. I've always wondered about them.”“You've never been to church before?” Blessings asks, his eyes widening with surprise.“Not really. Well, I think I visited one as a young child but I don't remember it. Father and I are both members of the church, but that's just on paper. I've seen the chapel at the academy, of course, but that's different,” Grace frowns a little, “I suppose this is the right place to go, if one wants to see a chapel.”“Ah, well, you certainly have plenty to choose from,” Blessings agrees with a weak laugh, “Too many, perhaps! I know a few good chapels, though, perhaps I could...”“I'd be happy to have a guide, certainly,” the young scholar nods slowly, “Captain, would you like to join us?”>I'd be happy to join you>I'll pass. You two go ahead without me>Other
>>2473907>I'd be happy to join youSure why not
>>2473907>I'll pass. You two go ahead without meWink to Blessings.
>>2473907>I'd be happy to join you
>>2473907>I'd be happy to join youWho knows, maybe we'll even find religion out there!
Visiting a church in Sol Carthul... automatically, you glance down to your left hand and the glove that covers it. Since the last time you've been here, you've come to accept the mild disfigurement for what it is – a mark of your heritage, true, but not something that defines you. It shouldn't cause you any trouble, even if you do have to take off your gloves for some reason. With that, you give them a slow nod. “Sure, why not?” you reply, “I'd be happy to join you. Business comes first, though.”“Oh, of course,” Blessings nods hurriedly, “I hope you don't mind my presumption, but I've filled out a petition already. I, ah, I thought that it was best that I did it, since I've done them before. My fundraising activities, you see, since they were an official piece of church business...” He flaps his hands vaguely, dismissing the whole subject before handing over a crisp sheet of parchment. “Here it is,” he concludes, “Just sign your name at the bottom, and it's done.”Before signing anything, you give the page a glance over. Once you set aside the formal and flowery language, it's pretty simple. Essentially, it states your intention to explore the Vault of the Sun and confirms that you will abide by church rules. Your motivations are scholarly, not based on the idea of making a profit. From what Alexander mentioned, it doesn't matter what you've written – the petition has already been accepted in advance.“Everything looks right,” you remark as you sign your name, “Let's go.”-Before you can hand in the papers, of course, you need to follow the usual rituals. Blessings leads you to the same bathhouse as before, and this time you can really appreciate the leisurely bath for what it is. Grace seems more interested in the ritual itself, and she often calls out questions to Blessings from the neighbouring bath. Leaving them to their back and forth, you lean back and let the hot water ease your tension away.Then, it's onto the archives for a brief visit. Hardly anyone is about this early in the morning, including Blessings' friend Alfaro. In his place is an assistant archivist, a sullen young woman who accepts the papers with neither gratitude nor surprise. The petition seems to be of no more interest to her. After stamping it with an ornate wax seal and placing it within a wooden cylinder, she simply files it away on one of the shelves behind her.“I suppose not everyone can be a morning person,” Blessings sighs as you're leaving the archives, “But still, would it really hurt for her to be a little more talkative?”“I prefer things this way,” Grace argues, “It's more efficient.”“That's true,” the young churchman agrees, “Ah, when Alfaro is there, we always end up talking about all manner of things – everything except for the real reason I was visiting the archives in the first place!”[1/2]
>>2474054From the archives, Blessings leads you to a chapel of his choosing. Not the grand cathedral, although you do consider it, but a smaller place off the main streets. Blessings seems to know the place well, leading you directly to it.“So many churches...” Grace murmurs as you walk, “Why are there so many? Surely they don't need quite so many!”“Ah, well, anyone can found a church here. They can even get some funding, if their petition gets accepted. Most of the churches here are devoted to various saints or... ah, or variations of the faith,” Blessings runs a hand through his limp golden hair, brushing his fringe out of his eyes as he glances about the street. “You'll like this place!” he assures both of you, “It's very, ah... very relaxed. I came here before starting my fundraising work. I feel like Saint Gilbert was with me all the way!”Grace glances around at you, but all you can do is shrug. “Saint Gilbert?” she asks mildly, “That's not one I'm familiar with.”“Saint Gilbert, who eases the traveller's burdens. He, ah, he's the patron saint of those with a great task ahead of them, be it a journey or a... whatever it is that we're doing, I suppose,” the boy laughs weakly, “He walked the length and breadth of Carthul, bringing the Light to everyone he met. When I was younger, I really looked up to him, although... I've grown a little distant of late. That all ends today, though!”Buzzing with enthusiasm, Blessings leads you into the chapel. It's a humble enough place, with all the signs of a building that has undergone hasty renovations. As you walk up the central aisle, passing by rows of simple pews, you find yourself wondering about what the building might have been used for before it became a chapel. It could have been any number of things – a bakery, a bookshop, or just a home. When the faith came to Carthul, it spread like wildfire and many buildings – this one included, apparently – became places of worship. A lectern stands at one end, a high window casting sunlight over it, while tapestries hang from the walls. Other than the priest – who quietly sweeps the aisle as if you weren't here – you're alone in the chapel.“He's not very popular these days, Saint Gilbert,” Blessings whispers to you. With that clarified, he ambles away to speak with the priest. Gazing around her in calm curiosity, Grace begins to inspect the tapestries. Approaching one for yourself, you realise that what you thought were meaningless designs were actually quotations, mostly revolving around what churchmen are supposed to avoid.Quite a long list, that.[2/3]
>>2474250Sitting in one of the pews, you gaze over at the lectern and the pool of sunlight that surrounds it. Unprompted, you find yourself thinking about the Lord of Rising Light – really thinking about him, in a way that you've never really bothered to wonder about. You've always seen the Lord of Rising Light as some vague figure of myth, no different to the wyrms of legend. But then, if wyrms are real, perhaps the same could be said for the Lord of Rising Light. If he IS real, then what kind of god could he be?And what would he make of a man like you?Before you can think on that unwelcome subject for any longer, Grace sits beside you. Silent for a few moments, she seems to make up her mind before speaking. “Those who shed the blood of their fellow man stains their spirit,” she quotes, her voice barely above a whisper, “Those whose spirits are stained are condemned to repeat their sins without end.”“What a joyless quote,” you sigh, “Look, you shouldn't put too much trust that stuff. It's all well and good for sheltered churchmen to believe stuff like that, but sometimes in life you have to shed blood. You're not given a choice in the matter.”“I'm aware of that,” she murmurs, her voice cool and controlled, “But it's the latter part that really caught my eye. Cycles and repetition are surprisingly consistent themes throughout everything that I've seen, from Nadir legends to Zenith script.”“What has been, will be, and what will be, will be again,” you think aloud. You've heard those words time and time again, in dreams and visions. Grace looks sharply around at the sound of your words, then nods.“That's a good way of putting it,” she agrees, “If you believe that kind of thing, at least. I'm not sure that I like the idea of being bound within the actions of some... long-dead ancestor.” Neither of you seems to know what to say to that, and so you sit in silence for a while. Grace watches as Blessings talks with the priest for a while, then she sighs. “I don't know why I came here,” she admits, “I suppose I'm still thinking about what Madame Lamia said to me – how I'm not complete. I wondered if coming here might help. I mean, Blessings seems so happy here, doesn't he?”“Everyone has a place where they belong,” you offer vaguely, “Be it sitting in a pew like this or sitting behind the controls of an airship.”“But I'm still looking for my place,” Grace murmurs, “Maybe that's my fate – always searching for a place that I might never find.”“It might not be perfect, but you'll always have a place on my crew,” you assure her, “Good enough for now?”Grace freezes for a moment, then a smile finds its way onto her face. “Good enough for now,” she repeats, “Thank you, captain.”>Hit some bad writer's block. Going to pause here for a bit, see if I can get started again. Sorry for the delay, the next post should be up in an hour.
Blessings approaches a short moment later, offering to introduce Grace to the priest and show her around the chapel. It doesn't look like the sort of place that really needs someone to show you about, but she demurely accepts the invitation. You decline, giving Blessings a wink as you explain that you need to get back to the ship. Before you retreat, you catch the grateful grin that he flashes your way. Smiling a little to yourself, you leave the young pair to it.Back at the aerodrome, though, the smile falls from your face. As you're approaching the Spirit of Helena, you see Alexander – Trice's unfriendly colleague – pacing in her shadow. He's alone, which suggests that he's not here to cause any trouble, but you still get a bad feeling from his mere presence. He's just that sort of person, you think to yourself as you reluctantly walk over to him, the sort of person who spreads bad feelings wherever he goes.“Captain Vaandemere,” Alexander says as you approach, bowing his head ever so slightly, “I come with news. Your petition to explore the Vault of the Sun has been accepted.”“What a surprise,” you reply dryly, “You came all this way to tell me that?”“Actually...” narrowing his eyes ever so slightly, Alexander nods towards the ship, “Why don't we continue this conversation aboard your ship. I fear that the air here disagrees with me – too much of a charge to it, with all these airships about.” When he gives you a thin smile, more of a smirk really, you realise that you don't have much choice in the matter. Gesturing for him to follow you, you lead Alexander aboard the Spirit of Helena. He says nothing, but you can tell that he's studying everything he can.So obviously, you don't take him to your private quarters. Instead, you take him to the bridge and gesture for him to take a seat. Dwight dozes nearby, but you pay him no mind. “So,” you begin, “I'm guessing that you didn't come here to tell me about that petition.”“You guess correctly, sir,” Alexander confirms with a sly smile, “As I said, your petition to explore the Vault of the Sun has been accepted. However, the Church of Rising Light has deemed it necessary that you do not go alone. For your safety, and to ensure that the site is treated with all due respect, you will be accompanied by a churchman.” He pauses, and a terrible idea begins to form in your mind. As if to confirm your suspicions, Alexander's smile widens a little. “I will be accompanying you,” he declares, “This, the Church of Rising Light has decreed.”You're silent for a long moment, all the while fighting back the urge to groan. You knew that things had been going too well, that there had to be a sting in the tail waiting. This isn't the worst news to be getting, but... it's not exactly the best, either.[1/2]
>>2474807“My role will purely be to observe and ensure that you follow our laws,” Alexander explains, softening his voice somewhat, “You must understand, it is highly unconventional to let a man such as yourself into a sacred site. It is simply impossible for you to go without a churchman present.” He speaks slowly and calmly, speaking in a voice that approaches reassurance. You're far from reassured, though.When he spoke those words about “a man such as yourself”, his eyes dropped to your hands. Not a fleeting glance either, but a slow and deliberate look. He knows exactly what sort of man you are.“Please understand, I have no intention of hindering or inconveniencing you,” the churchman continues, “We might not be friends, but we're both professionals. I trust that we can overlook any... personal or political differences that we might have.”“I don't like this, boss,” Keziah thinks suddenly, sending her thoughts jabbing into your mind, “There's got to be a way around this. We know where we're going and what we're doing. Can't we just... do it without him?”“They won't exactly make it easy on us,” you reply, “They've got the Vault sealed up tight, remember?”“I don't like this...” she repeats, leaving the matter at that.“So, Captain Vaandemere,” Alexander clears his throat, “Do we have your agreement on this? I will accompany you into the Vault of the Sun, to ensure that everything is done according to your laws. In return, you will be allowed free access to the entire site.”>Very well, I accept your conditions>The deal is off, I don't accept this>Other
>>2474815>Very well, I accept your conditionswe'll need him to get into the vault, hopefully we can do something to distract him while we get the necessary ring piece.
>>2474815>>Very well, I accept your conditions
>>2474815>Other"They can't send literally anyone else with me?"
>>2474815>Are you going to be armed?
>>2474815>Why you though? I understand it you're one of the more combat capable church members; does this mean there's fighting expected in the Vault?
Eh, switching to>>2474846
“I don't have a choice in the matter, do I?” you sigh, “Like, I don't know, a choice of who accompanies me?”“You'd prefer Provost Trice, of course,” Alexander lets out a clipped laugh, “Your friendship with the provost has not gone unnoticed. There are those within the church who feel that that friendship would make her... unreliable. Ideally, the church wanted to send someone who knows you but can also be relied upon to act objectively. Thus, I was chosen to accompany you.” Leaning forwards a little, the churchman lowers his voice and continues. “Between you and me, I think you're lucky,” he murmurs, “Some voices argued for a larger group to enter the Vault. If they had had their way, your petition would have been declined and the Vaults would remain closed to you. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.”“Lucky me,” you grunt, “Very well, then. I accept your conditions. You say you're here to observe, but is that all?”“Should you commit anything that we consider flagrant desecration, I'm obviously compelled to stop you,” he answers, “But you're not an ignorant man, Captain Vaandemere, I have faith that you won't force my hand.”“Now, don't take this the wrong way,” you ask, forcing a smile onto your face, “But are you armed?” Alexander doesn't answer that straight away, merely studying you as if trying to figure out why you're asking. “Tell me,” you ask next, trying a different approach, “Do you know what's inside the Vault?”“I know that it's a sacred site,” Alexander replies. His voice is brittle and his reply comes a little too quickly for it to sound natural. Either he doesn't know what's inside, or he does know... and it scares him. “You must forgive me,” he adds, “But I fail to see the relevance.”“We have reason to believe that the Vault of the Sun might be dangerous. In my experience, men shouldn't walk into dangerous places without suitable equipment,” you explain, patting the revolver at your belt, “So... are you armed?”Suppressing a laugh, Alexander unbuckles his heavy coat and sweeps it open, revealing a heavy pistol tucked away in an inner holster. You thought that Freddy's Iraklin pistol was big, but Alexander's gun is something else – more like a rifle that someone chopped down to a more manageable size. That he was able to hide it at all is a miracle. “The answer, then, is yes,” Alexander tells you, “I will be armed. Now then, I see no reason for us to delay. When do we set off for Zenith?”“Later,” you tell him, “Two of my crew are still away on... important business. When they've returned, we can leave.”“Then we have some time left,” Alexander smiles his usual unfriendly smile, “I would meet your crew, if it pleases you. We are to work together, after all.”[1/2]
>>2475030Wait don't we need something for the air in the Vault? Or did we take care of that and I forgot?
>>2475030As you lead Alexander through the ship, you think more over his words. He said that the church wanted someone who knew you, but Alexander hardly knows you at all. You met him only briefly, and that wasn't enough to build any kind of relationship on. Was that why he was attending Hess' party, you ask yourself suddenly, to meet you? It's very easy to fall prey to paranoia around him, you notice, and he seems to know that all too well – to encourage it, even.Then the churchman takes an abrupt turn into the engine room, and you don't have time to worry about what he might be scheming. The first things you see, and you see it only briefly, are Keziah's feet dangling a few inches off the ground. Then the witch drops down from where she had been dangling and lets out a startled squawk. “Knock before comin' in!” she wails, snatching up a shawl and throwing it over the thin singlet she wears, “Nae manners, both of you!”“What were...” you begin, shaking your head before you realise what she was doing, “Were you trying to do a pull-up?”“Aye, well, there's nae harm in doin' a wee spot of exercise, is there?” Keziah splutters, her cheeks darkening, “Build a wee bit of muscle, like, and... Dinnae look at me like that!”“Your engineer, I take it,” Alexander says, stepping in before things can get completely out of hand. “Nadir born, are you? I can't place that accent, though...” he adds, looking Keziah in the eye for a moment before shrugging slightly, “Well, it matters not. I thought your kind spurned technology completely.”“Not completely,” Keziah answers him, her voice growing cold as her embarrassment fades, “I've got full Guild papers, if you dinnae believe me, but-”“That will suffice,” he interrupts, looking around at you, “The church has a small outpost at the site, and that's where they keep their breathing equipment. The air inside the Vault is contaminated somehow, and so equipment was created to explore it. Created, but never used. Having an engineer with us will make things go that much more smoothly.” Keziah looks like she's about to curse at the man but Caliban raps his knuckles on the open door before she can say anything else.“The kids are home from church,” Caliban tells you, glancing briefly at Alexander before looking back to you, “Shall I tell Dwight to fire up the engines?”“Yes, do that,” you order, and the hunter smoothly retreats. Watching him leave, Alexander turns to you. “Another Nadir?” he asks, “You keep a very interesting crew, Captain Vaandemere. Are they all like this?”“Prick,” Keziah thinks to you, her thoughts sullen, “How long are we stuck with him for?”“Too long,” you think back to her.>I'm going to pause things here for today. I'll continue this tomorrow, and if anyone has any questions or comments I'll answer them if I can>Thank you for your patience today!
>>2475225Thanks for running!What's Alexander gonna say about Freddy?How jealous is Keziah of Freddy's rockin bod?How many Nadirians are actually in our crew?
>>2475225Thanks for running.What are the odds of being shot in the back when we find something the church wouldn't like public?
>>2475225Thanks for running!How uncomfortable would Alexander be if Caliban were to constantly be present behind his back while in the Vault?
>>2475260Considering it's just Alex and a good number of our crew, it's more likely he'd tell them to execute us once we got out.
>>2475244Well, Alex was able to attend a dinner party with some Iraklins without killing anyone so he'll probably be okay with her. I can't imagine they'll be the best of friends, mind you.No jealousy at all! She's just being health conscious, and definitely not jealous. Not at all.Other than Keziah and Caliban, there's a handful of regular crew with some degree of Nadir blood. That's not uncommon, as Nadir folk often get enlisted as cheap labour.>>2475260I wouldn't worry about it. It's not like monolithic religious organisations have a habit of trying to bury unwelcome facts, after all!>>2475299He might actually like it that way. Something like that really keeps you on your toes!
>>2456531Damn, this vids background pic and music compilation sounds like it would fit perfectly.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uobz85TUjrY
>>2475225And I've completely caught up with the quest now, depressingly. Now I have to wait.You're a great writer, Moloch. You write a fuckton, too, which is great. Lots of character interaction and fleshing out of everything.
>>2477165Sometimes I think he's a writing machine pretending to be a human.
>>2477403Considering how hard the curse has been hitting him recently it looks like he is a real human bean.
>>2475225>I'll continue this tomorrowH-Hello?
>>2479227Check the Twitter.