Aether Shanties RP (PM if interested/Started)

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-Sheska-

She grimace as he explained that avoiding them as much as possible wasn't going to help, but the fact that he was going to keep this to himself was reassuring. When he poured a shot of whiskey for them both, she took the one meant for her and downed it easily.

When she handed back the shot glass, she sighed. "I just can't stand how weak it makes me feel. Goddamnit, I thought I was through being weak when I ran away from Everglade. And now I end up nearly screaming myself awake and wondering whether I can still feel that Imp bastards hands on my throat.", she ground out, but she stopped herself there.

She wasn't comfortable opening up completely to Sam, good-natured though he was. It took her time to even open up to Izzy.

"Well, maybe when I finally kill them I'll stop having those fucking dreams.", she said thoughtfully before standing up again and looking at him with a strangely softened expression.

"Thanks, Sam. For keeping this to yourself, and understanding. If I need to, I'll come back and talk to you again.", Sheska told him.

After a nod, she turned and carefully opened his cabin door, stepped out, and closed it behind her.

As she strode down the hall to where the Captains cabin was, she paused, staring at the door. "Maybe I'm just wanting what I can't have. Like any other pirate.", she said under her breath.

When she finally looked away from the doorway, she stepped over to her little corner and slipped into her hammock, laying back and fixing her gaze on the ceiling. But she didn't sleep. She wouldn't let herself.

"Good lord Sheska, you get your arm ripped off and practically demand to go right back to work while still trying to hide these dreams and deal with it on your own and the fact you have night terrors makes you think you're weak. The rest of us are practically crying babies by that definition. Cut yourself a bit of slack Skulk-Hound, you are far stronger than most if not all of the patients I have had. Most others would have spiraled into depression and either killed themselves or gotten lost in drink in losing their dominant arm alone. The fact you soldier on and don't give up is proof enough of not just your strength but your fortitude. Having problems and needing or wanting the help of others doesn't lessen that." He said as she got ready to leave, more as a musing to himself in the beginning but becoming an attempt at getting through to her towards the end.

"If you need to I can always make time." He told her as she left. He hadn't expected a response as the door shut and he wasn't disappointed when he didn't. He turned back to his list and instead pulled out Sheska's file and made a small note that would be meaningless without proper context. It read:

Signs of trauma due to loss of arm. Long term care top priority in health management for patient.

"Unfortunately that strength of yours can make giving said proper care like getting a stubborn mule up Everest." He said with a laugh as he closed the file and put it back in the proper drawer and started going back over the inventory of items brought onto the ship. Drinking another shot as he did so.

"Don't be tellin me; you got a need for some'a my parts and tools for some damned foolish project a yer's."

Jason couldn't help but chuckle. Silas hadn't changed a bit since his last departure from Helium City six years prior - still the same ornery old man he'd come to begrudgingly respect. "Now, see, that's just rude. If I'm working on it, that means it's not a 'damned foolish project'." Jason responded with a sarcastic lit to his voice, giving his eyes an exaggerated roll to emphasize his jest. He reached into his pocket and produced some cash, neatly packed into a coinpurse. "This should cover the tools I need to borrow. Depending on my crew's recent fortune, I might even be willing to negotiate buying them outright."

He offered the old man the money, being sure to shoot a glare at the Imperial soldiers as he did so. "After you're done with... your current customers, of course."

He took the lull as an opportunity to take a closer look at the Imperials escorting Silas. One wore a ghastly Neovictorian doctor's getup - he'd have to remember to thank Sam for having the forethought to abstain from this fashion disaster - thin as a beanpole and wheezing behind a mask. The other...

Jason's face curled into a snarl as he looked him over. He almost didn't believe it, but there was no mistaking the uniform. Standing in front of him was a Skyfolk with the nerve to work for the Empire. For the enemy! Based on his looks, Jason pegged him as being from one of the northern cities, so he was probably a mercenary to have traveled so far.

'A traitor, in other words. For MONEY.'

He could feel a cold mote of anger welling up in his stomach. The familiar feeling of betrayal, loyalty shattered, of being thrown out into the streets after a heated argument...

'No. NO.' He shook off the memory. Now was NOT the time to make a scene - city guards where everywhere, waiting for an excuse to make their patrol less boring. 'A traitor like him isn't worth the effort anyway.'

A passerby in curious getup began yet another conversation with the cranky old engineer. 'Another old friend? Vasco pondered as the three continued to stroll through the streets of Helium City. From the looks of him, he was a Skyfolk. The googles, hard work boots and oil stain betrayed him as some sort of engineer, perhaps a friend or even an apprentice of Silas? For all Vasco cared, it didn't matter. Why care about a man who just glared and snarled at you and your fellow officer?

Dr. Roque just gripped the cane tighter and began walking at a faster pace. The sooner this was done with and the sooner this little encounter ended, the better. This could easily turn into an unneeded fight. He looked to Garrett, in hope that the mercenary would follow suit. Then he looked to the messy braggart and with a cold and neutral tone, Vasco said, "Excuse us." Whatever it was, it could wait. The fool hadn't even considered buying some parts along with the tools anyway.

"Listen Sir, it's not worth repairing, you'd be better off buying a new revolver," Roy said for what seemed liked the third or fourth time. Probably more. He'd lost count.

"But I thought you said you could repair anything. That you were one of the best!" the drunkard said, waving his arms in frustration. People were starting to look their way so the drunkard was probably raising his voice. How troublesome...

"Repair any gun," Roy corrected him patiently. "And as one of the best I'm telling you, it's not worth fixing," he added, putting the last part in place without looking and pushing the battered old revolver back towards its drunken owner.

To be honest Roy didn't give one damn about whether the gun was worth fixing or not. That was usually up to the owner to decide and none of Roy's business. But this revolver looked as if it had been used as everything from a hammer to a crowbar. Many of its parts would need to be replaced, starting with the bent up barrel and grip that looked as if someone had taken a bite out of it, but that meant buying new parts and Roy was already low on cash as it were. And to explain to the drunken fool that he needed money before he fixed the gun? Well, Roy could think of better ways to spend his evening.

"But you said you'd fix it!" the drunkard said, his words becoming harder and harder to make out as his anger rose.

"I said I'd take a look at it, which I did," Roy replied, sounding as calm as ever.

"God damn it! You'll fix this gun or I'll blow your bloody brains out you smug bastard!" the drunk yelled and pointed his gun at Roy.

Did he sound smug? Roy had no real way to tell and it didn't really matter. Still, people were staring at them now and many of them had a hand close to a weapon. Roy sighed, "Sir, I strongly recommend you not to do that."

"And who's going to stop me? You?" the drunkard sneered and pulled back the hammer.

Why oh why did he always end up with these idiots? "Go on then," Roy said, sounding more bored than anything, and spread his arms to the side.

The drunkard looked surprised for a moment, then barked a laugh and pulled the trigger. The gun exploded, mangling the drunkards hand and leaving Roy unharmed. The man screamed in pain and clutched his wounded arm as his friends hurried over. They all seemed to yell and shout and talk over one another, making it nearly impossible for Roy to make out what they were saying.

"...what the hell..."

"...that little..."

"...sabotaged..."

Well, it looked like it was well past time to leave. Roy quickly finished off the last of his beer, then hurried towards the exit. He was almost out when a big burly looking fellow grabbed him by the shoulders.

"And where do you think you're going?"

The next thing he knew, Roy was flying through the air, and into a group of strangers standing outside. Two imperials and an old man was all he could make out before crashing into the fourth man.

The Mermaid certainly lived up to her name, in Zach's opinion. Sleek and beautiful, he couldn't have asked for a better ship to serve on. Not that he wouldn't have been happy with most anything after spending so long in port. He always enjoyed his sojourns to Helium City, where a man like Zach could scarcely go a single night without a good bar brawl, and an even better whore to share his bed afterwards. However, to long without a deck beneath his feet made him restless, and his heart longed to cast away once more.

Beneath his joy and anticipation lay the smallest aftertaste of doubt. He was no stranger to the perils that would lie before him, he'd been fighting pirates for several years now, and had fought far bigger, scarier things since he was old enough to draw his bow, but he'd never actually been one before. It was a curious feeling, though not an unpleasant one. He understood the rules well enough. Every ship has a hierarchy, even a pirate ship, as had been so courteously reminded before he stepped on board. At least here though, he'd wouldn't be taking his orders from fat merchants or stuffy tribe Elders. Here, it he would take orders from people worthy of his respect, and he would get what he earned, once he proved to them that there was no man on the continent who could keep The Mermaid safe half as well as he could.

'and even if I'm wrong, it might just be worth it for a chance to make those Imperial dogs bleed, from their coffers and their veins.'

His interaction with the rest of the crew had been limited so far, and most of them were either below deck or still on shore. Zach however, had perched himself on the ships prow. He never felt right anywhere where he couldn't see the sky.

"There's no place on Earth more majestic, than the horizon you can see from there." he mused, stroking the longest of the vicious Sabre Teeth that he wore from a string around his neck.

Oswin clicked and whistled in agreement, and flew down onto his shoulder to join him in his vigil.

Eddie had stayed in the rigging of the Mermaid, as far above deck and Helium City's "ground" as possible, striving for every bit of wind and air that happened by. These places were necessary sure, but did they have to go to one every time they captured a tiny little ship? And then the crew goes and gets drunk on land, not that much of a difference than getting drunk on the ship in his opinion.

He lay on his back, his coat swaying with the breeze, each strip of cloth going a slightly different direction, like he wished he was, it was too still here, and nothing changed, why'd they stop here again? Oh yeah, that ship and all on their way in. He was literally pulled out of his place on the beam by a particularly vicious gust of wind which caught his coat and sent him tumbling over into the rigging proper, where he grabbed ahold and looked around at the deck below. A strange groundling coming onto the ship intrigued him, mainly because he hadn't seen anyone using a bow up this high since he was a kid and even that had been deck-mounted at the time. He clambered around the rigging a bit more, avoiding the crewmen that were going to and fro on their work schedules, keeping the copper-skinned man in his sight as he wound his way to the prow, Eddie's own least top favorite spot on board the Mermaid.

Actually, now that he thought about it, it was second least favorite, what with being belowdecks with the cannons. However, they did make a good raucous and seeing ships being broken apart was good fun, so he pondered this a moment before shaking his head and deciding that the prow was indeed his least top favorite spot aboard.

The Skyfolk cannon crazy shimmied the last few yards across the ship before he heard a peculiar thing to be heard from one of his kind.

"There's no place on Earth more majestic, than the horizon you can see from there."

It was then that Eddie made his move, jumping and landing with a great shifting of ship timbers and the faint ringing of metal from his feet. He stood straight and figured it was best to introduce himself a bit.

"Oi, you sure ar' a strang groundlin'. Feathe's in your hair and what-not. And a big bleedin' bow on your back too, you go through alot of arros what with the wind messin' with your shots and all? Eddie Cirrus's..'s,"He thought a moment on how his name was pronounced in the current form,"'s...Eddie's the name, and blowing holes in shits's....'s,"He waved a gloved hand at his sentence,"stuff's the game, fortunately it's also my job on the ship. But back to the point, not many groundlin's like the sky as much as your little talkin' leads me to believe, you some kind of Neo-BedWetter prodigy or sommat?" Again a pause and a shifting of the face as he thought of something wasn't quite right,"Wait, is it BedWater, BedWetters, BreadWinners? What's youse groundling's name's again?"

Garrett was somewhat listening to the conversation between Silas and this newcomer, Jason Aurora. From what he could gather, both gentlemen knew each other. He noticed the stare that Jason gave him, it was one of anger, no doubt because of Garrett working with the Empire, and if Garrett was being honest, he'd probably do the same thing. This was one of the problems that Garrett had to deal with in connection to his romance with Adrianna, but hopefully things would change once this mission was over.

"Excuse us." Vasco mentioned, his head towards Garrett, gesturing him to follow suit as he began to walk away. Garrett was about to follow, when he saw another gentleman wearing rather ordinary clothing, with the exception of the goggles crash into Jason and heading towards the pavement. Thinking that it was the right thing to do, he went over to the two gentlemen and helped them up.

"You gents alright? Neither or you hurt in away?" Garrett asked before turning to Silas.

"How about you Silas, you hurt?"

-Sheska-

Laying back in her hammock wasn't helping, and it anything, it only made her more prone to try and sleep, and she couldn't have that. So, with an irritated grunt, she slipped out of it and stepped onto the wooden floor of the hallway that ran through the crews section of the ship.

She wished she knew where Izzy was, but wasn't quite worried enough to go out looking for him just yet. As much of a softie as he was, he knew how to take care of himself, and knew how to lay low better than most of the crew did. He certainly knew better than she did. She couldn't stand keeping quiet and hiding, and not because she thought it was stupid or weak. Really, it was the smart way out of some situations. But the fact of the matter was, she preferred to fight her way out of situations like that, and always had.

Breaking out of that line of thought, Sheska made her way to the top deck and managed to spot one of the new recruits perched on the prow of the ship itself. With a smirk, she watched as Eddie dropped down from the timbers and 'introduced himself'. Shaking her head, she strode over and managed to catch the last bit of what Eddie said.

"What's youse groundling's name's again?".

"I think its Zach or summat around those lines. And Eddie, try not to murder your English like you have your common sense. I can accept you being crazy, but at least speak properly enough to be understood, I don't want to need a translator to know what the fuck you're saying.", she said, leaning against the nearest railing to the two men.

Glancing between them, she caught a glimpse of Zach's parrot, and quirked a brow. "Well now, I didn't know we allowed pets on The Mermaid.", she said mildly under her breath before motioning towards the bird and speaking up, "That yours?", she asked.

Confrontations and the escaping thereof could wait. A man had crashed into the wannabe engineer with an audible thud and both lay sprawled on the pavement. Garrett walked over and helped them up. Immediately thoughts of possible injuries flooded Vasco's mind, 'Minor cuts and/or bruises. Perhaps worse because of pointed objects in the gentlemen's pockets. Low-to-mid priority.' Nevertheless, the dutiful doctor walked up to where the two strangers, Silas and Garrett were standing. His hand rested loosely on the cane. Dr. Roque doubted that a fight would break out after this humiliation. Most people would just thank whoever who helped them up and walk away. But before they did that, Dr. Roque enquired, "Medical attention is here, if you need it."

"Indeed he is.", Zach replied with with a smirk, turning away from Eddie, who he had been staring at in faint bemusement. He'd spotted him up on the rigging before, but until now had paid him no mind until he'd decided to give Zach his own warm welcome. He'd heard what else she said under her breath as well...

"Oswin's no pet," he continued, stroking the parrots bright green plumage, "but I can see why you'd think so. Most sailors tend to pay a Parrot little mind... while he's counting their crew, and their cannon, and then they pay him even less as he flies away, back to me, to tell me all he's seen. He can get quite chatty on the subject."

Oswin chirped happily.

"Don't worry, he won't give any trouble. I've trained him not to shit on anyone from the rigging... unless I tell him to that is." Zach smirked again, before turning back to Eddie.

"Well, you got it half right, I am indeed a groundling, but all birds are flightless when they hatch are they not? At some point, an Eagle has to stretch his wings and fly." He handed one of his throwing knives, hilt first, to Eddie. The knife were uniquely patterned, with smaller channels spreading out from the centre line, so that the blade resembled a sharpened feather.
"Zach Eagle's my name. The keenest eye and the straightest shot you're ever like to meet, at your humble service" he added, fist crossed against his bare chest as a kind of salute, but still wearing his sardonic smile.

-Sheska-

As Zach explained the purpose of his parrot, Sheska had to nod in understanding.

"Oswin's no pet, but I can see why you'd think so. Most sailors tend to pay a Parrot little mind... while he's counting their crew, and their cannon, and then they pay him even less as he flies away, back to me, to tell me all he's seen. He can get quite chatty on the subject.".

"Now, that'll be useful, so long as you can understand him, then tell us quickly enough for it to matter.", she said easily, before listening as he turned back to Eddie.

She had to smirk as he went on about Eagles being born flightless and such, then pulled out a throwing knife and handed it to the Cannon Master, hilt-first. Leaning over, she looked at the knife, then shrugged and huffed once.

"Nice blade, but bullets are faster, and you can carry more of them.", she told him, patting the revolver on her hip.

"But, I'll give you credit: That was some eloquently put bullshit you just slung. It take you awhile to come up with it?", she asked wryly, her teeth bared in a not-too-friendly smile.

Eddie looked at the blade being handed him and then to the hand and arm proffering it, finally to the face slightly above him. He scratched his bandana-encased head before responding.

"What're you givin' this ta me for? I've got my own 'lil kill-stick,"He pulled his main weapon from the holster under his coat and showed it to the Eagle Groundling,"See?"He replaced it in the holster and leaned on the railing nearby.

"But, I'll give you credit: That was some eloquently put bullshit you just slung. It take you awhile to come up with it?",

"Oh come on Miz Sheska, you groundlings all like your fancy speeches and words that don't make any sense."

"Why thank you." Zach replied calmly. It was only natural that Sheska would be so prickly, and he'd endured people far less amusing than her.

"I train my tongue almost as much as my aim." He quipped, winking in Eddie's direction, just in case he was too slow to pick up on his double meaning. "A shame so many people don't understand the importance of words in a fight. There's nothing quite so predictable as an opponent who you've just stung with a well placed insult. They might as well just walk into your blade."

He thumbed the string of his bow that was slung across his back. "I like my killing to have a personal touch. It reminds me of who I am, and why I do what I do. I use the weapons that I've been molded to ever ever since I was old enough to use them. They're as much a part of me now as my own beating heart, and the day my heart stops will be the only day I miss a shot. Besides, guns are far to noisy, and they can jam at the most inconvenient times."

-Sheska-

She simply shook his head as Zach went on about words being important in a fight. As far as she was concerned, the only things of importance when one was fighting, was both survival, and killing your enemy. But, she managed to catch the double entendre in what he said, so she moved away from the railing and strode over.

"Really? Your aim is that good, is it?", she asked, her voice getting breathy as she leaned in close.

It was then that she drew her pistol, albeit awkwardly, and pressed the barrel against Zach's crotch. She grinned nastily as she cocked it, then leaned a little closer. "Another advantage when it comes to pistols: You can use them when you're up close.", she said in a hush whisper, before carefully pushing the hammer of her revolver forward, then holstering it safely.

"Still, I hope you're right and that you can hit something from afar with that bow of yours. And remember, the only person your poetry will kill, is like to be yourself.", she said, before striding off with a chuckle.

"A shame so many people don't understand the importance of words in a fight. There's nothing quite so predictable as an opponent who you've just stung with a well placed insult. They might as well just walk into your blade."

Eddie looked to Sheska,"I retrac' all mention of you and Zach being alike, this guy sounds like an Imp, and we all know how much you hate 'em."

He waved all implication of the man's other words concerning his own accent away, not like the guy grew up anywhere near Eddie after all.

Character Introduction: Drustan Cynwrig

Drustan stumbled out of the bar with a bottle of whiskey in his left hand, and his right fumbling around for balance. He wasn't sure what time of day it was, or where in Helium City he was, but those details didn't really bother him at this point. He took a swig and began to run away from the dingy pub, shouting curses to his pursuers.

"QUIT FOLLOWING ME, YOU DAMN KIDS!!"

His words had minimal effect on them, as one of the offending delinquents promptly slid out of an alley, grinning as he began to intercept Drustan. The large man would have none of it, however, as he tucked the bottle into his chest and lowered his head, barreling straight into the youth and sending them both tumbling off some poor fellow's roof.

Several minutes, swigs of alcohol, and bruised bones later, Drustan found himself weary and worn. The last few months of hazy fights and pitiful jobs suddenly crashed back into his memory, and the saddest part of all was that it was all in the same damn city. This isn't what he had left his home for. He said goodbye to his life, friends, and parents in the hopes of finding new ones, not wallowing in booze and brawls! He fell on the ground with an audible *thump*, leaned back against a box, staring at the swirling sludge of vivacious colors called the sky. While finishing off the bottle and breaking it against someone's roof, he longed to rid himself of civilization and see something actually new, and that was when he saw something new.

He saw the grandest airship soar across his vision, like an arrow crafted with the utmost care and ingenuity piercing through the sky. As befitting its visage, the glorious ship wore its title, HMS Invincible, in large letters as it streaked across the sky. Without hesitation or thought to the contrary, Drustan decided that he would leave Helium City on that boat, bar nothing else. Picking himself up, he bounded from rooftop to rooftop, avoiding garbage, pets, and young miscreants as he journeyed to the docks where his captivating beauty awaited.

Silas

"...After you're done with... your current customers, of course." Jason said, the emphasis obvious. Silas could only shake his head at the boy in disappointment. The kid had talent, even Silas would admit that - all be it grudgingly - but he needed to learn that shipwrights had no place burning bridges with any side. Just like Helium City, a shipwright needed to stay neutral - above the affairs of the Empire and the Skycities. In the very least, you needed to be angry at each side equally like he, that way no one could call you bias; only fault your character. That way, like Helium City, you could rake in the coins.

Silas was going to say something smart about how he "wouldn't be given no tools ta him til he'd known what was bein tak'n", but the moment disappeared; courtesy of a man crashing into Jason. The unknown man seemed to have been tossed from a nearby bar, ejected by less the friendly fellow patrons. They were lucky they hit Jason; if the boy had hit him, not-a-one of them would be chewing their food for a while.

Garrett and the Imperial doctor seemed to be offering a hand - were they really Imperials? Seemed hard to believe that Imperials would be offering a skyfolk and a random stranger any aid. Walking over to the pair of men, Silas spoke up. "Get up boy's; if ur been hurt by little knock like that, then ya had batter give up on ur sail'n dreams now." Silas said with his usual tact. "Give me a list a what ya need Jason and I'll see what I can do."

It was going to be a long day.

Character Introduction: George Maelstrom

George stared up at the magnificent gleaming vessel in port. Aside from some recent-looking hull damage, the vessel was in good repair and well maintained. Even from ashore, George could make out the movements of crew members aboard, polishing the deck and railing until they bounced the light from the sun above across the air-port. The skyfolk could say what they wanted about their vessels, but none could match the sleek, perfectly maintained lines of an Imperial ship-of-the-line.

It was because of this gleam that the name of the ship was obscured. Blocking the direct sun from his eyes with his free hand and squinting his eyes, he could just begin to make out the name of the ship: H.M.S. Invincible. George glanced back at his orders, just to ensure his memory was correct.

Mr. Maelstrom,

By orders of his Lordship, Admiral Archibald York, within the powers granted by the Imperial line, you are hereby resigned to the command of Rear-Admiral Lanester aboard the H.M.S. Invincible. The ship will be in Helium City on or about the 3rd day of the 4th month of the year of our lord, 2150. You are to retain your current rank and commission, subject to Rear-Admiral Lanester's approval.

- Capt. Forthing

Seeming his memory was solid, George took a deep breath and prepared himself. He hadn't heard much of the Invincible or its mission, and had little idea what to expect. He'd heard the usual rumors of its somewhat controversial command and how little the upper command had liked the vessel and its crew. Anyone who'd spent enough time in an Imperial tavern knew that. Of course, what they always forgot to mention was its pirate-hunting record; one of the highest in the fleet.

George took another breath; resolving himself, then stepped forward.

Character Introduction: Isaac Lee Ring

Isaac stood, watching the ships enter and leave the port of Helium City. He knew that somewhere within the city, his prey lay; comfortable in the belief of her safety. Rather, "its" safety - traitors to the empire were undeserving of being recognized as anything so high as human; or at least the Chuno Ggun would say. That the traitor had been one of there own so long ago was a disturbing fact by its own right, but then that's why he was here; to ensure the disgrace would not live long enough to matter.

The facts were few; they always were. "Sheska" had been spotted aboard a vessel making its way to Helium City. The information had come quickly enough that he could be dispatched to deal with the annoyance, and so he had. He knew her vessel - The Mermaid - but finding the ship in Helium was a nightmare unto itself. Helium may have made a trade alliance with the Empire, but they were lacking in the clockwork order the Empire was known for. His only real hope was that an Imperial vessel had spotted the Mermaid more recently and could point it out.

That's why he was here at the Imperial Embassy. If any ship had encountered the Mermaid, they would be sure to make a report with the embassy, saving him from the wild goose-chase searching Helium City was sure to be. So, he waited and watched, ready to move at the first moment.

He heard footsteps at the door; rushed, but trying to be quiet - an Imperial runner he'd been working with for the last week named Andrews. There was something off about the steps though; they seemed to be accelerated slightly, and a touch louder then normal. The conclusion was obvious; he'd found something. The door opened and the man stepped in.

"Inquisitor Ring; we have new information. The Invincible has just pulled into port this morning. They claim to have engaged the Mermaid several days ago; damaging the vessel but failing to sink. Their reports put the pirates in Helium this morning."

Character Introduction: James the Mongoose

James stared into the sky, watching the ships and clouds go by from the roof of the little dive he called home. It was one of the few days he had noting to do, so he had climbed atop like he was want to do some days, and watch the vessels fly by. How he longed to be aboard one of them; any of them. Their were the patchwork Skyfolk vessels, the proud Helium city defensive fleet vessels, Imperial merchant ships, and even the occasional Imperial war-ships and pirat... er... "free" ships. Each was as impressive as the last. If only he had the money he could escape. Then again, it was still early; who knew what the winds would bring today.

That was when it happened; a vessel - huge, glimmering in the sun, flew directly overhead. It was one of the largest he'd seen. It was clearly an Imperial vessel of some kind - no one else made them that big - but the exact kind escaped him; Imperial ships were hard to tell apart by design after all. All James knew was that if he could just get aboard such a giant ship, no one would ever find him. Any ship that size was sure to have a thousand hiding places aboard where he could sneak into and be free.

And so, all at once, James knew what to do. "I'm getting out of here on that ship." he said to himself and climbed off the roof.

"I think she's starting to like me." Zach remarked to Eddie with a dry smile. Sheska could posture all she wanted. If she wanted to kill him, she was welcome to try. If not, her threats were hollow, and she'd change he tune once Zach had shown his worth.

He did like a woman with fire in her belly though, and when you've bedded a Misbegotten with a poisonous bite, there isn't much you can fear.

'SONUVA...'

Jason wasn't sure what, but something bullrushed him and knocked him clean off his feet. Reeling his vision in the direction of the blow, he saw a young man piled on top, with a sneering thug wiping his hands clean and heading back into a bar. The asshole must have been a bouncer and thought throwing patrons into random people in the street was funny.

"Get up boys; if ur been hurt by little knock like that, then ya had batter give up on ur sail'n dreams now." Jason normally would have balked at Silas's quip, but the impact knocked the wind out of him and all he could muster in was a brief gasp. He pushed the man - he wasn't much older than twenty, by the look of him - off and rose to his feet, catching his breath. He noticed the Skyfolk Imp try to offer him a hand, but declined to accept. He tried to brush himself off before realizing the futility of the gesture, seeing as his labcoat was coated in oil and grime.

"Give me a list a what ya need Jason and I'll see what I can do." Jason reached into his pocket and produced a small list, offering it in addition to the coinpurse. "It's nothing special, just some machining tools too bulky or expensive to haul on a ship. I expect to come into some money pretty soon, though, so that last restriction may no longer be a problem, if you're willing to sell."

He shot a glare to the boy at his side, not happy at being so violently interrupted. Even if he wasn't directly responsible for bullrushing Jason, he still provoked that bouncer enough to get tossed out, meaning he was likely a drunken piece of shit.

James traveled on foot, running towards the ship. It was docked, so he could take awhile, but he wanted to get there early, to look for a better hiding spot. He noticed some men loading some barrels into the ship. Large enough to hold a man. How willing was James to pull off a cliche? James sighed, sneakily moving up to one, and looking inside for its' contents. Booze, how quaint. James silently tipped the barrel over, draining its' contents, and hopping into after it was empty. It smelled unpleasant, but he didn't care.
Now to play the waiting game....

"I think she's starting to like me."

"Oh, it's not so simple as tha', Zicky, she either likes ya or she don'. And I've gotta say, you keep yor little buddy,"He held his middle finger with his thumb a moment before flicking it over the Beduin's crotch and jumping away from the railing they were leaning against,"In your pants,otherwise she's liable ta skin you alive and hang ya by it before cuttin' ya loose, and I don't mean the rope...'N Beth'd probably just let it happen, she and the Cap'n are close, probably sommat to do with 'em both being weird and all that."

Eddie once again jumped onto the rigging and began climbing before turning around once more and laughed the laugh that was his alone, somewhat chilling, but infectious at the same time,"Now find a hammock, drop your stuff and get down to the hold, there's cannons need cleanin' Zachie!"

And for the final time Eddie ascended the rigging to the top. He knew he honestly didn't have any authority over the man, but if he did, that meant the jobs got done that much quicker. He reached his beam and plopped himself down on it before swinging his legs to either side, and locking them before turning around upside down, enjoying the view of Helium from where he was, though he preferred looking out over nothing. This would have to do for now, in any case. He sighed.

Bored-bored-bored-bored-bored-bored. I think I see an Imp!

Ouch...

"Medical attention is here, if you need it."

"Get up boy's; if ur been hurt by little knock like that, then ya had batter give up on ur sail'n dreams now."

Roy got back up on his feet, shaking his head to clear the spots floating in front of his eyes. "I'm ok. The only thing that was hurt was my dignity," he said, waving off the help the two imps were offering. He took a quickly glance towards the inn he had so unceremoniously been thrown out of, making sure the drunkard hadn't followed him outside but the only thing he saw was the bouncer heading back inside.

Roy stood to the side and patiently waited for the men to conclude their business that he had so rudely interrupted.

"It's nothing special, just some machining tools too bulky or expensive to haul on a ship. I expect to come into some money pretty soon, though, so that last restriction may no longer be a problem, if you're willing to sell."

Oh? So the guy Roy had bumped into worked on a ship and by the looks of him he wasn't a Imp or a merchant. Maybe this could turn out for the better after all.

Once it looked like the business was concluded, Roy walked over to the man again. "Sorry for bumping into you like that, some people just can't take no for an answer," he said, one hand absentmindedly going over all the tools on his belt, making sure none had gone missing in the tussle, "I'd offer to buy you a beer but I'm a bit short on funds right now. I could however fix your gun if there's something wrong with it, or a friend's, or a crew member's."

"Message received Eddie." 'and perhaps more understood than even you know...'

So, their Captain had a soft spot for Sheska perhaps. This would be something well worth looking into further. Direct advances were only going to be met with further hostility. However, perhaps there was a long way round, if Zach played it subtle that is. If getting close to the captain would get under Sheska's skin, then that might make things very interesting indeed.

'Who knows, you might even prefer Beth to Sheska, and if she's willing, then what Sheska or anyone else thinks isn't worth worrying about.'

As for Eddie... he seemed harmless enough. Zach disliked being compared to an Imperial though. There were few things in this world he despised more than the Empire. For all of Zach's easy arrogance, he never honestly considered himself above his shipmates. Imperials, on the other hand, had always looked down on Zach as if he was something unpleasant they'd just stepped in, all the while shamelessly licking the boots of their superiors in the hopes of fawning their way to increased status. They were slaves, every last one of them, and yet they would think him the dog for choosing to live in a world without limits.

No japes where this matter was concerned. He was no merchant's lackey anymore, and he'd kill every Imperial he came across, and then Eddie would start making different comparisons.

Rear-Admiral Lanester George wondered what kind of person she would be. Though he could guess, it was probably another rich noble. He walked up to the ship, wearing his very heavy backpack. He hadn't thought about his items until he had been forced to leave, so now he was carrying all his equipment and parts with him. He managed to reach the ship without falling, which was quite an achievement with his bag. He sighed as he looked around, he didn't like introductions. He preferred just to go to the engine room right now, and help with fixing things. But if the commander decided that he wasn't trust worthy, he wouldn't be able to come close to the engines.

He guessed he had no choice but to introduce himself. But before he could think of introducing himself, he had to find her first. He saw the sailors busy with cleaning the ship, he had never really understood the obsession with having a very clean ship. But he guessed it was just one of the differences between Skyfolk and imperials, he snapped back to reality once his shoulders warned him of the weight of his backpack. He asked a sailor where Lanester could be found, the sailor pointed him to what seemed to be the captain's room. He walked over there and knocked on the door, he then waited for a response.

Samuel finished going down his list and decided he may as well get some air. He walked out of his makeshift office and went up onto them main deck of the ship. He leaned on a railing taking a few breaths as Samuel thought over the excitement of the past little while, though after a while reflection became somewhat dull.

'May as well run through the surgery for Sheska's arm one more time.' He thought as he began to go over the procedure in his head.

'First, I take off the bandaging and clean the area with alcohol, and perhaps a minor sedative if she shows signs of stress. Next I...' His hands and arms going through the motions as he thought through every last step he would need to perform. Not recognizing himself that he may very well catch the attention of any crew who hadn't seen him enough times for one of the many services he performed to know that would just be how he operated.

Zach eyed this new arrival on deck from afar with keen interest. At first, he looked half-mad. Eyes closed, muttering under his breath, and tracing odd patterns with his hands, as though he were conducting some orchestral cacophony that only he could hear. However, as Zach moved a little closer he recognised hang gestures that could only be representative of bandages and syringes, which led to the conclusion that this must be the ships doctor. It made sense, he supposed. By nature any doctors he'd met had been of the bookish sort. Obsessively studious, and preferring to be alone, visualising procedures and making notes, rather than engaging others in light conversation.

"Sleep-walking are we?" he quipped.

Samuel was broken out of his imaginings when quipped to by the man now at his side. He chuckled at the joke before replying.

"Not at this time of day, perhaps later you may find me roaming the deck in my sleep." He replied in jest as he turned to face the man.

"Right now however I was simply running through an imagined version of a rather difficult surgery I will have to perform sometime soon. Taking inventory down below got a tad boring so I decided to come up for some air. Though I don't believe I've seen you around before. Samuel Garland, ship's doctor for this fine vessel. Who might you be?" He asked while holding his hand out to the man before him.

"Call me Zach," Zach replied, returning the gesture, pleased to find someone on this ship who was both welcoming and capable of forming what is commonly recognised as a sentence "and this is Oswin." to which the parrot whistled in acknowledgment of his name.

"I usually tend to avoid befriending doctors. I call it bad luck. Get too friendly with them and it's almost like you're asking to be in their company more often than is wise." he said in jest "Besides, if I have to sit though one more uncomfortable lecture on the risks of contracting Syphilis, I don't think I'd ever look at a woman again, and then my life truly would be wretched! For you though, I think I'll make an exception."

"Well you needn't worry about me giving you some long winded lecture. I like to keep my advice rather concise as opposed to most Neo-Victorian doctors." Samuel replied with a laugh as he brought his hand back.

"It is a pleasure to meet you though Zack and Oswin. Hopefully your ill omen will not come to pass, I hate having to see patients in my office repeatedly for something more complex than a shave and a haircut. Though conversation and company is always welcome. Though right now it seems you have me at a disadvantage. You know what I do on this ship but I don't happen to know what you do."

"Sorry for bumping into you like that, some people just can't take no for an answer."

Jason cocked an eyebrow, not sure what to make of the boy in front of him. On the one hand, his unslurred speech indicated he wasn't a drunkard as he initially suspected. But there was something else in his voice... Jason couldn't quite place it, but it was as though the kid was focusing hard on his words. On top of that, it lacked an obvious accent, leaving his voice a strange, indiscernible beast.

"I'd offer to buy you a beer but I'm a bit short on funds right now. I could however fix your gun if there's something wrong with it, or a friend's, or a crew member's."

'A gunsmith? If he can machine those parts, then his technical skill isn't trivial. I wonder...' Jason's gaze dropped its curiosity and instead adopted his usual hard demeanor. "Well, there may be something else you can do to make even. You ever worked on a ship, kid?" Jason reached into his pocket and withdrew a cigarette, lighting it and taking in a deep draft before continuing. "If so, I work on a vessel that's rather short on skilled labor. Provided you don't screw anything up, we might even take you on as a permanent member."

He exhaled his draft, letting the smoke settle in a cloud at his feet. "You interested?"

"Well, there may be something else you can do to make even. You ever worked on a ship, kid? If so, I work on a vessel that's rather short on skilled labor. Provided you don't screw anything up, we might even take you on as a permanent member. You interested?"

Finally! Here was Roy's chance to leave this blasted city and do something different for a change. He had started to fear that he'd never find work on a ship and would be forced to work in a store or factory for the rest of his miserable life. While he loved working on guns it got almost unbearably dull if it was the only thing you did.

A smile crept up on Roy's face and he tried not to look too eager to join. "I've been on a few ships before though mostly on the passenger side," he admitted. Passenger and cargo, but he didn't allow himself to dwell on those particular memories for long. "Still, I know how a ship's engine works and I'm as good a shot as any."

He wasn't about to admit that he was deaf unless someone noticed and asked. He could work just fine, hearing or not, despite what some people liked to think.

"Still, I know how a ship's engine works and I'm as good a shot as any."

Jason couldn't help but let a cocky smile slip. "Do you, now? We'll see about that." He tossed his now-spent cigarette to the side, exhaling another cloud of smoke. He'd seen plenty of hotshot greenhorn engineers in his time, and the one thing they all had in common was that they didn't know nearly as much about an airship's engines as they thought they did. "Follow me, then. We have quite a bit of work to do, and not much time to do it." He motioned to leave, giving Silas a nod as he left. "I'll be in touch, Silas."

He turned back to the boy, raising his arms in annoyance. "Come on then, kid! You got feathers in your ears or something? Move!"

-Sheska-

As Sheska strode away from Eddie and Zach, she didn't notice Sam coming up from below, partly due to an internal debate of just what she ought to do to occupy herself and keep from sleeping in her hammock. There was always searching the hold for the rum and drinking the time away, but at that particular moment, that didn't have much appeal. She supposed she could always take care of the supplies she needed to pick up for herself, including ammunition for her revolver, and possibly seeing if she could find Izzy while she was at it.

Deciding that was what she would do, she stepped off of the ship and made her way down the long stairwell that ran down the length of the Chase Tower, occasionally sniffing the air to see if she could pick up Izzy's scent. By the time she stepped out of the tower proper, she glared back at it and huffed. "Fucking stairs. May as well make the most of my time in the city before I go back up the goddamned things.", she muttered to herself, and she started to make her way to the markets.

It wasn't long before she spotted a familiar face from her crew, along with the unmistakable silhouette of Imperial uniforms striding off in a different direction, accompanied by the man she had seen earlier when she was with Hector, and an older Skyfolk man.

With narrowed eyes, she strode over carefully, and nodded when she finally reached Jason. "Jason, what the fuck were you doing around Imp's just a few moments ago? And who's this?", she asked quietly, jerking her head at the man next to him.

He was pale, and had a set of tools on a belt at his waist, so she had to assume he was a mechanic, or something else along those lines.

"Follow me, then. We have quite a bit of..." his boss said, turning to leave before Roy could catch the whole of what he said. He tried to puzzle it out but didn't have much to go on.

"Come on then, kid! You got feathers in your ears or something? Move!"

'Probably nothing important,' Roy hoped as he hurried after the older engineer. He tried to stay next to him rather than behind in case he was told to do anything but the busy streets made that difficult at times. "So what kind of ship will I be working on? Oh and the name's Roy," he asked when a misbegotten walked up to them.

"Jason, what the fuck were you doing around Imp's just a few moments ago? And who's this?"

Roy figured it be best to keep his mouth shut for the moment since the lady didn't seem to be in the best of moods.

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