She stopped on the stairs again and turned fully when Jason replied with obvious annoyance, but she kept her expression blank, and her hand relaxed at her side as she stared at him.
"I'm serious, Sheska. If I'm gonna have this arm done on time on top of overseeing repairs and upgrading the ship, I don't have time to go traipsing around a new ship when one of my subordinates would work just fine. Look, Fry may be a lazy, insubordinate shit, but... Well, let me put it like this - I; the most anal, finicky, and competent engineer you've EVER had the pleasure of working with, frequently leave him in charge of MY engine room. That counts for something - at the very least, it counts for being able to tell you what's what with a ship that small.".
"I wasn't questioning his competence, Jason. I'm just saying that I know you better, and trust you that much more. Besides, I don't want you looking at the capture, I was hoping you'd at least give us a list of what we need for The Mermaid.", she said evenly, though it was taking quite a bit of patience on her part to keep it that way.
Then Jason spoke again.
"Really? YOU are lecturing ME about initiative? I'm sure the Captain would have plenty to say about your initiative. Well, with all that initiative, lead on, First Mate. In either case, we don't have all day."
Her eyes widened, then they narrowed dangerously into a death glare that she locked onto his own gaze. While she and Jason didn't get along all the time, they were friendly enough. Then there were times like this when the smug son of a whore was a massive bug up her misbegotten ass.
"You'll have to explain that one to me, Jason, and I'd be careful at what you say.", she said softly, stepping forward with her clenched fist at her side.
"Quite the romantic aren't we Mr. Corvus. I knew I kept you around for a reason." Adrianna said back with a smile, playfully jabbing Garrett in the side with her elbow afterwards. Garrett smiled at this remark. They both knew that there were more reasons to keeping him around. This game they played, was one of the most enjoyable that Garrett had played for a while; the thrill, the excitement, the omnipresent danger of being caught, it was oh so delicious, that he wanted to eat it up. But alas, duty called and their game was to be put on hold for now.
"Hardly. I'm trying to keep an eye out for the Mermaid; it was headed in this direction and I don't want to have another conflict in Helium airspace; the Helium trade is too great a risk. There's a veritable ships graveyard on the ground due to Imperial laws forbidding conflict in Helium airspace."
"Of course, one missed place shot could cause all sorts of trouble. But no doubt you want to serve the Mermaid a slice of revenge for what they did to our proud vessel." Garrett remarked as he saw the proud Chase Tower come into view. As they slowly came into dock, Garrett could see a familiar sight.
"Would you look at that Adrianna, our target is here. Though I can see no sign of her Captain." He added, pointing out the Mermaid.
She looked at the spoons he showed her, at first she had thought he had pulled knives or some sort of weapon. Which was why she had laid one of her hands on the chain sickle hanging around her waist.
"Digging?" Beth assumed that was how he had escaped from a change cage city, since they hadn't found any holes in the ship. "How crafty of you."
They kept walking, she hated these damn stairs. People of different origins passed them and walked behind as well. It wasn't a safe place to talk by any means, and even if pirates were welcome in the city she didn't feel comfortable talking among so many unknown ears.
"What do you plan on doing now? The crew you flew with before will be released later."
As soon as I've sold their airship. She couldn't release them before that. They could go to the authorities or try to take their ship back alone. She'd rather see it fly away before she released them.
They finally arrived at the bottom of the tower, but Jack were busy talking with others who had anchored to the tower and a line had formed. She sighed yet again, and placed herself at the end of the line. Outside the tower she could see the bustling crowd, and she was stuck in the tower.
"Look I'd rather not have to add more bandages and painkillers to my list so how about we all just calm down?" Samuel said somewhat jokingly as he stepped between the two.
"Jason she is our superior and if she says she wants you to come along, I'd come along. There will be time to work on Sheska's arm later, I still want to practice the surgery a few more times with the one you gave me anyway. Sheska, just remember his rather abrasive personality and remember he means well. He's probably busier than most of us as of late and I would suspect he is getting less sleep as a result, seeing as the man is obsessed with his work and on this ship there is always plenty." He then shot Jason a look sending a message along the lines.
If you open your mouth again and she hits you do not expect me to waste morphine on your poor decision
Her glare only moved from Jason's gaze to wheel around and lock onto Samuel's as he spoke.
"Look I'd rather not have to add more bandages and painkillers to my list so how about we all just calm down? Jason she is our superior and if she says she wants you to come along, I'd come along. There will be time to work on Sheska's arm later, I still want to practice the surgery a few more times with the one you gave me anyway. Sheska, just remember his rather abrasive personality and remember he means well. He's probably busier than most of us as of late and I would suspect he is getting less sleep as a result, seeing as the man is obsessed with his work and on this ship there is always plenty.".
When he finished, Sheska had deflated, then sighed, nodding once when she looked back at Jason.
"Sam's right. We've been running ragged since the Laughing Gull, and meeting with those Imps only made things worse. I lost an arm, you have more work, and we've all lost friends, which is the worst of it.", she said quietly, before addressing Jason more directly.
"I'll get off your case Jason, not only because Sam made a good point, but because you're my friend, and want to help me with a new arm. That deserves some consideration. Just, don't push your luck. I'm out of rum, and I'm irritable.", she added, refusing to go too soft, even to a friend, and she punctuated it with a quick-but-light smack against Jason's shoulder.
She hated being considerate. It just wasn't piratey, but when it came to friends, she was at least a little less reluctant to let a few minor things like personal spats slide. Besides, if nothing else, she could respect Jason for being one ballsy Skyfolk bastard.
When she turned she huffed, and she was noticeably settling in to her usually bad-tempered self. If nothing else, it was a sign of some normalcy. In fact, in the time it took for them to finally reach the bottom, her fuse on her temper was starting to run short again as she practically shoved sailors of all kinds out of the way, and rewarding the ones that turned back to protest with one of her best glares and a truly feral snarl.
Stepping off the stairs, she was only mildly relieved to be done with it, and was unsurprised to spot Beth near the back of the queue to pay old Jack. What did surprise her was the fact that she was accompanied by another misbegotten: A tall, slender man with six arms, wearing one of the rattiest suits she could imagine.
Leading the small pack behind her, she pushed her way to the Captain and nodded when she reached her side.
"Cap'n. The Mermaid is moored, and a skeleton crew is keeping watch, as well as assessing what damage we couldn't check while sailing. I've also got Izzy, Sam and Jason here with me.", she told her, before jerking her head at the newcomer and asking, "Who the hell is this?".
"Would you look at that Adrianna, our target is here. Though I can see no sign of her Captain." Garrett said as they passed the Mermaid. "So it is." Adrianna responded smiling - it was a great opportunity, and by the looks of it no one aboard had yet noticed the Invincible; the ship was all but unmanned by the looks of it. It was a true golden opportunity. Were it not for the pressing concerns with refitting their ship, resupplying, and meeting with the Imperial Liaison and the new Engineer, she'd have set about sabotaging the vessel within the hour. Alas, such a venture would need to wait for the moment.
"Mr. Corvus." she said, getting back to business. "please report to Dr. Roque - he's leading the resupply mission." she said, as she prepared for docking. She turned to go and take care of the docking procedure. Before she left however, she paused, turned around, and added "and stay safe Garrett."
As the Invincible moored, a Helium official came aboard to deal with all the formalities - such as payment, reason for docking, length of stay, etc. Unlike the pirate hoards, the Imperial vessel needed to give such information to remain in port. Not that Adrianna objected; the formal rule set made such encounters between the notoriously cool-related governments tolerable and it made them better then the hoard.
That said; more paperwork was never described precisely as enjoyable
While the Invincible was docking, the lone figure made its way down the tower toward the dock; intent on boarding the Invincible as soon as possible. After all; sitting in a boring Imperial consulate was hardly as much fun as fixing a ship. Besides all that; she had a job to do and it was a particularly important one.
To the Empire and to her.
"Mr. Corvus." Adrianna said in a more formal tone after smiling at the sight of the Mermaid. "please report to Dr. Roque - he's leading the resupply mission." She then added, as the ship prepared for final docking. Before she left however, Adrianna turned round and spoke to Garrett once more. "and stay safe Garrett."
"Rest assured my lady, I will keep it in our best interest to remain safe; after all, what kind of a bodyguard would I be if I can't keep myself safe." Garrett remarked with a smirk as he saw a Helium official come aboard to deal with the formalities and other dock business. Whilst he never had to deal with them personally, Garrett did find the sound of their job to be rather dull. He then made his way to below deck, and towards Vasco.
Eddie sighed as they pulled into port, tired of docking, he went to the normal space he could be found, at the highest point reachable on the ship. There he sat with his legs locked around the rigging, his dirk and hand cannon his only weapons. These places weren't safe on the best of days, and this certainly wasn't the best day.
"What do you plan on doing now? The crew you flew with before will be released later."
"Hmm" He wondered what he would do as well, "I guess I could become part of your crew. Romance, intrigue, skulduggery," He said as he theatrically waved his arms around, "They all fit a person like me." Ending his little dramatisation with a sly smile.
Behind the fašade of confidence he was't sure what he would actually do a member of the captain motley crew, he was a thief that was all, not a navigator, nor was he a fighter fighter, or a tactician. The scope of his skills were small, just like his understanding of the world outside of the blocks; he doubted there would be many opportunities for pick pocketing during a raid on another ship. But if he didn't take this opportunity he would be stuck in Helium city with no means of leaving than smuggling himself onto another ship and hoping it wasn't heading back towards the territories the empire controlled.
"Who the hell is this?".
Well time for him to introduce to himself to who he assumed was a member of Beth's crew, "I'm Hector, pleasure to meet you"
Vasco blinked as the morning sky and Helium City came into view. Underneath gloved hands were vast stretches of blue paper lined with white - all possible prototypes of the breathing apparatus for Annis. He sank his head into his hands. Dr. Roque had been a very busy man, all night he had toiled over matter medicinal and more. With a quick flick of the wrist, he released his face from the metal mask and proceed to wash his face. He stared in disdain as his haggard features came into view in the mirror. No wonder he kept it hidden. Face wiped and hair combed, he put the mask back on with a sigh of relief. It was something of comfort as well as concealment, that mask of his. Vasco wondered if Annis ever thought the same of hers. Probably not.
He checked the time. Mr. Corvus was running a few minutes late, but he was as well. Vasco had planned to have an early morning chat with Annis about the prototype that would replace the older one, but fatigue had crept upon the doctor and he found himself slipping into sleep. No doubt he would have to have a proper rest soon, no one can handle going more then two days without sleep after all. But that would have to be at a later date. The things he saw... Well, what did it matter? They were just dreams after all, but they managed to shake him, somehow. Taking his mind to brighter things, he tidied up his quarters in preparation for the Rear Admiral's bodyguard and quickly jotted down a list of needed supplies. Going into Helium City would be interesting at least...
Garrett carefully made his way through the corridor, making sure he tread carefully as to not wake up other members of the crew. There were a few that passed him, bleary eyed from just having to wake up, but they seemed to be in relatively okay spirits given the time of day. He eventually reached Dr. Roque's quarters, and could hear someone moving about inside. Garrett gently knocked on the door.
"Dr. Roque? It's Garrett, I've arrived for the resupply mission we're scheduled to go on whilst we are here in Helium." Garrett said, hoping he hadn't disturbed the good doctor; despite the odd appearance, he gave the man credit for his medical skills where it was due. He then patiently waited a response.
Isaac had watched the argument unfold with barely a word. He felt that maybe he should have intervened, but by the time he thought of what to say Samuel had already chimed in. He was glad to see that Sheska was willing to let the matter drop. After all, Jason had most definitely touched a nerve with his comment about the captain.
Isaac disliked it when the rest of the crew bickered. Back in the old days his team had no choice but to work together, so they put differences aside from the get-go. If you had a problem with someone in the unit you took it to the taskmaster and he's see what he could do. All this directionless arguing felt... messy.
He held his silence. It's what he did best after all. He followed the group down the gangplank and over to where Old Jack lazily sat, accepting docking fees from anyone planning on staying. He could see the captain from here, stood with a rather curious looking misbegotten man.
Sheska got straight to the point, asking who he was. Isaac just watched.
He looked theatrical. Not an actor necessarily, but he'd built himself an image. A "gentleman" of some kind. He hid it rather well but his stance was flighty. Like he could give you slip and be off running within less than a second. A thief then. A thief that very clearly wanted to join the crew. Ah, but he was a nervous one. Unsure of himself and trying to cover it up with a mask of confidence. Well, Isaac had no problems with the man. If Beth was happy with him being aboard, then he'd be welcome to it. Isaac decided to stand slightly back from the others and watch, half keeping an eye-out for any hostile looking parties. Even in Helium City it paid to have a modicum of caution.
A knock on the door. It was Garret. Vasco quickly scooped the vial out of the hidden compartment and placed it in the inside pockets of his jacket then went over to the mirror for a final once-over. With a few adjustments done, he opened the door tentatively and slowly, to reduce noise. He welcomed the 'tame pirate' with kind words, "Forgive me, I seem to be a little... out of sorts this morning."
So much to be done, yet he had hardly scratched the surface of the workload. At least the trip could be seen as a break of sorts, even when it would just probably end up being a trip to market. Dr. Roque was no haggler, he would have to rely on Mr. Corvus on that matter. Nevertheless, it would just be a little break in the endless cycle of shooting down pirate vessels and stopping at port to refuel.
Not that Vasco was in a position to complaint. Being shifted to the Invincible was a warning in itself and sent a very clear message: "You are in a precarious position due to your actions and... eccentricities. Behave on this assignment and prove us otherwise or you will be booted out." He grabbed his cane from its usual postion by the door and awaited with impatience, probably a result of his tired state of mind.
Sheska responded in about the manner Jason expected to his slight - with a threat and a snarl. As usual, he saw no reason to back down - even if Sheska snapped now, she wouldn't be stupid enough to kill him, not within the bounds of the city. And he VERY much doubted she would harm him at all over a personal grudge when he was likely the only person in a hundred leagues capable of fixing her arm and repairing the ship within the week. Seeing the tension rise, Sam cut in, calming Sheska down by reminding her everybody was on edge after pushing themselves for the past week. She seemed to let it go, being sure to give a swat to Jason's arm as she left. He rolled his eyes dismissively and followed her down the gangplank.
What Sam had said about their current mental state stuck with him, though. In the four days since they'd left High Tortuga, he'd only gotten about ten hours worth of sleep. Even by his workaholic standards, that was pretty extreme. He cursed himself silently - if he was starting to feel the effects, the rest of the crew, Sheska included, must be at the extreme edge of their limits. 'I suppose now isn't the time to nurse my ego.'
They approached the captain, who was speaking with old Jack. She was accompanied by an odd-looking misbegotten, a lanky six-armed man wearing a ratty old suit. 'Ah, crap. Here we go again...' In the years he'd been a pirate, Jason had seen and worked with plenty of strange characters, but one of the most common archetypes amongst green recruits was a notion that piracy was a noble, romantic venture. He could see that same na´vetÚ painted all over the boys' face. 'Well, if he's smart, he'll wise up before he kills himself. If not, well... in either case, he's Sheska's problem. I'd be willing to bet my left arm that guy doesn't know anything about airship mechanics.'
Samuel let out an audible breath when the situation defused. The last thing that needed to happen was a fight with at least a few imperials around more likely than not. It would be bad for them if reports of strife on the ship made it up the chain to the Invincible. He left his thoughts just in time to hear Hector introduce himself.
"Samuel, a pleasure to meet you as well." He said as he held out his hand to the man.
Like everyone else he hadn't gotten much sleep. Tending to the crew of the Mermaid after the run in with the invincible, tending to the people of the skyfolk ship, and practicing the surgery required to attach the robotic arm to Sheska in a way that would work had taken a lot of energy out of him and left him with a little time to relax. Not to mention having to take stock of what medicines he did have and what he would need for an extended journey.
She almost burst out laughing at his description of the pirate life, but the thought of being surrounded by imperial scum and still standing in line kept her from fully enjoying herself. "Yeah, there's not much of that... Just hard work, death and rum." Which reminded her that she had seen too little of the latter lately.
Some of her officers showed up, lead by Sheska.
"Cap'n. The Mermaid is moored, and a skeleton crew is keeping watch, as well as assessing what damage we couldn't check while sailing. I've also got Izzy, Sam and Jason here with me.", she told her, before jerking her head at the newcomer and asking, "Who the hell is this?".
She smiled tiredly. Did they really have to argue again?
"Nice work. We'll need to be keep a watchful eye on the Mermaid, as I believe that imperial frigate we fought were heading to Helium as well." Beth wasn't sure about Hector yet, but if he wanted to get himself killed as a pirate she wouldn't stop him from doing so. "This is our first new recruit. I'm leaving him to you." She pushed him towards Sheska, and stepped up to pay Jack for her two ships.
After she had tried haggling to get a better price and failed, she gathered her officers outside the tower in a street which wasn't as crowded and full of curious ears.
"I'm assuming that Eddie was the one left in charge of the ship, since he's not here." She checked her pocket watch, but she couldn't blame him for not coming down from the ship. She hadn't enjoyed the walk either. "Jason, you're on repairs. I'm sure you have patients and restocking to do, Doc. Sheska is in charge of recruiting new crewmembers. Isaac, you may as well help with the restocking of the ship too. Don't let the prisoners out until I've sold the ship. I'll be looking for a buyer."
She looked at each of them, to see if they had understood, but they weren't stupid so she nodded. "Alright, I'll see you all later. I should be around one of the taverns."
Beth needed a fucking drink, but it would also be easier to find someone to buy her ship in a seedy bar. She turned and walked away from them.
As the door opened slowly, Garrett could see Vasco standing firmly on the other side, and was welcomed with kind sounding words. "Forgive me, I seem to be a little... out of sorts this morning." Vasco said, still sounding tired as he grabbed his cane from a spot near the door, and proceeded to enter the corridor.
"It is understandable doctor given that we are still in the early hours of the morning; at least we have arrived in Helium, with fair weather on our side. Anyway, we should probably proceed up onto the deck, and collect the resupply list from the admiral, along with meeting up with the crewmen that have been assigned to help us. After that, we shall descend into the city itself, and proceed to the Merchant's Quarter for the much needed supplies." Garrett remarked as he pulled the door to Vasco's room to close.
"Lead the way doctor, I shall follow on behind you."
She glanced between Hector and the Captain, and felt her metaphorical hackles rise as she saw the smile Hector had given Beth. But she kept it to herself and nodded when the Captain replied.
"Nice work. We'll need to be keep a watchful eye on the Mermaid, as I believe that imperial frigate we fought were heading to Helium as well. This is our first new recruit. I'm leaving him to you."
She nodded, and grimaced mentally. Great. So this wannabe fop and gentleman was going to be the first new pup on the Mermaid? She was willing to bet he wouldn't last long, either because the Imps would kill him, or she would.
"Right, Cap'n.", she said, before turning to Hector with a snarl as he tried to make nice with the others.
"Oi, new blood! Don't think about starting to make friends, because that isn't how it works for young pups like you on the Mermaid. 'Till you earn your place, you aren't full crew, and if you aren't full crew, I'll be working your hide raw, got it? The Mermaid is a pirate ship, not a pleasure cruise! I catch you slacking, I skin your ass alive, then force-feed it to you.", she growled at him, reaching up and grabbing the front of his suit and pulling him down to eye level.
Her eyes locked onto his, and she slowly bared her teeth in a nasty smile. "You got that, boy?", she asked quietly, letting him go without waiting for an answer.
Then she promptly turned and motioned for the others to follow, catching up to the Captain when she failed to haggle for better better prices.
"I'm assuming that Eddie was the one left in charge of the ship, since he's not here. Jason, you're on repairs. I'm sure you have patients and restocking to do, Doc. Sheska is in charge of recruiting new crew members. Isaac, you may as well help with the restocking of the ship too. Don't let the prisoners out until I've sold the ship. I'll be looking for a buyer.".
She grimaced outwardly this time, but nodded again.
"Right, Cap'n. Soon as you can though, I want to talk to you, privately.", she said, locking her eyes onto Beth's as a way to say that she was serious about that talk.
"Alright, I'll see you all later. I should be around one of the taverns.".
"Don't drink too much. I'll get us some new faces for the Mermaid. Hector! You're with me, and you'd best keep up.", she said, and she turned to go to where most pirates went when they were out of a ship and needed to join one: The Marketplace.
"...Lead the way doctor, I shall follow on behind you."
"But, of course." He replied. With that, Garrett kindly shut the door as Vasco entered the corridor. The mercenary just assumed the doctor was afflicted with tiredness, but with he was haunted as well, by nightmares. That was enough to ensure that Vasco skipped sleep whenever it was viable, as no-one wanted a doctor trembling at the memory of phantasms of the past. At least today's agenda would push those thoughts away from his mind. He clambered up to the deck, with Mr' Corvus following him behind, and approached the Rear-Adrimal who was standing there.
"Ms Lanester?" He inquired, "We are here for the resupply list and the crew assigned assist with the... resupply mission."
"Ms Lanester?" Dr. Roque said, appearing behind her. "We are here for the resupply list and the crew assigned assist with the... resupply mission." Turning to face the doctor, she pulled a letter from her pocket, sealed with her wax insignia. "Your list Dr. Roque, as well as the authorization to withdraw Imperial funds" she said, handing him the small piece of paper. "You will need to visit the Imperial Outpost here in Helium to withdraw any actual currency, but the paper alone should give you authorization for Imperial expenditure on the Empire's credit for any large expenditures." she said, making sure he knew the procedure. She had to admit, she never much understood the monetary side of resupply; buying on Imperial credit always seemed like a strange proposition to her.
"The list is with the letter; it's mostly food and medical supplies, though replacement powder and ammunition are also present. This should mostly be available for requisition at the outpost if you don't want to do the leg work." she said, making the options she was aware of known. "Though, the Consulate will give you less-than pleasant looks if you actually do it through requisition." she added, thinking of the last time she'd resupplied in Helium; they never had enough supplies on hand here in Helium, so requisitions usually cost the consulate a fancy dinner or two. "On the major expenditures; look into refitting the damaged armor and - more importantly - a more powerful engine. I included a discretionary fund for any medical equipment you deem necessary; though try not to over spend it. Any excess comes out of my commission." she finished, the information in the letter fully explained - or near enough anyway.
"Oh; one last item; If you see any of the Mermaid crew while ashore, don't engage them. We don't need to start a fight in the streets of the Empire's biggest trade partner. try and keep an eye on them if you can, but I don't want to hear anything about losing any of our crew to pirates while land-side." Though she doubted Vasco would be insane enough to order a fight on shore, Adrianna had to mention it if only to put her own fears at rest.
"Otherwise; be back by nightfall. You have permission to dismiss the crew with you for some well earned shore leave after the supplies are acquired." With that, she pointed to a dozen or so crew members to help carry supplies for the good doctor, and gave the ashore whistle. "If there is nothing else Doctor, I fear I will need to make a visit to the Consulate myself to deal with the issue of our crew losses and replacements."
Most of who he assumed to be the crew hung back, however one fellow did step forwards and offer him his hand, "Samuel, a pleasure to meet you as well." It was the person who had raised his pistols at Hector after he had tumbled out of the door, strange that he seemed to be the politest of the bunch, however beggars can't be choosers, so he heartily he accepted Samuels hand and shock it vigorously, "Thank you" He gushed back as a reply.
He listened to what the Captain said, he had been accepted into the crew and was pushed towards his new less than friendly friend, or crew mate, he couldn't decide which. After listening to what the continued to say he surmised that this was Sheska, except for Samuel and the Captain, he didn't know any other of the crews names, how unfortunate. Well they could introduce themselves to him later, now it was time to impress.
She reached up and grabbed the collar of his suit, yanking him down to eye level and snarled at him, "You got that, boy?"
He may be new and he may not be that useful right now, but he could and would learn. That didn't excuse the awful behaviour and the mistreatment, he smoothed his suit down trying to calm him himself.
"Yes, I understand" He said half pouting.
She started off towards the - well somewhere, and hollered back to for him to keep up. She says that and doesn't even wait for me, he thought. Not wanting to be left behind he quickly caught her up with his long strides.
"Where to now, matey?" He said grinning.
Sheska was deep in thought about just what to expect from the new recruits, as well as the possibility of getting some rum on the way there when Hector spoke next, stopping her mid-stride.
"Where to now, matey?".
Her turn was agonizingly slow, and when he eyes locked onto his, they were like gold lasers trying to bore into his skull out of sheer irritation.
"Don't call me matey, pup, though I am First Mate. In fact, I didn't introduce myself, did I? I'm Sheska the Skulk-Hound, the Cap'ns very own rabid dog on a leash. I'm the one she lets loose usually when she wants something dead. Or, at least in this case, to do my First Mate duties.", she added with a grimace.
When she turned, she spotted a nearby open-air bar doing brisk business, and she made a beeline to it.
"Anyway, we're heading to the marketplace. There's a place there where pirates gather when they need work, or need to find a new ship to sail on. They used to just gather in bars for that, but it was slow and didn't work too well. This way, everyone knows where to go, and everyone gets a job on some ship or another.", she explained as she wove through the crowd to get to the bar itself.
When she got to the counter, she reached to her hip and dug into a pouch that hung on her belt, pulled out a few coins, tossed them onto the counter-top and pointed to a bottle. Within a minute of the barkeep sweeping the coins into his hand, there was a bottle of rum in hers.
"So, Hector, what is it you're good at? You'll be working regardless on the Mermaid, but we might as well know where the fuck to put you. And don't be a smartass either, especially if you want to keep that tongue in your trap.", she warned him, biting down on the cork stopper and pulling it out with her teeth.
"One last thing." Annis said, entering the conversation between Lanester and Vasco unannounced.
She knew what was on the list. She'd composed it herself and handed it to the Rear-Admiral the day before.
"Some of the items we require may be hard to obtain. Upgrades for the ship out of necessity will have to come from... skyfolk builders."
She held up another scroll, also sealed.
"Here is a list of those shipwrights the Empire does business with and have proven trustworthy. You shall need to contact at least one of them for all the parts we need before we leave. I have highlighted the better two within."
Those names hadn't gone on the original list because she had assumed that she herself would be going on the resupply run. But since Dr Roque and Corvus were going she needed to stay with the ship and oversee the current repairs. The least she could do is point them in roughly the right direction.
She looked over at Lanester.
"Rear-Admiral, before they disembark may I have a word with you?"
She jerked her head to indicate she wished for some privacy in the conversation.
Isaac watched Sheska stalk off with the new recruit in tow. He couldn't quite shake the thought that she'd kill him by the end of the day if he didn't watch his mouth.
Well, he had his orders from the cap'n. Best to get going on them.
He looked at Samuel.
"So. Supplies then?"
Samuel smirked as he say Sheska and Hector leave them with Sheska falling into her role as first mate undoubtedly.
'That poor boy, going to be worked until there is nothing left of him' He thought with a laugh. Isaac then turned to him and asked about supplies.
"Yes, of course. Now do you want to start with your list, mine, or shall we each split up and meet back here? I know what I need and can use so it makes little difference to me." He responded already starting to walk into the city.
Isaac fell in behind Samuel and shrugged.
"No more maps I need. Just helping you out today, Sam."
He proceeded to follow Samuel through the docks towards wherever the hell it was he got his supplies. He looked casually around at the crowds but his mind was elsewhere, what with the early start and watching Sheska yell at everything with a pulse.
Which was rather unfortunate because it mean he missed a very familiar eye tracing his outline...
"Well I'll be." a cracked voice said, adjusting a monocular lens to better focus on Isaac.
"There's a face I didn't think I'd be seeing again..."
A smile crept up on withered lips and the figures pointed teeth showed in a cruel leer...
"Rear-Admiral, before they disembark may I have a word with you?" Annis said after appearing from across the ship. "Of course" she said, before walking toward the bow of the ship, indicating for Annis to follow. Adrianna had a sneaking suspicion what Annis had to say was likely not for the ears of Dr. Roque and Garrett. When they were out of ear shot of the others, she turned back to Annis and said "Very well Ms. Baker-Cromwell; you may speak freely" she said, guessing that whatever the concern was, it would require the Second-Mate's more... informal tongue given her non-verbal request for privacy.
Annis followed the Rear-Admiral,discreetly assuring herself there were no eavesdroppers as they went. It wasn't exactly that the rest of the crew couldn't hear what she had to say, but the less people who heard the more secure she would feel.
"Very well Ms. Baker-Cromwell; you may speak freely"
"Rear-Admi... Ms Lanester. I think it's obvious that the ship we encountered will be docking here. Now, of course there is nothing we are allowed to do about that, legally anyway. But you and I both know that there are... certain services offered within the city that could perhaps aid us. It would be remiss to allow known pirates safe harbour, regardless of legality don't you think?"
Annis did not have much experience in Helium, but she knew cities. Where there were people there was crime. And where there was crime there were criminals willing to work for pay.
You would think that next they would be telling him how to dress a wound next, the way the two women went on. But he listened to the instructions carefully, paying full attention. Vasco wasn't sure how Garrett would respond to that slur, but Imperial relations with the Skyfolk were... shaky at best, so there was bound to be hatred for the other on both sides. Annis and Lanester turned away from them to talk. An opportunity missed, but hopefully there would be another one later on to talk to Annis about the upgrade. Dr. Roque was surprised that the mask had lasted as much as it did. Some may even leave it to another year, but Vasco was not willing to chance it. With the two women gone, he and Garrett were left with the dozen or so crew left to help them with this endeavor. Best to let Mr. Corvus led them, as he had more experience with these things.
He turned to Garrett, pivoting on the cane as he did so, "Well; shall we start?"
Samuel lead the way to the warehouse that kept medical equipment in stock. He'd been to this city more than once so he knew where to look for good deals on what he would need. He had written a list including morphine, bandages, dried meats and fruits among other things including many other medicines and items needed not only for the trip but where they would be going.
"I'm going to need everything on this list delivered to the Mermaid in the quantities specified before she leaves port." He said to the man working the counter.
"Not all of this is going to come cheap." Was the man's reply.
"That won't be an issue. So Isaac anything you happen to need?"
Garrett listened to the instructions that Adrianna had given both him and Vasco, noticing the handful of crewmen that had been assigned to assist them on the supply run. They all looked as though they had been preparing themselves, each looking fit and able for the task at hand. He was slightly annoyed at Annis's interruption, and took the minor insult against his people with a pinch of salt.
Then Vasco turned to Garrett, pivoting on his cane as he did. "Well; shall we start?"
"We may as well Doctor, I have a feeling our presence is no longer needed." Garrett remarked, before turning to the dozen or so crewmen assigned to them.
"Right you lot, the Rear Admiral has given our orders and we shall be departing any moment now. If you make a good job of it on this supply run, I'll see to it that you have the shore leave you so deserve." Garrett said in a commanding tone, which woke up some of the more sleepy eyed crew.
"If your ready Doctor, we shall disembark. We should try and enquire about these upgrades first."
"If your ready Doctor, we shall disembark. We should try and enquire about these upgrades first."
The crew were ready, Vasco was ready, Garrett was ready. Even if it was out of politeness, Vasco sighed at the remark. Of course he was ready, that was plain to see. He simply replied, "Yes. Then lets."
Vasco then started thinking about the trip. The sealed letter would be enough for large transactions, apparently, so the visit to the Imperial Outpost could be delayed until needed. But a visit to the Consulate would be nice, just to inquire about certain matters and so forth. And of course, there was the matter of Annis' new mask to attend to.
Thrifty spending with the budget for medical supplies may bring new parts for the new mask. However, it was important as well that an adequate amount of medical supplies were brought back to the Invincible. If this was done in quick time, then maybe Vasco could visit any medical experts in Helium City, if there was time. The resupply would suffer if it was hurried, though. Dr. Roque was reminded of the old saying 'more haste less speed'. Well best not to force these things, anyway.
"... regardless of legality don't you think?" Annis said, finishing her explanation. Adrianna only smiled at the statement; she'd been thinking along a similar line for some time. "Not only are they likely here; but they are here. Mr. Corvus and I spotted it in dock as we were making out final approach." she said, giving Annis the same information she had. "I agree with your proposal; while our hands are tied, we cannot allow a known pirate vessel that attacked an imperial frigate to escape." she said, turning away for a moment to stare out into the city around them.
It was still early, but already the streets were alive with business. She'd always enjoyed the sight of sales; there was something about the selling and buying of goods that always gave her some pleasure. Perhaps it was the way even the Empire and Helium could interact peacefully for the sake of a mutually beneficial relationship. Adrianna shook her head free of the aberrant thoughts then returned to Annis. "But I think we need to expand upon this. I don't want to just destroy them; we need to make an example of them. The Empire cannot afford to look weak. To do this, we need information. I want to know everything about them as possible. Annis; I give you permission to deal with the pirate scum as you see fit, so far as it doesn't come back to the Empire directly. Coordinate with Mr. St. John to plan their destruction, and see what information you can gather about them." she finally said, her face betraying no emotion for she felt little toward the fate of some scurvy-ridden pirates, unfit to fly the skies.
"More like Sheska the Sulk-Hound," He thought inwardly, outwardly rolling his eyes after being 'told off' by her yet again, "Did this woman have any sense of humour
It was best not to press the issue, he was sure that if he said anything, anything at all, she would knock him for six and leave him in Helium City. After that unfortunate realisation he decided to keep his mouth shut, what good it would do him except making it onto the ship he wasn't sure, it would just make him miserable and fidgety and that would probably annoy the Sulk-Hound even more.
He dropped his attention from his morose companion and started looking around the streets of Helium, if he was going with the crew he my as well take in the sights and sounds of the buzzing metropolis now or if he was dumped by his new 'friend' he'd need to how to survive.
It was a strange place, well not strange, but different. People were free.
Sadly before a more fuller picture of the city could be formed in his head, the Sulk-Hound dragged him into a bar, and was about to acquaint herself with a bottle of something - well from the smell it was alcoholic, so rum? The pirates choice, so of course it was. Maybe that would lighten her sulky mood.
"So, Hector, what is it you're good at? You'll be working regardless on the Mermaid, but we might as well know where the fuck to put you. And don't be a smartass either, especially if you want to keep that tongue in your trap."
"Hmm..." That was a toughie, the blocks weren't known for giving an astonishing education, except if it was an education in crime, for all his foolhardiness he was awfully educatated when it came to worldly matters, "Ummm...I can sew," He said unsurely, that wasn't going to impress, not at all, this time with a bit more bravado he said, "But I'm also really good at hiding, and stealing if that helps."
As she listened to him, she took a deep, long draught of the rum, and once a quarter of the bottle was gone, she lowered it, wiped her mouth with the back of her forearm and sighed happily. Then she turned to look at, her eyes scanning him up and down in appraisal.
"Well, I can sew myself, but It'll be good to have another hand for that little chore whenever it comes up. Pickpocketing and normal street-thievery isn't what we do most of the time, but... You know anything about engines, machinery? If so, you would probably be best suited for sabotage whenever we board a ship. If not, I suppose we can always teach you, if you stick around and feel the urge to go that route.", she said, her general irritation easing as the alcohol coursed through her system, and in turn making her tone more casual.
Then she shrugged, and continued in the direction of the marketplace.
"Regardless, you'll learn how things are on the Mermaid, one way or another. Well, unless it kills you.", she pointed out with a chuckle, before taking another sip of rum.
When she lowered the bottle this time, she smiled as she glanced around the marketplace. It was more of a local bazaar really. With colorful stalls, unusual people, street thieves and brigands sprinkled around the group. Really, it was one of the few places that Sheska openly enjoyed that wasn't a bar or tavern.
Unfortunately, her admiration of the marketplace itself was interrupted by something that she caught at the corner of her eye, and she turned to glance at a group of children rushing towards them. She promptly leaned towards them, bared her teeth and snarled, causing the little urchins to stick out their tongues and change direction. When she straightened, she smirked a little.
"Damn kids. Can't trust em to leave your pockets alone in a strange city. They're lucky they're cute.", she said with a trace of affection in her voice before glancing at a section that was quite separate from the rest of the bazaar, and she turned to Hector, saying, "There we are. Once we get in, grab a clipboard, some paper, and something to write with.", she ordered as she started in that direction.
Then she hesitated and turned back again.
"You can read and write, right?", she asked cautiously, knowing that a surprising amount of pirates didn't exactly know.
As the group moved through the busy city streets of Helium, people graciously moved out of the way after seeing the overall size of the group itself. Despite the relative peace that was established, there were a few who were still cautious of the Empire, and didn't want to make any trouble. Garrett meanwhile was busy keeping an eye out for any of the pirates that were on board the Mermaid, thinking that Adrianna would of asked him anyway if he had remained on board.
Garrett eventually could see the Shipwright building in the near distance from across the market. He looked around the marketplace, and noticed one of the Mermaid's crew; they stood out in particular as they were lacked an arm, with Garrett realising that it was the same woman who Exeter and Capricorn were fighting on the day of the battle. Without warning, one of the crewmen tried to approach the woman, only to be stopped by Garrett with a sharp pull to their coat.
"Ease yourself, we don't want to be attracting any unnecessary attention nor create a scene that would be disapproving in the Rear Admiral's eyes." Garrett said to the sailor in a commanding tone. The man in question soon relented, and readjusted his coat before falling back into line with the others. With a subtle gesture, they managed to give the woman a wide berth, and reached the front entrance of the Shipwrights. Garrett could already smell the varnished wood as he turned to face the sailors, and spoke quietly to them.
"Right you lot, I'll need some of you to stay out here and scope out the surrounding area in case any more of the Mermaid's crew show up. Don't engage them whatever you think otherwise, just silently observe and note your findings, the Rear Admiral will likely want a report when we return. The rest of you will come inside with me and Doctor Roque, in case there are something that need to be taken back to the ship."
Without the need to be repeated, a few of the crewmen split off from the main group, but stayed close to the building. Everyone else meanwhile headed inside.