Walking, walking, walking. One of the few good things about Helium City was that with enough Misbegotten with their grotesque misshapen bodies, Neobedouin in their colourful costumes and such, people just ignored for the most part the group of Imperial Air Navy officers that wandered the city like it was just an everyday occurrence. Even Vasco moved through the city without any comments on his strange attire. The atmosphere was a paradox, being both relaxed yet agitated at the same time. Tensions between the different cultures still ran high, but the enforced peace kept things in check.
The more aggressive of the crew tried to approach what seem like the Mermaid's crew. But this was cut short by Garrett, which only served to remind Dr. Roque about how fragile the peace was. Before anything started, they were whisked to the Shipwrights, which stank of sawdust and tar. A constant buzz of activity filled the building, and the constant noise of sawing quickly became grating to Vasco. Not only that, but if a speck of sawdust became trapped in the ventilation system... Well, poor Dr. Roque would be up all night afterwards trying to pry it out. He quickly dug into his bag and brought out the list that Annis had given him.
A quick look around the Shipwrights and he identified of the two that Annis had highlighted and strode towards the makeshift counter that was set out, "Greetings, sir. Me and my associates would like to make some purchases."
Well whatever the beverage was, it had done something to improve the Sulk-Hound's temperament, but he was dismayed to learn his small repertoire of skills were worth all but naught aboard the pirate vessel. For some reason she had asked him if he knew anything about machinery, where would he have learned that from? Trilby's adventures weren't about skulking about in engine rooms and turning tail to run once he had sabotaged the ship. That wasn't very heroic was it now? No, Hector imagined himself dashing onto the enemy's ship, cutlass and each hand and taking the Imperials by storm.
It wasn't until the Sulk-Hound had started to walk off that he snapped out of his day dreaming and quickly caught up with her again. He realised he would have to be doing a lot of 'catching up' on the ship. The crew was experiences, he was not. He could learn but it would take time. Exasperated with his own negativity he decided he would learn, no matter how long it would take.
"You can read and write, right?", She asked
Of course, why hadn't it dawned on that the pirates might not be literate. It was a skill that he thought nothing of, who boasts about reading? He'd rather find something more interesting to boast about, but it was a start. Now he could show the Sulk-Hound how useful he could be.
"Yes, I can read. And I can write for that matter too," It was more like a scrawl then writing, but you could read it. "What makes you think I can't?" He boasted confidently as he followed her in picking up a clipboard, some paper and a pen.
"Yes, I can read. And I can write for that matter too. What makes you think I can't?".
She snorted at how confident his answer was, and she tilted her head to one side.
"You'd be surprised how many pirates can't. Quite a few come from some shitty cities where there wasn't a chance to learn...", she told him, but her voice trailed off as she looked past Hector to see a man in an Imperial uniform striding toward her with purpose.
Her eyes narrowed to dangerous slits, but she stood there, hand clenched firmly on the bottles neck as she thought about dropping it to draw her cutlass. It was after a moment she saw the Imperial be stopped by someone else, this time a taller man in a red, hooded coat. Someone she would've sworn had to be a pirate. They looked the part far too well. But why was he with Imps?
After shaking her head, she took another draught of rum, then looked up at Hector.
"Lets go young pup. When we get in there, grab a clipboard, pen, and some paper. I'll need you to list the names of the pirates we're recruiting. And if you can, keep an eye out for Imps. If we can catch one on their own, I want to have words with em.", she told him, her voice hush and strained.
The Invincible was there. She just knew it. And if the Invincible was there, that meant the man from the battle was there. The man with the pirates stink about him, and the Lieutenant's disdainful glare in his eye. The man in charge of Capricorn.
Whatever she did, she knew she would be meeting him again, and she looked forward to it.
Turning back to the gathering of pirates, she strode in and made a beeline for an empty table, setting her rum down before pulling up a pair of chairs. She promptly sat back on one and propped up her feet, grabbing her rum again and nodding when a pair of men, Skyfolk by the look of them, strode up and nodded back.
"You recrutin?", the shortest asked with a quirked brow.
"That's right. I'm the First Mate of the Mermaid. Cap'n Beth, a misbegotten like me, is looking for strong hands and good fighters. We're taking a trip north-east, so it's best you don't mind cold. Interested?", she asked.
The taller, and fatter, of the two glanced to his companion, then shrugged, looking back to them both and nodding.
"Sure, we could use the work. Imperials killed our Captain and First Mate, and the new one is a bloody menace.", he said, and his friend grimaced.
"That's for damn sure. Acts high and mighty, turns tail and runs when Imperials come around, and hardly raided any ships. I wouldn't be surprised if the boys we left behind have mutinied by now.", he told her.
"Right. Names?", she asked, glancing over at Hector and hoping he was ready.
"Julian Ravenwood and my pudgy friend here is Stiles Hawkling.", the shorter one, Julian said, also glancing expectantly at Hector.
"Right then, you know that you'll be required to swear loyalty to Cap'n Beth, to follow her orders, respect her command--", she started, only to be interrupted by a rough, drunken yell.
"Who in their right mind would 'wear loy'ty to some hideous fuckin' misbegotten whore, 'specially since she's got two more of the goddamned dogs on the ship? Is the whole ship filled with em?", asked a particularly burly pirate as he staggered over, one hand on his pistol's handle and the other loosely holding a tankard.
He was a former Imperial, and dressed like former Navy, coming up almost to Hectors height, but he was made out of hard fat and muscle. As he stepped forward, Sheska merely set her bottle down and set her feet down, her eyes forming a potent death glare, but she didn't say anything, not yet.
She didn't think she needed to wait and had made her way towards the Invincible, to have a word with the admiral. The other imperials gave her little attention, as those who had been in the city for a longer period of time already recognized her face.
When she reached the invincible she was stopped, since they couldn't allow just anyone to come onto the ship. Wilhelmena made a gesture towards the silver star on her dress, then she walked up the gangplank without waiting for them to acknowledge her as one of them. They didn't try to stop her though, and it would have been a shame for her to drop her bag just to point a sword at someone.
Wilhelmena found the admiral pretty fast, and curtsied in front of her. "Rear-admiral Lanester, I presume." She said with a darker voice. "I am Wilhelmena Heatherington-Portnoy, reporting for duty and bringing a message from Jaqui Remmington."
She stretched out her arm, and waited for the admiral to take the white envelope from her. "I hope you have had a pleasant journey, so far."
Beth had made her way to the parts of the city where few other than pirates and neobeduin came. She had already visited a few different taverns, before making her way to the wet bitch. An inappropriate name, by anyone's standards, but somehow it had still become her favorite tavern and the one she had visited the most.
Robert prefered another one that was located closer to the centre of the town, but here she could find all the right kind of people to buy her damn ship. It hadn't taken her long to actually start a conversation with a skyfolk man either, unfortunately he had rushed out of the tavern when some tough looking people had come looking for him. She had stayed, following him might have sold the ship, but it might also have ended up with her dead as well.
While visiting the other taverns, she had heard the most important news and rumours of the city. The president was apparently going to host a party, and that was what most of them talked about. There was also talk about the prices which had gone up, or the neobeduins who were visiting the city.
Beth currently had a glass of whiskey in front of her, and scanned the room for individuals who could be interested in buying a ship. Usually they couldn't be spotted just by looking at them, but she was enjoying her drink too much to get up. Instead, she called the bartender over and asked if she knew about anyone who needed to purchase a new ship or if she could ask around on her behalf. The bartender, who was a cute blonde native of Helium city answered that she might know, but that it would cost her. Beth grimaced, and handed over a few bills. The bartender immediately got more pleasant and honest about what she knew. Other than the skyfolk man who had rushed off, there was rumours about a neobeduin woman who needed ships, but she had never been in the bar. Beth got a brief description of her, thought she sounded familiar and continued drinking her whiskey. It could wait, and she still needed a break after flying the skyfolk ship.
"...I hope you have had a pleasant journey, so far." the strange woman said, holding out an envelope. Wilhelmena Heatherington-Portnoy; the name didn't seem familiar to her, but that was of little shock. She'd only visited Helium City infrequently, so the names of officers stationed there for any great length of time were all but unknown to her.
Adrianna took the letter then reached into her desk and withdrew a letter opener. The seal in the letter looked both correct and unbroken; both good signs. Tearing into the letter at the edge of the fold with the sharp knife, she pulled the letter free and began to read.
The letter was long and filled with the fine prose of proper Imperial education, long winded and inherently difficult to read; filled with the self-gratification of high-language. It was a familiar sight to Adrianna; she'd spent her youth engaged with such writing. She never liked to see it as an Imperial officer however; it only distracted from the orders given.
That said; the language was highly appropriate 1) considering that these were not orders per say, and 2) given the nature of the "orders". Despite the nearly six pages of text written out meticulously by hand, the letter's message was quite simple and best summed up by the first lime; I, Jaqui Remmington - duly elected President of the Independent Free-Trade port of Helium City - do cordially invite you and your officers to attend a celebratory gathering in honor of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement.
"Great" Adrianna said with a sigh; just what they needed, a delay in their plans based on formalities, pomp, and circumstance. She could hardly refuse the call; such an action would no doubt harm relations between the Empire and Helium City, and given the nature of their trade agreements this would be unacceptable. Of course, in accepting, the free-trade city would be well within its rights to ignore sending an invitation to the Imperial Embassy, souring the relations between The Invincible and the Embassy more then was already expected. If they had only departed a few days later, it could have been avoided entirely, but such wishes were as pointless as they were achievable. No one could turn back the clock.
As she began to write out her reply to the letter - the three word answer being "yes w're coming - in similarly verbose language, she recalled the other words of the new crewmate, and chose to address her first. "Thank you. Ms. Heatherington-Portnoy, and welcome aboard. Tell me; what experience do you have aboard Imperial Frigates?" she asked the woman who had delivered the letter after shaking her hand. With any luck she would either make a good Engineer or Quartermaster.
Or crewman in general she supposed. They needed many of those.
"Yes, ma'am." She saluted, even though she had just curtsied as well, it was best to show that you were obedient and followed the rules. She'd rather have the admiral thinking she was too formal, than something else. "I have worked for years on different frigates, mainly as a quartermaster. I did not stay too long on any of them though, but in my service to the emperor I was honoured with the silver star." She pointed to it on her dress.
"I am fine with doing any lower position too, of course. As much as I have enjoyed staying as a guest of president Remmington, I miss the skies and feel like I am neglecting my duties as a member of the IAN."
She looked around the deck after she was finished speaking, and noticed that it needed to be repaired. Not something she knew how to do, but interesting, since they must have run into a battle between Desolation and Helium.
"I would like to put my bag somewhere, if you do not mind."
She had found the neobeduin woman, after finally convincing herself too leave the drinking until later. The woman, who was rather large and tattooed, was indeed interested in buying ships. She didn't want to explain why, but proved that she had plenty of treasure to buy it with after bringing Beth to her camp. They were a fairly large tribe, and it reminded her of her old days.
The woman was apparently their leader, and she couldn't help but wondering why the woman seemed familiar to her. She told Beth that her name was Jennifer Rose, she recognized the last name, but then again, they were all named after flower so it wouldn't surprise her if she had known someone else with the same name. Either way, she didn't ask about it and agreed to show her the ship, which was in decent condition considering the damage it had taken in the battle.
They headed towards the tower together.
"...mainly as a quartermaster..."
At those words, Adrianna breathed a sigh of relief. Just what she needed most. It also meant the Engineer had yet to arrive, which meant they only needed to requisition standard crew detail; much less paper work and much less difficult to find.
She allowed Ms. Heatherington-Portnoy to finish; she appeared to be more formal then her other officers, which could only help. Well, more formal then everyone but Annis, which might be a good thing in and of itself.
"Very good Ms. Heatherington-Portnoy. We're in need of a new Quartermaster. I expect you to fill the duty to your utmost ability. In the mean time; you may place your bag within the officer quarters below deck. I expect you to report to duty tomorrow at first light. I will have the supply log delivered to you shortly; see to it that your familiar with the location of all supplies and ensure that all supplies are filled before we leave tomorr-" she said, before remembering the party, then continued "-rather, in a few days. The ship's doctor and my bodyguard are currently gathering supplies in the city; I will have them report to you upon their return." she said, handing the woman the list of supplies Vasco and Garrett were gathering.
Returning the salute she finished her opening statements. "If you have any questions; please aske them now. Otherwise; you are dismissed."
"Greetings, sir. My and my associates would like to make some purchases."
At the sound, and old man came out from the back of the shop. His head was covered by an odd metal cap, and his eyes by red goggles. He had what appeared to be a shipwright's saw in his hands, currently being used as a cane. "What'cha need so damned early!" he shouted as he entered and approached the counter. As he noticed the Imperial Navy uniforms, he seemed to sigh deeply as though from annoyance and bother. "And what can I be doi'n for some fine Imperial sailors such as yer'selves." he said, the emphasis on the word fine showing his disdain for the imperials.
She moved through the crowd with speed, passing by shops with the grace of a person born on either the streets or the ships. Considering she'd never been much of a city girl, the later was far more accurate. She slipped through crowds of sailors visiting or staying in the city. Eventually, she found herself passing through the markets; the closest place to the docks, and the last stop before she reached the Invincible and her next assignment. All she could do was smile.
She took a brief detour past the shipwrights, and into a tavern to closer her tab - never leave a city without closing a tab unless you don't plan on drinking in that city again. As she made her way through to the bar, she could not help but overhear the sounds of pirate recruitment. "That's right. I'm the First Mate of the Mermaid. Cap'n Beth, a misbegotten like me, is looking for strong hands and good fighters. We're taking a trip north-east, so it's best you don't mind cold. Interested?" a one armed woman said, a rather... intense look on her face. She ignored her; pirates weren't really her concern at all; despite the hostility they no doubt meant toward her and the Imperial uniform she wore. She had much more important concerns; much more interesting concerns.
She whistled to get the bartender's attention. At first the man displayed some confusion, but this faded quickly enough. She tossed him a handful of coins (enough to pay her debts in full, and a little extra for the trouble). She then made to leave, hoping not to draw the ire of the pirate hoard who had decided to commandeer the tavern.
"Commandeer a tavern... how very pirate like" she thought with a smile.
As the conversation carried on behind him, Garrett was busy looking out of the plate glass window onto the city streets for any signs of trouble, or possibly something to occupy his time after their supply run was over; when suddenly a young woman walked by that looked oddly familiar, she looked like the woman that appeared in his dream the other day.
"Impossible... it can't be. Could that of been her?" Garrett asked himself as he rubbed his eyes in disbelief. But when he looked back at the crowded seen, the woman had vanished like a ghost in the night. He looked confused by what just happened, but the feeling passed soon after.
"Must of been a trick of the light or something." Garrett told himself, dismissing the occurrence as nothing more than a mere coincidence. He soon turned to the old man who wore a metal cap come out from a room behind the counter, and sighed as he saw the sight of the Imperial uniforms that a majority of the part wore. Garrett recognised the voice almost immediately as none other than Silas Rainecroft.
"And what can I be doi'n for some fine Imperial sailors such as yer'selves." Silas said, placing emphasis one the word fine, to show his disdain for the Empire. Garrett chuckled for a moment, remembering the crotchety nature of the Skyfolk ship builder from the last time the two had met some years ago. He soon stood up from the small ledge he had perched himself on earlier, and walked up to the counter
"Silas Rainecroft, long time no see, how is the business holding up?" Garrett asked politely, before carrying on.
"The reason for us being here, is that a few days ago, we had a run in with what the Empire would call 'Less than savoury individuals', and the commander of the ship that myself and these other gentleman are apart of, thought it was high time that we inquired to some upgrades. In fact, one of the senior officers recommended you, though she did sound like that she hated to admit it. Can't see the problem myself, after all you are one of the best ship builders this city has."
"Silas Rainecroft, long time no see, how is the business holding up?"
At the words, the old man looked up at the strange Imperial. He squinted and turned his head to the side, trying to make out who he was and, more importantly, why he was acting so familiar. While he was still trying to identify the strange man, said strange man continued to speak. "The reason for us being here, is that a few days ago, we had a run in with what the Empire..." Silas tuned him out for the most part, only catching the important bits about upgrades to an imperial ship which was hardly a shock; it wasn't like they were going to be visiting to buy damned muffins - he was a shipwright. Instead he tried to recognize the strange man.
"...Can't see the problem myself, after all you are one of the best ship builders this city has." the man finished. "lousy brown nosing Imperial sc-" Silas started to think, before his memory final came back to him. His name was Corvus. "Well, that changes everything. he thought, a wide smirk on the mans face.
"Well well, if it ain't Garrett Corvus. And here I'd thought someone had gone done the world the good service a finally getting rid of ya, you good for nothin Merc." he said with a half smirk. There was something fun to be gained for being an angry old man all the time; you got to be an angry old man at everyone, all the time. Slowly, Silas worked his way around the table toward Garrett, leaning on his make-shift cane a great deal more then he had the last time he'd met Garrett. "Instead it done looks like you went Imperial on me; for some damned good booty I'd wager. How much they payin these days for a guy who only knows how ta swing a sword and shoot straight on land?" As he said this, he reached Garrett and stared at him with his stern, unwavering gaze for a few moments longer.
And then he smiled broadly, pulling Garrett down to his now diminished height "Welcome back boy, I dare say its been two years since I seen ya walk into this here shop-a-mine; do you know how many damned smug-Imperials and sleezy Air-Pirate bastards I've had ta take work from since ya was last in here? Far too many!" he said, between laughs. It was rare in is line of work to see a face more then once and less likely at his age. To see a face - no matter how different or distantly connected - that he recognized was a rare pleasure indeed, and one he was not about to let pass. "Now what's with the Imperial getups? ya thought you could pull a prank on ol'Silas did ya? Thought I was goin senile in my old age was ya? Well ya aint gonna fool me boy; no sir." he said shaking his head. "Though I'll admit, yurself excluded acourse, the lot a ya make some pretty convincing Imps." he said gesturing toward Vasco and the rest of the crew.
"The buttons look wrong though; might want to have them looked at if yur lookin ta pass as Imps in the future." he added as an aside, merely enjoying the his rights as an old man to be as crotchety, angry, and over-all mean as possible to their full extent.
"Well well, if it ain't Garrett Corvus. And here I'd thought someone had gone done the world the good service a finally getting rid of ya, you good for nothin Merc." Silas remarked with a definite half smirk. The old man soon made his way around the table towards Garrett, leaning on his makeshift cane, a great deal more than the last time the two of them had met.
"Instead it done looks like you went Imperial on me; for some damned good booty I'd wager. How much they payin these days for a guy who only knows how ta swing a sword and shoot straight on land?" Silas then smiled broadly, pulling Garrett down to his now diminished. "Welcome back boy, I dare say its been two years since I seen ya walk into this here shop-a-mine; do you know how many damned smug-Imperials and sleazy Air-Pirate bastards I've had ta take work from since ya was last in here? Far too many!" He then added between laughs. Garrett smiled as this comment, taking a slight joy from it.
"Now what's with the Imperial getups? ya thought you could pull a prank on ol'Silas did ya? Thought I was goin senile in my old age was ya? Well ya ain't gonna fool me boy; no sir." Silas said shaking his head. "Though I'll admit, yurself excluded acourse, the lot a ya make some pretty convincing Imps." He then added, gesturing toward Vasco and the rest of the crew.
"The buttons look wrong though; might want to have them looked at if yur lookin ta pass as Imps in the future."
"I guess your right Silas in saying they could use a little work, but these fine gentlemen are genuine Imperials, under the service of Rear Admiral Lanestar herself, aboard the Invincible." Garrett remarked, somewhat agreeing with the ageing ship builder, showing his own dislike for the Empire. He then returned to an earlier comment made.
"Besides, you know well enough that it would take more than a handful of pirates to finally put me down and out; or at least down enough to warrant my retirement. Hopefully when this recent job is over, I'll have enough money to retire comfortably. I'm surprised Silas that you haven't thought about looking for an apprentice to succeed you, then again they wouldn't have that same level of skill that you possess. At least you have been kept busy over these past few years." Garrett said with a smirk and a smile, thinking about the future plans he had with Adriana, if both of them managed to stay alive for the remainder of this mission.
"So, care to know what aboard the Invincible needs your expert skills?"
"No, no, no! Stop, you fucking idiot!"
Jason ran over to the offending crewman, who was handling a banding saw in a most reckless fashion - moving its stroke towards the hand that held down the beam he was assigned to cut. If he continued, the moron would no doubt lop his own damn hand off - and he'd rather not drag out Sam to treat such a stupid injury. Beth's goons knew how to shoot a pistol or throw a punch, but airship engineers they where not. "If you keep using your saw like that, I'm going to make sure Sam knows to let you bleed out. Maybe your corpse will serve as a reminder to the rest of the crew to treat these tools with respect, eh?"
The crewman sneered at Jason, indignant at being scolded, but acquiesced, continuing his work with Jason's warning in mind. Jason sighed and took another look at the clipboard in his hands - though they had the materials and equipment they needed to repair the Mermaid, the lack of technical skill on the crew was hindering their progress. Some of the men lost in the recent battle where some of their better craftsmen, he'd been told. By his initial estimate, the repairs would only take a couple of days, but at this rate they'd need until the end of the week.
'Dammit. I'm going to be bogged down here until we cast off, aren't I?' Feeling a tap on his shoulder, Jason turned around to see his subordinates Jake and Fry. "Make it quick. We've got work to do."
Jake shuffled his feet and looked away, his expression betraying his usual lack of confidence. "That... that's what we wanted to talk to you about, sir. We can handle the repairs - the damage is nothing structural."
Fry chimed in, his tone arrogant as usual. "Yea, we can handle this job easy. Don't you need to play Frankenstein with Sheska's arm or something?"
Jason was taken aback at this reaction from his underlings. Jake was usually too timid to take on additional responsibilities, while Fry was just lazy. No doubt Fry put Jake up to this - he'd always complained he didn't get to do any interesting work. But, well, his mother taught him not to look a gift eagle in the beak...
"Fine. If you boys want the riveting opportunity to babysit these slack-jawed gorillas, I'm not gonna stop you." He gathered up his tools and left the ship. Before he left the dock, he turned back to yell, "If Sheska or Beth ask where I went, just tell them I'll be back by sunset. Try to keep this ship in one piece while I'm gone!"
With that, Jason joined the crowd heading into the city proper. He knew just the guy to get his work done, but first, he had a date with a new pack of cigarettes...
She took the list of supplies, in her free hand and curtsied for a second time. "I do not have any further questions, thank you. I will go find my room." While she might get lost, she needed to familiarize herself with the ship as soon as possible. She doubted that the layout was much different from the other frigates she had been working on, but you never knew.
Wilhelmena left Adrianna and headed down below deck, to find a room for herself. Hopefully she would get her own room. It would be problematic, to say the least, if she didn't. She'd gotten a room before.
When she reached a room she believed to be empty, she unpacked her belongings and clothes from her bag. She did leave the axe, which had a white cloth around it, in the bag and pushed it under the bed. Questions would arise if they found it, but she had plenty of good answers to give.
She checked the pocket watch again, scratched her neck, and then began going over the list.
Beth had brought Jennifer to the ship, where the Neobeduin had requested to do a thorough inspection of the vessel, before acquiring it. She was standing on deck, while the taller woman had gone below. She checked her pocket watch. It had been almost an hour since that had happened, and no sign or sound of the woman since.
Maybe she shouldn't have let her check the ship alone to begin with, but her time with the neobeduin had made it easier for her to trust them in general. She decided to follow the woman, just as she returned from below deck. She told her that the ship would do, and that she would bring her the payment later.
As she departed she told Beth that it was good seeing her again, still well and alive. The captain knew she had recognized her, but she couldn't put a place and time on when they had last met anyway. Though considering everything she had done and tried back then, it wasn't that hard to imagine why.
The captain opted to return to the mermaid, and check on how the work was progressing.
Samuel had waited while all the items on his list were gathered, it had cost him all of his cut this time but for what appeared to be at hand it would be worth it. He walked wth the crew transporting the items and tasked with loading them. They passed by a large group of Imperials and Samuel tilted his head down to hopefully avoid being seen. He would rather avoid being recognized if he can help it.
They reached The Mermaid and he ordered the crew to unload the items so that the ship would be stocked with his items for their journey. He saw Beth on the dock watching how work was progressing.
"Hello again captain, I have returned without a penny but with plenty of goods to make up for it." He said with a smile as he oversaw the movement of the items. He wanted to make sure nothing was crushed or broken as it was loaded. He doubted the warehouse did refunds or replacements.
Hector followed the Sulk-Hound further into the tavern until she pulled up at a table and drew out a pair of chairs, slumping down in one and before the bottle of rum had parted with her hand for a moment, picked it back up and helped herself to some more of the drink. He, a little less yobbishly, sat down next to her and did what she said, scanning the bar for Imperials while set let out a bellowing yell informing everyone of their presence and that they were recruiting. So much for subtlety, but what could ever of made him think that was her strong suit or that she could even display an ounce of it was beyond him.
For a whisper of a second he saw a petite young woman dressed in the unmistakable imperial uniform at the bar, of course it was a fleeting sight, nothing to get the Sulk-Hound riled up about, well more riled up about in the presence of two hopeful new crew mates, one tall - for normal, non-Hector standards, the other short already swearing loyalty to their new captain; he wondered if all pirates were so transitory with whom they placed their loyalties before jotting down their names on the piece of paper nestled on the clipboard.
"Mr. Ravenwood, Mr. Hawkling, is that everything?" He asked, "If so welcome, metaphorically speaking, on board"
"Who in their right mind would 'wear loy'ty to some hideous fuckin' misbegotten whore, 'specially since she's got two more of the goddamned dogs on the ship? Is the whole ship filled with em?", asked a particularly burly pirate as he staggered over, one hand on his pistol's handle and the other loosely holding a tankard.
Well so much for not riling up the Sulk-Hound, her demeanour had dropped and she looked like she could him with just a stare, he had to do something to try and cut the tension, it was a challenge, but if he was going to prove himself to the first mate then a challenge is was he needed
Trying his damnedest to stay composed in the face of the burly fellow who surprisingly wasn't all that shorter than himself and was all fat and muscle. Hector walked over as confidently as he dared and rested a hand on the man's shoulder hoping it was the right kind of gesture in this situation and pocket a few doubloons from the the man's coin purse.
"Maybe it is, but I think any pirate in their right mind wouldn't care about that and would maybe be a bit more preoccupied with how much money they might be coming back with," He flashed the doubloons in front of his face and placed them in the hand that used to be placed on the butt of a nasty looking pistol, "Of course, if it really does matter so much more to you that the ship is full of 'misbegotten whores and dogs' then are you sure you're in the right business?"
He hoped his voice didn't betray how terrified he actually was, if things did go bad Sheska would help him out, wouldn't she?
The pirate glanced over at Hector with glazed eyes as he strode over. He was far too drunk to feel the hand that went into the purse on his hip, and when Hector got close enough he leaned forward and leered. "Got somethin' to say, spider-boy?", he asked in a slur.
"Maybe it is, but I think any pirate in their right mind wouldn't care about that and would maybe be a bit more preoccupied with how much money they might be coming back with. Of course, if it really does matter so much more to you that the ship is full of 'misbegotten whores and dogs' then are you sure you're in the right business?"
As Hector said that, Sheska looked at him with some surprise, thinking that he had some balls to go up to someone who was, while shorter, technically larger than him when one took mass and muscle into account. She was even more surprised when the pirate backed down, chuckling when he was handed a few gold coins.
"Hah! I got into this for booze and gold, so you're right. Just don' like misbegotten. But thanks for buyin' my next drink.", he said before turning and making a long, unsteady beeline for the bar.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Sheska relaxed, leaned back again, and nodded to Hawkling and Ravenwood."As I was saying, you'll be required to swear loyalty to Cap'n Beth, to follow her orders and respect her command. If you try to mutiny or otherwise turn out to be a traitor, I cut open your belly with a rusty cutlass, pull out your entrails, and hang you over the side by them. And no, that's not an exaggeration.", she added coolly.
The two of them nodded, swore their loyalty, and once they did, she told them where to find the Mermaid and what the Captain looked like. Then she pointed them to another, larger table, and told them to wait there until she was finished.
The recruiting itself went rather slowly after that, with the last of them joining up about an hour later. By that time, they had gathered a respectable group of recruits, all with their own talents, backgrounds, and of course, quirks.
When they were finished, Sheska grabbed what was her second bottle of the day and downed the last of it before glancing at the clock. She had a feeling that was enough time for Beth to have gotten back to the ship. And if nothing else, she'd be heading that way herself. "Alright Hector, lets get to the Mermaid. Men, we're leaving, head to the ship!", she barked.
As they complied, she stood, and nodded to Hector himself. "By the way, good work earlier with that stupid bastard. You have balls for standing up to him, even though he looked like he could break those skinny arms of yours like twigs. Were you scared?", she asked easily, looking up at him with genuine curiosity.
"Hah! I got into this for booze and gold, so you're right. Just don' like misbegotten. But thanks for buyin' my next drink.", he said before turning and making a long, unsteady beeline for the bar.
As the inebriated man (it was a stretch to call him a gentleman) spoke those words a wave of relief washed over him. No punches were thrown, all of his arms were still intact and the man had even giving him thanks for 'buying' him a drink. However, only once the man had staggered away in his haphazard way to the bar he dared to let out a sigh; no point giving the game away when he was winning after all.
"My pleasure sir, maybe next time we'll meet under more desirable circumstances" He called back.
Hector eased his way through the crowd and back to the chairs where Sheska who looked absolutely gob smacked was waiting with the recruit. He sat down smiling to himself at how well he had done, surely this had done something to earn some respect with the Sulk-Hound. But it was best that he didn't look to full of himself, other wise he might earn her ire all over again, so he cut the smile down to a grin and went back to the boring task of writing the names of all those who lined up for service aboard the Mermaid.
"Alright Hector, lets get to the Mermaid. Men, we're leaving, head to the ship!", she barked.
His long limbs had gone stiff from sitting down so long, he stretched and got up, some remnants of pins and needled still bothered him, but he would easily walk them off on the way to the ship.
"By the way, good work earlier with that stupid bastard. You have balls for standing up to him, even though he looked like he could break those skinny arms of yours like twigs. Were you scared?"
Now was not the time for brash confidence, that is, if he wanted to continue earning points. He dropped the vaudevillian act and for once he was dead serious, "Terrified"
She quirked a brow at his response, which consisted of a single, sincere word.
She slowly smiled, but only slightly, and nodded in approval. "So you have balls, and some brains. You may just make a place for yourself on the Mermaid yet. Remember Hector, there isn't anything wrong with fear, so long as you don't let it get in your way. Lack of fear, is stupidity. Pushing past fear, takes guts.", she told him, reaching up and patting his side encouragingly.
She would have patted a shoulder, but the fact that he towered over her made that a tough proposition.
Before she turned to leave, she took the sheet of paper from him and folded it, tucking it into her coin purse and making sure that it was secure. Then she motioned for Hector to follow and promptly led the way out of the tavern and made a path through the crowds with the new recruits in tow, heading for the Chase Tower and The Mermaid.
Thankfully, the trip itself wasn't long, especially with Sheska leading with her bad temperament and best snarl, which parted the way for the most part. It was when they got to the legion of stairs that it meant next to nothing.
By the time they reached the top, what alcohol she had had in her system felt like it had burned off, leaving her uncomfortably sober as she stepped onto the ship itself. "Cap'n Beth, I'm here with the recruits, as well as the roster listing them.", she said, stepping up to her and reaching into her coin purse.
Once she handed her the sheet, she looked at her more seriously and spoke in more hushed tones. "And I need to talk to you. Privately.", she said, clearly uneasy.
"I guess your right Silas in saying they could use a little work, but these fine gentlemen are genuine Imperials, under the service of Rear Admiral Lanestar herself, aboard the Invincible. Besides, you know well enough that it would take more than a handful of pirates to finally put me down and out; or at least down enough to warrant my retirement. Hopefully when this recent job is over, I'll have enough money to retire comfortably." Garrett said, to which Silas could only raise an eyebrow.
"How in the hell did them Imps manage to make you jump ships?" he said after a while, more then a little confused. "I always had you pegged for the adventurer type, not a simple Merc to the highest bidder like the Empire hires. And now you're talkin bout retiring; I don't think I right believe it." he finished shaking his head. It was a true mystery to him.
"I'm surprised Silas that you haven't thought about looking for an apprentice to succeed you, then again they wouldn't have that same level of skill that you possess. At least you have been kept busy over these past few years." Garrett continued, shifting the conversation back to him. "Psh. Like there's a shipwright in all Helium I could trust to take over for me. All the good ones left to start there own wrights in the Skycities and the Empire; got tired of waiting for me to die no doubt." he said with a smile. Truth be told, he was glad they all left; starting their own wrights. He was going to see to it that the shop he started ended with him.
"So, care to know what aboard the Invincible needs your expert skills?" Garrett concluded. Silas smirked. "I'm thinkin every part of it needs my expert skills, but I suppose a more... detailed look at the tub'll help pick out the priorities." he said, grabbing his old sailor's coat and a more sturdy metal bar as a cane.
"Lead the way."
Vasco went to one side, to not disturb Garrett and Silas, as the two seemed to be old friends. It was somewhat engaging looking through the debris that lingered on the shelves. Vasco wondered if this man could help him with the mask upgrade... Probably not. The man only knew of machines, to design such a life support device knowledge of both man and machine was needed. The man was right in one respect though. Breaking his silence, Vasco muttered, "Yes; it would be best to see the patient and diagnose it." After that, he began to walk alongside Silas. The envelope containing the letter of credit sat in one of the pockets in Dr. Roque's coat. He found himself routinely checking that the envelope was still there. Vasco was justified though, in such a big city, pickpockets were common.
"How in the hell did them Imps manage to make you jump ships?" Silas said after a while, more confused, and possibly even a little concerned beneath his crotchety exterior. "I always had you pegged for the adventurer type, not a simple Merc to the highest bidder like the Empire hires. And now you're talkin bout retiring; I don't think I right believe it."
"To answer your first question Silas, there is a personal reason behind it; maybe once this little job is over I'll tell you all about it over a drink. And to answer your second, I haven't fully decided on retiring yet, no doubt I shall be adventuring and exploring for the rest of my life, retiring is merely a thought at the moment; nothing to worry about."
"Psh. Like there's a shipwright in all Helium I could trust to take over for me. All the good ones left to start their own wrights in the Skycities and the Empire; got tired of waiting for me to die no doubt." Silas said with a smile. This caused Garrett to chuckle, agreeing with the old man .
"Well, they don't know what they are missing Silas."
"I'm thinkin every part of it needs my expert skills, but I suppose a more... detailed look at the tub'll help pick out the priorities." Whilst he said this, Silas was busy grabbing his old sailor's coat and a more sturdier piece of metal bar to act as a cane. " Lead the way."
"Yes; it would be best to see the patient and diagnose it." Vasco remarked, breaking his silence as they left the shipwrights with guards in tow. As they walked, he was seen constantly searching the pocket of his coat where the letter of credit lay.
"To answer your first question Silas, there is a personal reason behind it; maybe once this little job is over I'll tell you all about it over a drink. And to answer your second, I haven't fully decided on retiring yet, no doubt I shall be adventuring and exploring for the rest of my life, retiring is merely a thought at the moment; nothing to worry about." Garrett said, in answer to his question. Silas shrugged; he was interested and all, but he was wise enough to know when not to ask. "I'll be hold'n you ta that drink now a'course"
"Yes; it would be best to see the patient and diagnose it."
Silas turned to the Imperial and nodded "That'd be a fine way ta put it. So, where be this ship a yours?" he asked, more then a little curious. It was fun and all to speak with people he'd met before, but he couldn't forget there was work to do, and this was his business. "And any idea what you'll be want'n from me an my wrights?" he asked as he locked the door to his shop and followed the Imperials into the streets.
The feeling of the thin envelope was a comforting one, and Vasco nursed it, stroking it between his fingers. Until he realised that he might be attracting pickpockets and cutpurses to his person, that is. The hand fell limp in the pocket, just a barricade between any prying fingers that might seek the contents of the pocket. It looked like the two old friends had finished catching up and the conversation turned to the business at hand - namely upgrading the Invincible.
Vasco returned the nod from the old engineer and with the question of what was to be done, drew out the small piece of paper where the list was written on. With a quick study of the list, Dr. Roque replied to Silas's questions and compliment, "Thank you sir; I believe the ship is at the usual place - the airdocks. As for what we want from you and your wrights - no - what is needed. The damage from a recent skirmish against Sky Pirates needs to be repaired and we have need of a faster engine."
The doc returned. "Hello again captain, I have returned without a penny but with plenty of goods to make up for it."
She nodded, and watched them load the cargo onto the ship. "That's good. We'll still need to wait for the payment for the skyfolk ship, but after that it should be well possible to upgrade, and most of all get on with our journey."
Shortly afterwards, Sheska returned with some new recruits and gave her the roster. She acted strangely, and Beth had no idea why. "And I need to talk to you. Privately."
She gave the list a quick glance, before gesturing for Farthing to come over and take it from her. Once he had done that, she turned back to Sheska. "Very well. I have a moment, while I wait for Jennifer with the payment for our ship and I could use a drink."
Beth headed for the stairs, to get back down and find a tavern. "I hope you bought plenty of rum, Doc!" She shouted and wondered if she would even want to walk back up today. She could always find another place to sleep. They didn't get far, before a younger boy stopped in front of them. He eyed her from head to toe. "Are you the captain of the mermaid, miss?"
She nodded, trying to remain inconspicuous. He handed her a white envelope, and she gave him a few coins, before he bowed and rushed off again. Beth's curiosity was hard to contain, and she figured she was relatively safe skimming the letter with Sheska by her side. The letter spoke of the party, which would be held in the city in honour of the tripartite agreement. It said that she should make sure to be there, as anyone was welcome and it could be of importance to her.
It was uncertain who had sent her the messenger, and the only clue was the initials BR. Though she could hardly believe that, even if she had wanted too.
"Right." She pocketed the letter, and figured they may as well show up. Hopefully there'd be plenty of booze, music and people. "Let's get going somewhere we can talk and drink."
Sheska waited patiently as Beth looked the list over then handed it to Farthing to take over for them both. As she did, however, Sheska could feel her nerves fraying, but she absolutely refused to show it on her face. When she turned back to her, she nodded.
"Very well. I have a moment, while I wait for Jennifer with the payment for our ship and I could use a drink.".
"I could too. I'd much rather be drunk for this anyway.", she added under her breath.
She was curious as to who Jennifer was, but she wasn't going to ask about that just now. She had something that she considered more important on her mind as it was. Of course, it didn't help that, inside, she was more off-balance than ever when it came to whatever was between her and Beth.
As they started their way back down the stairs, a small boy ran up on them, and instinctively, Sheska's hand reached for her cutlass. She relaxed when she saw the boy pull out a letter, handed it to the Captain, then ran off once he was paid for his trouble.
She quirked an eyebrow and was tempted to glance at the letter as Beth looked it over, but felt that now was not the time to test what trust they had. So instead, she scanned the people that they passed, keeping an eye out for more Imps like the ones she saw earlier.
"Right. Let's get going somewhere we can talk and drink.".
"Right with you, Cap'n. Hopefully it's someplace without Imps. I spotted some earlier today in the markets.", she told her, glancing over with intense eyes before she continued, "And I can feel it in my gut. They were from the Invincible. They're here.".
Beth and Sheska
"Of course they are here. Where the hell do you think they were going with that course? And after what we did to them, they'd not have many other options to go for repairs if they want to have them done soon." She said, as she lead the way towards another tavern and entered it.
"Not only that, but they know that we're here too. After what they did to us, killing Jessie, taking my arm, and damaging our ship? I hope we get a chance to pay them back for it.", Sheska told her as she followed Beth in, feeling a little better thinking about bloodshed than the impending conversation.
Beth shrugged, her hatred was not for a particular ship or crew belonging to the empire. It was easier to hate what they represented and not think about those who might come for revenge, or try to get revenge yourself. Pirates died all the time, in one way or another.
She took a seat at a table that was placed in a fairly secluded part of the room.
"What was it you wanted to talk about?" She thought about ordering a drink, but figured it was better to wait until Sheska had gotten a chance to speak.
As the Captain strode to a lonely corner of the tavern and picked out a table, Sheska could feel a pit forming in her gut as she sat herself. But she ignored that as she spoke up. "Yea, about us, and the last time you were on The Mermaid. Now look, I can understand if you aren't sure about starting something between us, but I can't stand these fucking mixed signals. The night before we raided that Skyfolk ship, you seduce me, and the next morning you not only tell me to get lost when I try to help with your hangover, but have me dragged off when I do my job?", she said, her tone deceptively level for all of the nerves she could feel.
"Regardless of what we are to one another, I think I deserve more respect than that as your First Mate, damnit.", she told her.
Beth gestured for the bartender to bring her something to drink. "Aye, tis probably for the best if it goes back to how it was before. No offence, but you're hardly the first one I've done something similar with. The main difference is that you are my subordinate and it's probably better if we don't continue this, if we're going to work together."
She would have pointed out how Sheska's lack of discretion was what had made her think so. Beth didn't remember seducing her, but she wasn't exactly surprised by her claim that she had done so. It wouldn't be the first time, but she was a free bird, and didn't feel that comfortable starting a relationship with anyone.
"I hope you don't mind, and if you want the respect you deserve you're better off without this problem I have caused for you. Which should be easy enough if we go back to how it used to be, right?"
Sheska stared at her blankly for a long moment, then closed her eyes and sighed heavily. "Well shit. I was afraid you'd say that, Cap'n.", she said softly.
When the drinks came by, Sheska merely snatched up the bottle and took a long draught before setting it down in front of Beth. "Not so easy as you think, Cap'n. Hate to admit it, but I've been having wet dreams about you occasionally, and part of me was hoping we could somehow... Make this work.", she told her.
"But, if thats the way you want it... I'll do all I can to keep it from getting in the way.", she said firmly, nodding once.
Beth raised an eyebrow when she made her confession. "Oh really? Do you think you are the only on the ship that has had that? I doubt it." She reached for the bottle and drank from it as well. "I am a woman in charge of a pirate crew. Anyone would be stupid to think they are different because of whatever dreams they have of their captains, and someone with my sex in my position is likely to get double as much as attention as anyone else."
She drank from the bottle again, regretting ever getting so drunk that she had seduced one in her crew, regardless of what she thought of the person. "I'll stand by my opinion that we forget this. I hope you can find someone else. I don't think that the rest of the crew are that opposed to the thought."
Sheska nodded again, then took the bottle from her and took another, more reasonable sip. When she set it back down, she frowned a little. "Just... Before we put it away, tell me truthfully: Do, or did, you have any romantic feelings for me at all?", she asked hesitantly.
"I have had romantic feelings for a lot of people, First Mate." She said, trying to remain objective and professional. While in truth she did care for Sheska, as the woman cared for her. However, for now she thought that it was better they remained as they had been before. She did realize it might be hard, no matter what happened and who knew what the future might bring. "Was that all?"
Her expression turned bland as she saw through the Captains response as a cop-out. "Ah. I see.", she said flatly, but she accepted it, for now.
She turned her chair a little bit so she could still face Beth, but could also look out across the rest of the tavern too. "Just one last thing. I stand by what I said when we started this little trip: I'll do all I can to keep you alive and fighting, regardless. You're my Captain, and I'll always be your loyal First Mate.", she said formally, but there was a small edge of bitterness in her tone.
Then she looked at her squarely and jerked her head to where she tucked the letter she had gotten away. "Now, about that letter. What was it about?", she inquired.
"We've been invited to a party, and since we've got time while the repairs are being made on the ship we may as well attend." She said, though seemingly negative to the idea. "I think it could be interesting, at the very least."
Sheska didn't bother to hold back her grimace. "Well shit, do I have to wear a fancy dress or something to this shindig?", she asked.
Shaking her head, she took another deep drink of rum before letting out a rather explosive breath. "I don't know about you, but I prefer the security of pants. Anyway, if you're going, I am too. Who else would watch your back?", she said with a small smile, before noticing that the bottle was empty after her last draught.
With a shrug she stood up, then motioned to the exit. "May as well head back to The Mermaid.", the Skulk-Hound told her.
Beth did not want to walk those fucking stairs again, but what choice did she have? She needed to be back sooner or later, and sleeping in her own cabin wouldn't cost her anything.
They got up, and she payed for their alcohol, before they began the trudge back to the mermaid. When she finally got there, Farthing told her that a neobeduin had stopped by and left the payment for the ship. It was a considerable amount and she was glad to hear that. Now they just needed some sleep and to have Jason perform any upgrades he wanted.
"...As for what we want from you and your wrights - no - what is needed. The damage from a recent skirmish against Sky Pirates needs to be repaired and we have need of a faster engine."
Silas stopped in his tracks at the words. Were they really Imperials? The stuck-up, self-righteous Imperials wanted to put a non-Imperial engine into an Imperial vessel and had hired a sky-folk merc. He didn't know what the Imperial higher-ups had decided to start smoking, but he sure didn't want any.
Shaking his head free of the thoughts, he stepped forward and and replied to the comment. "We'll, them repairs shouldn't be too hard if you managed to make it into Helium City, but a faster engine for an Imperial Frigate is a custom job. It could take a few days to get the parts and build it. It's also not cheap - custom parts and all." he siad, as he moved through the streets - now in view of the docks.
"I'll need to speak with your engineer as well I suppose."
Ciel had made it to the ship without much difficulty. The admiral had questioned her for a few minutes; the hard stare from said admiral's eyes reminded her of her mother's: frightening.
In any event, she had been directed below and toward the officer's cabins. She didn't have much time; the admiral had ordered her to begin assessing the damage to the ship immediately; a task she was more then up to. Not to blow her own whistle, but if there was anything she could handle, it was Imp-tech. She just needed to throw her more useless possessions in her cabin before she started.
As she entered the area, she noted a woman reading a list of some sort in one of the cabins; apparently an off-duty officer. Seeing no reason to be impolite, she put down her bag by the door then leaned on the door's post. She knocked on the door, a toothy smile on her face, and said "Excuse me; you one of the officers aboard this here ship?"
Having just dismissed the new engineer to her cabin, Adrianna returned to the matter of the letter. She - and her officers - had been invited to a gathering - one from which they could not escape. With a sigh She began listing the people sure to attend.
Adrianna Lanester - Rear-Admiral
Exeter St. John - Officer First Class
Anastasia Baker-Cromwell - Officer First Class
Vasco Roque - Doctor of Medicine, Medical Officer
Wilhelmena Heatherington-Portnoy - Master of Quarters
Ciel Kriebel - Officer Second Class, Spec. Eng.
She scribbled down a few other names to the sheet - mostly minor officers from the embassy or protection officials. She stared at her handy work for a few minutes before bringing her pen to the top. It hovered above the end of her name for several minutes as she mentally debated whether to add a "+1" to the end or just list Garrett at the end. She wanted to, but the idea seemed to beg for problems to occur. After several seconds more thought, she finally brought her hand to the bottom adding
Garrett Corvus - Rear-Admiral Protection
She signed the document, folded it neatly, and placed her wax seal upon the fold. Placing the while parchment into an envelope, she placed another seal and called for a runner to take it to the Presidential office.
Now she just had every other piece of paperwork to do...
Sheska used the time that the long trudge back up the stairs took to reflect on the conversation she had with Captain Beth. Really, in some ways, it went better than she expected, but it didn't go nearly as well as she had hoped. But, she had a feeling that the Captains answer wasn't so much an adamant 'No.', as a 'Not yet.'. While it crushed most of her hopes for a relationship between the two of them, it was better than nothing, and she supposed she may as well cling to that for what it was worth.
As she stepped onto the ship, however, she just felt lonely, and she wished Izzy was around somewhere. For the moment, though, he seemed to be elsewhere. So, she settled for going below-deck and stepping into Sam's cabin, firstly for friendly company, secondly for painkillers, and lastly, to find out where he had the rum put in the hold.
Opening the door, she knocked on the door frame once she stepped in. "Hey, Sam, you in here? I could use some morphine if you are, my... Shoulder is giving me trouble again.", she said, finding the burning ache where her left arm used to be becoming harder and harder to simply ignore.
Sam looked up from the list he had been checking off when Sheska came in complaining of pain in her shoulder.
"Hmm, oh yes, it does seem to be around the time that the morphine might have worn off a bit. Please have a seat." Samuel said as he got up and grabbed a small box that contained a clean syringe and a small bottle of the painkiller. He filled the syringe with the proper amount of morphine. He turned around and she was sitting as instructed. He carefully stuck the syringe in and injected the site.
"There, that should be enough. Hopefully everything can be set up for the surgery in short order. I'm merely waiting on the replacement arm. So how is our newest recruit performing?" He asked to make a bit of conversation as he waited for the drug to kick in and find out if the morphine would be enough to dull the pain.
She closed the door behind her when she spotted Sam at his desk, looking up from some kind of list.
"Hmm, oh yes, it does seem to be around the time that the morphine might have worn off a bit. Please have a seat.".
"Right.", she said simply, striding over and sitting down on the nearest vacant chair.
As soon as she was seated, she leaned back and closed her eyes, trying to relax as best as she could. Even then, she couldn't stop the slight flinch when Sam injected her, but the fact that the effects of the morphine were noticeable soon after helped.
"There, that should be enough. Hopefully everything can be set up for the surgery in short order. I'm merely waiting on the replacement arm. So how is our newest recruit performing?".
She huffed, then opened her eyes to look at him blandly. "He has a long way to go. But he has some spine, I'll give him that. So, he might just make it. Hell if I know what he would be good for on the ship, but with six hands, I'm sure we can find a place for him, assuming he lasts long enough.", she told him, before reaching over and rubbing her wound.
"Hey, I was wondering, you have anything that might keep me from sleeping?", she asked as casually as she could.
Out of all the people on the ship, she really didn't want Sam to know about her suffering from nightmares, or her other dreams concerning Beth. The fact that Beth herself knew now about the dreams she had about her was bad enough, but if she told Sam, she had a feeling that his sense of duty would make him take it straight to the Captain, and she couldn't stand that. If Beth knew about her nightmares, that would only make her look weaker.
"We'll, them repairs shouldn't be too hard if you managed to make it into Helium City, but a faster engine for an Imperial Frigate is a custom job. It could take a few days to get the parts and build it. It's also not cheap - custom parts and all." Silas remarked as the company moved through the streets, but with the docks in clear sight.
"I'll need to speak with your engineer as well I suppose."
"Indeed, I believed we were scheduled to recruit a new engineer during our stay in Helium." Garrett remarked as they arrived near the base of the docks. He looked around and saw that a courier had passed by him in a flash, and that the crew were talking amongst themselves for most of the duration of the walk.
"Right, you lot stay here, myself and the doctor shouldn't be too long. Once we've gotten Silas talking with the engineer, who I hope has arrived, we'll be heading back out to continue with the supply run. Don't go causing a mess okay." Garrett said as the men took a slightly relaxed posed. After they were done, Garrett, Silas and Vasco continued into the docks.
'That's the stuff.'
Jason drew in a deep breath of smoke, savoring its taste. He'd been without any nicotine for two days and he was starting to feel on edge - or at least, more on edge than normal, given his line of work. But that stress melted away as he felt the familiar rush of tobacco smoke filling his lungs. The vendor he bought from was even kind enough to sell him several packs at a premium, so he wouldn't be going without for a while.
He kicked back against a post supporting an awning overhead and let out his breath, seeing the smoke come out in a thick burst. He really had been working too hard lately - he couldn't even remember the last time he'd just let himself take a few minutes to himself to smoke and forget his troubles, let alone have a proper vacation. When you're a Skyfolk without a city, you'll work for whatever ship will take you, and most pirates aren't known for letting their crew, particularly skilled labor like Jason, lounge about at will. 'I should do this more often. I swear, between keeping the ship from falling apart and whatever wild goose chase Beth has us on this time, I'll be dead of stress well before anything else...'
He cast his vision about the entrance to the bazaar, letting his mind wander with it. He'd always liked Helium City, truth be told. It was as close to a Sky City as one could get while still being in regular contact with traders from neobedouin caravans and Imperial convoys, so if you had the money, ingenuity, and drive, you could get just about anything you wanted. More importantly, you could do so without people asking too many questions, which was important when your intentions are less than legal.
"I'll need to speak with your engineer as well I suppose."
Jason visibly perked, his head snapping in the direction of the familiar voice. The crowd was loud and shifting, but that was definitely Silas. 'How fortunate. It seems I caught him on one of his...' Jason's thoughts trailed off as he picked Silas out of the crowd and saw his company. A group of sodding Imps, escorting him to the docks. They didn't seem to be using force, so that meant Silas must be agreeing to go with them of his own free will - odd, considering he hated Imperials just as much as the next Skyfolk.
'Hmph. They must be paying well this time around.' Jason didn't have any time to lose - borrowing Silas's equipment was his number one priority for the day, and he had no idea how long the Empire would keep him tied up. He shuddered a bit at the idea that he'd have to be civil around a bunch of eagle-fucking Imperials, but swallowed his pride and approached the group. "Oi, Silas! Where do you think you're going, you old codger?"
Silas continued to follow the pair of Imperials onto the docks, wondering what kind of work to expect, when a voice broke his concentration. "Oi, Silas! Where do you think you're going, you old codger?" Turning, he found him staring at a much older and grimmer looking Jason Aurora - a man he had not seen in 6 years.
"Good gods; z'that Jason Aurora I see?" he said, his lips turned up into a mock smear. "What've I done to deserve this kind-a punishment." he finished, rolling his eyes at the young man. Truth be told, Silas knew the boy had talent in his craft and more then a little of Jason's hard work had polished it. But then he, Silas Rainecroft, had a reputation to uphold; that of his unbridled loathing toward all things that walked on two legs or had been made by them. In the case of Automatons, they had two reasons to be despised. But then, Silas hated all people equally so it all balanced out.
For Jason, he supposed, he should make an exception to his rule; he was one of his better customers after all. then again, no reason to ruin the fun.
"Don't be tellin me; you got a need for some'a my parts and tools for some damned foolish project a yer's." he said, knowing full well that was the only reason Jason Aurora ever entered his shop.
Or in this case, walked up to him on the street while surrounded by Imps... "I'd forgotten he'z off'is rocker."
Italics = thoughts
"Well for you to give a compliment to a raw recruit, he must be doing something right. That is one thing I know for certain." Samuel said with a laugh as he put the syringe and vial away before being asked if there was anything that could keep her from falling asleep.
"Keep you from sleeping?" He thought of the words she had chosen.
'Well there is coffee or tea with caffeine in it, but most people would know of that and would use it to help drowsiness. Not keep themselves from sleeping. In fact why would anyone choose to purposefully keep themselves from sleeping in the first place?' He then spoke.
"I can't recommend anything to inhibit sleep. What you want to do is incredibly dangerous and I cannot medically recommend it. Keeping yourself from sleeping can lead to insanity or death if you go long enough without. Not to mention even before that you will suffer from irritability, reduced reaction time, clumsiness, and a whole host of other ill effects. Why would you wish to keep yourself from sleeping in any case?" He asked, genuine concern in his voice. A patient wished to take a course of action that most people if not everyone would realize was destructive and immediately unhealthy, that was cause for great concern.
"I can't recommend anything to inhibit sleep. What you want to do is incredibly dangerous and I cannot medically recommend it. Keeping yourself from sleeping can lead to insanity or death if you go long enough without. Not to mention even before that you will suffer from irritability, reduced reaction time, clumsiness, and a whole host of other ill effects. Why would you wish to keep yourself from sleeping in any case?".
She scowled and stood, putting her hand on her hip as she glared at him. "Since when am I a fucking open book? I mean it, you, Jason, and almost everyone except for Eddie can see right through me, why is that?", she asked irritably, before shaking her head and sighing.
"I don't want to sleep. My reasons are my own. If you can't give me something that will help, I'll just avoid sleep as much as I can on my own, and damn the consequences.", she growled out, turning and starting to open his cabin door.
She stopped herself when her foot was halfway out the door, and stayed there for a good half-a-minute, debating with herself inwardly. Perhaps it was time she opened up to someone besides Izzy, or even Beth. Sam seemed to genuinely care for her, even if it was just as a patient.
With a muttered curse and a heaved sigh, she stepped back inside and closed the door softly, before sitting back down across from him and looking at him wearily.
"I'm having nightmares. Of the Misbegotten that took my arm. They feel so real, and each time, it gets worse, and they all start the same. He tears off my arm again, and then... Well, I'll let your imagination go from there. Not only that, I have dreams of the Captain.", she said quietly, just before looking away and grimacing.
"Since the Captain and I aren't together, I'd rather not have those either. Especially since they feel so goddamn real too.", she added.
"Sheska, first of all, in this case it wasn't you being an open book. It was your word choice. You said you wanted to keep yourself from sleeping, a person who has trouble staying awake complains of being tired or drowsy. I only responded to the question asked." He said calmly before sitting down and motioning for Sheska to do the same. He pulled out a couple of shot glasses and a bottle of his preferred drink, whiskey. He poured each of them a shot and held one out for her.
"As for your dreams, there is nothing I can do in the way of medicine for you. But it is understandable and normal that you have them. You experienced something very traumatic and that often leaves people with horrible dreams for some time, but trying to hide them and soldier through will not help them. Many books have ways of dealing with these traumatic moments and the mental scars they can leave. But by opening up and finding people to talk about them with the scar can heal." He drank his shot.
"Of course if your dreams are disturbing your sleep I can help with that, or if you find yourself needing a place where you can be left alone I can keep a bed open. If need be I can simply say that I need to monitor your wound or the new arm overnight. I've done convincing lies full of medical jargon for this crew and others enough times that I've gotten quite good at it." He laughed a bit at that.
"But in all seriousness Sheska I understand this is a delicate and serious matter, and I will maintain doctor patient confidentiality in this case. If you wish to describe your dreams or stress in any detail, even if it is only as sparse an outline as you gave, my door is always open and I'd be happy to help."