"Can't say I have." replied Zach, responding to the handshake in kind. "I'll keep an eye out though, I am a lookout after all, so I'm good at spotting things. Not to worry, I'm sure you'll sleuth it out eventually."
With that he left the room. He figured he'd seek out the Crow's Nest next. It was his post after all, and a good place for him to be alone with his thoughts.
After Roy strode off and went below, Sheska swayed a little bit and had to grasp at the crate he had been using earlier as a makeshift table to steady herself. She kept there for a good minute before her head stopped spinning and she felt that she could stand straight. When she finished grasping it, she straightened, then blew out a breath. "I guess I drank more than I thought.", she mused as she started to head below herself.
As soon as she started down the steps, she nearly bumped into Zach, and after stepping back once, she quirked a brow. "Zach. I was wondering where you'd headed off to. Not causing trouble for the crew, are ya?", she asked, her dull eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"Perish the thought!" Zach teased "Trouble is my sworn enemy. Where I walk, I leave only solidarity in my wake."
He stepped aside to let her walk past, but spoke up again when she had her back turned.
"Just out of interest... Back when you were serving at the Emperor's pleasure, how did you like to conduct your business? Was it a shot in the back, straight forward and efficient, or did you prefer the wire, so you could feel their last breath leave them?"
She merely quirked a brow when he replied, and she snorted once.
"Perish the thought! Trouble is my sworn enemy. Where I walk, I leave only solidarity in my wake.".
"Right, I'll bet.", she murmured under her breath before slipping past him.
That was when he spoke up again.
"Just out of interest... Back when you were serving at the Emperor's pleasure, how did you like to conduct your business? Was it a shot in the back, straight forward and efficient, or did you prefer the wire, so you could feel their last breath leave them?".
Her hackles rose and the wrapped package that she had been clutching under her arm promptly dropped. Her eyes widened, only to turn into a glare as she whirled around and lashed out. Her hand grasped Zach's throat in an iron grip, and she shoved him against the wall with a snarl.
As drunk as she was, her strength wasn't impaired in the least, and she slowly leaned forward until her face was in his. "Don't presume you know me, you little shit. I never served the Empire, not willingly.", she ground out between gritted teeth.
Even with Sheska's hand around his throat, Zach's smile never died.
"Credit where it's due, you're the most interesting Ggun I've met." he said, his voice slightly hoarse but still level. "You want to dispel my ignorance? Be my guest! I'd be careful where you put your hand though, you do only have one after all..."
She bared her teeth as he spoke with that same shit-eating smile on his face.
"Credit where it's due, you're the most interesting Ggun I've met. You want to dispel my ignorance? Be my guest! I'd be careful where you put your hand though, you do only have one after all...".
She promptly rammed her knee sharply up between his legs and let him go before stepping back. "Alright then. Listen up then, because this will be the only time I tell you.", she said.
She strode to the opposing wall before leaning back against it and putting her hand against her revolvers handle. "I may as well start from the very beginning so you understand. See, I was born in Everglade, which I can tell you now was a humid shit-hole whether or not you live in the slums like I did. I was abandoned, as a brat. A man named Asimov One-Leg took me in and raised me. Taught me to read, write, the basics. He was my father in every way that counted.", she said, her tone casual even as her eyes locked onto his in a burning glare.
"Thing is, he didn't like me going out, and for good reason. The slums in a Change Cage City aren't safe for a little Misbegotten bitch. But I went out anyway, and ended up getting into fights. When I was a little older, not sure how old, I got caught. The Chuno Ggun looked at me and saw a tool. So they took me, and trained me against my will.", Sheska told him.
Her voice resonated with undiluted fury as she continued, drawing her revolver and idly twirling it on a finger. "They realized that with my sense of smell, I would make a great tracker. So they made me hunt down people the Empire disapproved of. Mostly people who spoke out against them, though a few really were scum.", she added with a shrug.
"I killed them all. With my bare hands, mostly. Sometimes with my teeth. See, I wasn't good enough for a gun, or a knife, or wire, because they couldn't risk me fighting them instead. And I didn't because I was weak and didn't know better. They would beat me if I didn't do the job well enough or fast enough. Then they would beat me if I only did it the way they expected. And they would really beat me if I did a very good job.", she said flatly.
"Then the man in charge of me, some Lieutenant, eventually pointed a gun in my face. This gun.", she said, holding up the revolver.
"We fought, and struggled. And I ended up shoving the barrel of his gun through his teeth, and watching as the back of his head exploded into red, chunky mist. And it was glorious.", Sheska murmured with a cruel glint in her eye, and a slowly spreading smile.
"I had grown to love the act of taking a life. Of killing. But killing him really made me realize that. There was no guilt like there was when I killed the people they ordered me to hunt down. Just a pure rush of pleasure, a thrill as I watched the life drain from his eyes.", she told him.
"It was then that I finally ran, and stopped being so fucking weak. I met up with a Neobeduin tribe, and do you know what they said when they first saw how I'd been living outside of the city? 'And they call us savages'.", the Skulk-Hound said with a dark chuckle.
"Then I followed them for a time, found my way to Isla Aether, and joined The Mermaid, hoping for two things. Firstly, to kill Imps. But more importantly, for freedom.", she said, and it was then that she took aim with her revolver, steadily pointing it at Zach's head.
"You see, the Empire took everything from me. Everything I cared for, and what little freedom I had. I was their rabid attack dog, who they taught to kill on command. Too bad for them, I learned to love it, and when I killed my first Imp, I stopped being weak, and I found my freedom. I won't give that up again, and I won't have some son of a bitch like you try to lump me in with them.", Sheska growled out, striding forward with purpose.
"You don't know me. And you aren't part of the crew, not yet. So you don't mean a goddamn thing to me, so you'd best watch your fucking step. I can, and will, kill you without a seconds hesitation, and I won't feel a damn thing after. You mean nothing to me until you prove yourself.", she warned, before slipping her revolver back into its holster.
"Not to worry, James. Perhaps we can find out during your medical exam."
"Er, yeah, sure I guess. I can't save some time and just say I'm healthy as possible?" James shrugged, he never got the disdain for doctors and medics. Anyone who bitched about a man saving your life was not a smart man indeed.
"Lead the way, Doctor Roque."
While the knee to his groin had hurt, Zach wasn't one to show submission, especially when trapped in a confined space with and bad tempered Misbegotten with a gun and teeth like a Piranha. As she reeled off her life story to him he thought it best to let her finish.
"Gee, ask a simple question..." came his retort, unphased, but no longer smiling. "You're wrong on one thing though. I do know you, better than you want to believe. I know your hatred for the Empire, and I know your love of freedom, as well as killing. From various clues I could have puzzled out all the important parts of that story before you said anything. Most importantly, I know exactly how little I mean to you. You think any of this little show was about 'proving myself' to you. Of course not! I know you well enough to know that wouldn't work. It proved a lot about you though. It proved you're honest, that there's a lot more going on underneath all your fury that you'll care to admit, least of all to me; and it proved that whatever it was they tried to turn you into, they failed."
"Who you think I am, and what you think of who you think I am doesn't matter, for now at least; but for the record, I respect you, and I have your back, no matter how many times you feel the need to put a gun in my face... not that you give two shits who's respect you have, I'm sure."
As Zach responded, Sheska had to give him credit. He had spine, and he didn't back down. But the mention of him respecting her made her step back, and her face softened, only to turn into a snarl again. She couldn't afford to act or look like she had a bleeding heart. "Oh, I'm still a rabid dog, Zach. I just choose my master now. Beth treated me like a person, and she put her trust in me. That means that she has my trust and loyalty in return. And the only person who knows me better than her, is Isaac, and he means just as much to me as she does.", she told him, before bending down to pick up the package she had dropped earlier.
When she turned away from him, she huffed irritably once, then spoke up. "Now go see Sam about your balls. He might just have some ice or something for you.", she said quietly.
Then she strode away towards the Captains cabin without another word.
"Lead the way, Doctor Roque." James said reluctantly after Vasco suggested having a medical examination to both him and Ciel. Garrett remembered when Vasco first came aboard he had to submit himself to a medical examination; whilst he could of easily supplied a majority of the information himself, Vasco insisted that he perform the necessary checks.
"I guess this means that business is concluded for the time being." Garrett asked rhetorically before continuing.
"Anyway, I need to head back into the Merchant's District, there is a few purchases I need to make. Some for the gala event happening tomorrow evening, new shirts and the like; and a few items I've been meaning to acquire for while now, and Helium City is the best opportunity for me to get them. James, I'll have words with Miss Portnoy about acquiring a uniform for you when I return; hopefully the good doctor can obtain your measurements as well." He then added with a slight smirk on his face.
"Right you two, stay with Silas, make sure nothing happens to him, or you'll have me to answer to. Understand?" Garrett ordered with a cold tone to his voice to the two soldiers who were with them. As he walked away, he whispered something to James.
"A piece of advice for you, just do as Doctor Roque says, and things will go by smoothly." Garrett then proceeded to head back up stairs.
"They'll be alright, they've had worse." he quipped to her retreating back, before he continued on back up to the surface. It was definitely time to inspect the Crow's Nest. While a part of Zach was only really having fun when he was riling people into a murderous rage, he reasoned that he'd probably had his fill for one day.
It had only been for the briefest moment, but he'd seen Sheska let her guard down. Smallest of small steps it may have been, but for the first time since he'd stared off the prow into the horizon, Zach thought that he was going to like it here.
"A piece of advice for you, just do as Doctor Roque says, and things will go by smoothly."
James cocked an eyebrow, perhaps this was one of those doctors who was a bit... into their job. As long as there wouldn't be surgery, James figured he was fine. Couldn't be that bad, right?
"Thanks, but I think I'll be fine." He whispered in return. He was vaguely curious about the gala, seeing it as a great way to introduce himself to the rest of the crew.
A large and magnanimous yawn rung throughout one of the crew quarters of the Invincible, signaling the awakening of Drustan Cynwrig. Curious as to how long he slept, Drustan stuck his head out of the porthole beside where he lay, and this time the sun was a bit more to his right than it had been when he last looked up. Hoping to the Skies it was 13-ish, Drustan rolled off of the cot, strapped D'Teth to his waist, and swung his leather duster over his shoulders as he marched off to meet Adrianna and receive orders, assuming it was the right time. Taking a lovely stroll around the ship, which was helped nicely by a delightful breeze, Drustan eventually pieced his way to the larger individual cabins, and arrived at the one marked "Rear Admiral".
Taking a deep breath before proceeding, Drustan rapped twice on the door, his knuckles contacting the wood was resounding nicely as it swam around the belly of the ship. As he exhaled two moments later, Drustan announced his his sharpest, most professional voice:
"Rear Admiral Lanester, Drustan Cynwrig is reporting for duty."
The Inquisitor watched as the Rear Admiral briefly glanced at the letter before placing it back on the table. Her face remained passive but the Inquisitor thought that he noticed a slight change in her demeanour. "Shall I continue to refer to you Lt. Com. Ring, or would you prefer Inquisitor?" She asked.
"I'd prefer it if you continued to call me Lt. Commander in public, otherwise I don't mind." Inquisitor Ring replied, picking up the letter from the table and carefully replacing it in his jacket.
The Inquisitor listened with some significant interest to the Rear Admirals report. She had been able to provide him with much more information than he had anticipated, not only that he was surprised to hear that his target had been wounded, and so severely. He listened impassively to the rest of what the Rear Admiral had to say.
"Thank you Rear Admiral Lanester, you've been most helpful. I'd greatly appreciate a meeting with your 1st and 2nd mates if that could be arranged. I'm sure we can cooperate to further our mutual goals."
The captain spoke to him, "Mr. Maelstrom; I'm afraid we will need to conclude our conversation at a later time this evening.....If you have any questions, I'm certain one of the officers or Mr. Corvus can answer them." He made a small bow and then walked away. George was happily surprised as he was exploring the ship, it lived up to its reputation. And if it was repaired it would be one of the mightiest ships he had ever been on. It was hard to hold back his enthusiasm and a few strange looks were cast his way. But he didn't mind them much, people always looked at him like that here.
He asked for directions multiple times, but after having passed the same corridor five times he finally gave up. He saw the stairs leading back to the main deck close by, and he headed back up. I really need someone to show me around, he thought glancing around the deck, he then spotted the man earlier introduced as Corvus. The captain seemed to think he was a very capable man, and he was a Skyfolk like him. He smiled to himself and walked up to the man. "Excuse me sir Corvus," he said looking at the man. "My name is George Maelstrom and I am new on the ship. I hoped you might be able to show me around, I seem to have a talent for getting lost on it I am afraid." He placed his hand on the back of his head and smiled awkwardly, hoping that he wouldn't be scolded simply for speaking to him.
"Excuse me sir Corvus." A voice announced behind Garrett. He turned around and saw that it was the gentleman who was standing behind Adrianna when he, Vasco and Silas had arrived back on the Invincible. Judging from his appearance, the man didn't look like a Imperial, more like a Skyfolk. Garrett noticed that the man was missing the pinky finger on his right hand, and his fingerless gloves had been adjusted to compliment this. It did make him wonder however how the man sustained such an injury.
"My name is George Maelstrom and I am new on the ship. I hoped you might be able to show me around, I seem to have a talent for getting lost on it I am afraid." George then placed his hand on the back of his head and smiled awkwardly, no doubt nervous as to how Garrett would respond.
"I was just on my way to the Merchant's District to pick up a few things, but I suppose I can give you a tour of the Invincible beforehand; along with anything else you need to know. Feel free to call me Garrett if you want, no need to be so formal; 'Mr. Corvus' is mainly for more official matters. I'm glad to have another Skyfolk on-board by the way." Garrett said calmly, hoping his tone would put George at ease. He then offered a handshake before asking another question.
"Any place in particular you wish to start?"
"Thank you Rear Admiral Lanester, you've been most helpful. I'd greatly appreciate a meeting with your 1st and 2nd mates if that could be arranged. I'm sure we can cooperate to further our mutual goals." the Lt. Com. said, making his next goal clear. Adrianna brought her hand to her chin, thinking over where the pair would be before answering.
"My first mate - Mr. St. John - should be in his quarters; he generally takes command during the evening hours. He should be awakening soon however. He will be in Officer Cabin #6, one deck down. My second mate, Ms. Baker-Cromwell was the woman you met several minutes ago while I was dealing with the other matters. She was headed to see the Quartermaster to explain her new position and then, hopefully, to take a break. You are of higher rank then the they, so they should answer any questions you may have. If not, bring them here and we'll discuss matters further." she said, giving him access to the ship and her crew.
She wasn't quite sure she trusted the Inquisitor - her past experiences with them she was usually the person under investigation. Fortuitously, her tight running of the ship proved more then a match for the Inquisitors. On the other had, those had all been before she'd started her relations with Garrett. Who knew what an Inquisitor would find. None-the-less, she maintained her well practiced straight face, protecting her secrets.
She opened her mouth to say more, when a knock came at the door. Apparently the next of her meetings was to start. "Rear Admiral Lanester, Drustan Cynwrig is reporting for duty." a voice called out, making it clear who was at her door. She returned for a moment to the Lt. Com. to add "I would appreciate your silence regarding the... Mermaid plan, even with Ms. Baker-Cromwell. I don't want word getting around." She waited to see if the man had any other questions, ready to answer them as they came. When there were no more questions, she dismissed the Inquisitor and called out to Drustan.
"You may enter Mr. Cynwring!"
Ciel cringed at the thought of the Dr. Roque's examination - she had never enjoyed such activities. Oh, she respected the knowledge of doctors - and from what she'd heard of Dr. Roque, he was a skilled medical man indeed - but the fear of poking and prodding always made such activities... disliked.
"I will see you later this evening Dr. Roque. Send a runner for me when you have time and I will make the time for the Exam." she said to Dr. Roque as he walked off, leaving with Garrett with another Skyfolk, but taking Silas and the two imperial sailors with her down to the bowels of the ship.
"Do you have blueprints or something like that of the arm?"
"Of course I do. What sort of engineer doesn't document his work?" He jerked his thumb over to a chest to the table's right. "Design notes and other schematics are in that thing. I expect a preliminary report within the next three days, understand?" He turned to leave the engine room, a rumble rising from his stomach.
"I'll be in the mess hall if you need me. Remember what I told you, kid - break that arm, and yours will soon follow. Get it?"
When Sheska reached her corner of the ship, she simply laid the package from the tailors next to her now-neglected accordion, only to end up staring at her hammock. After a full day, the emotional outburst towards Zach, and the lack of decent sleep for the past week or so, she was dog tired. The problem was the nightmares.
So she waged a short internal war as to whether or not she should bite the bullet and try for some decent rest, or prowl the ship for something, anything, to do to keep awake. After all, chances were just as good that she would dream about Beth, which while that was also unwanted, it wouldn't be nearly as unpleasant as the night terrors she had been having since their encounter with the Invincible. The fact that she was drunk ought to help as well, though she didn't look forward to the eventual hangover. That would only add to her misery in the morning if she woke up in abject terror.
With a frustrated snarl, she shook her head before pushing herself up and into her hammock, turning to face the wooden wall of the ship before promptly falling asleep.
The next thing she saw was blinding sun. She stood in a large, flat expanse, the sun blazing directly overhead in a painfully clear blue sky. For some reason, she had decided to look straight up at it, so she quickly covered her eyes with her hand and forced herself to look down. Once she blinked the white dots from her vision, she looked forward, and realized why she was staring at the sun instead.
She was surrounded by the dead.
Each and every one stood still, and stared at her. She could recognize them all as people she had killed, and they all retained the insults that she had inflicted on them when she ended their lives. Some had their entrails pooling around their feet, some held their severed heads in their hands, others held onto dismembered limbs, but all stood, one way or another. And they all stared with cold, lifeless eyes.
She looked around at them and reached at her side for her cutlass, only to grasp onto nothing at all. She was unarmed.
That fact unsettled her, but she stood her ground and strode forward. She had killed all of them before. She could kill them again, but the sheer numbers was astounding. Had she really killed that many people?
As she pushed past a more tightly clustered group to find solace, she stared at familiar, living faces. In a group, stood her nemesis from the Invincible, and his pet, Capricorn behind him. Next to them, stood Captain Beth, as well as Isaac. And as opposed to the dead she had passed, they didn't have blank stares, but instead they all smiled widely at her.
Sheska frowned and took an unsteady step back. "Cap'n? Izzy? The fuck are you two doing with those Imps?", she asked shakily, her voice faint.
That was when all four spoke as one: "We're solving the problem.".
Their voice rang throughout the flatland with a dark glee, causing her to take a few more steps back. When they each drew their respective weapons, or in Capricorn's case, raised it's fists, she turned to run.
She stopped in her tracks when she faced herself, healthy and whole, with both arms to show for it. And her doppelganger grinned at her like the four behind her did, only she could see the light of violence in her own eyes.
"We're broken, and killing you will fix it. Killing always solves the problem.", the other her said, before drawing her revolver.
Sheska trembled, and was suddenly aware of intense pain in her stomach, her back, and her right arm. When she looked down at herself, she saw why. The point of an Imperial officers sword poked out through her belly, and her right arm was a mangled, useless mess. And in her back was a series of gravity blades, as well as the Captains chain sickle.
She gaped, and when she lifted her gaze, the barrel of her revolver smashed through her teeth, and she saw her own golden eyes staring at her with malicious cheer. Then she heard the cock of its hammer, and the gunshot that followed.
Sheska woke with a soft scream, her hand grasping at her stomach as she shot forward in her hammock. She panted heavily as her blurry vision slowly cleared, only to end up groaning in pain due to a skull-splitting migraine, sensitive eyes, and intense nausea. Her hand moved from her stomach to her forehead, covering her eyes as well.
She had no idea how long she had actually slept, but if anything, she felt more exhausted than ever, and now she felt all the sicker thanks to her hangover. "Ugghh... God, I think I might have to stop drinking if this keeps up.", she murmured, her voice hoarse as well as pained.
Garrett seemed to examine him, his eyes briefly stopped once he spotted his right hand. It was always a bit awkward at first, he was used to people staring at it though. "I was just on my way to the Merchant's District to pick up a few things, but I suppose I can give you a tour of the Invincible beforehand.... I'm glad to have another Skyfolk on-board by the way." Garrett then shook his hand, George was happy that he had found a nice person who was willing to make time for him. "Any place in particular you wish to start?" Garrett asked him.
George took a good look at the man, he was wearing an interesting looking sword. And his body and the way he stood betrayed he was a warrior, and if he had to make an educated guess a good one too. "Thank you very much for taking the time to show me around the ship. And I am happy to meet another Skyfolk too, Garrett. And the engine room would be a nice place to start, I am quite handy with repairing stuff you see. So I am sure I am able to help out there. " He said taking out a wrench, and spinning it in his hands.
Looking down at his feet, Zach saw that he was back on solid ground. It was dark inside the tent, stretching much longer than any he had ever known; and yet, Zach saw a faint flicker of light, at the other end of the long hall. He knew that's where he must go. Whatever it was he was looking for, it waited him there, knowledge, contentment, salvation, all he had to do was get there.
His footsteps quickened to the rhythm of the questions, the hopes and the fears that tumbled around and around in his mind. He broke into a run, the light drawing closer and closer until...
Zach's heart soared, he could see them at last! The girl with the thick chestnut hair, shining eyes and the smile that made him blaze hotter than a bush fire. Clinging onto her was a child, barely two years old, but already looking big and strong. While he had his mother's hair, Zach could make out certain features. The nose, the cheekbones, there was no doubt in his mind.
He was only feet away from them when a swirling shadow, black and thick as tar, rolled in and hid them from his sight. It surrounded him, then divided, the different pieces stretching out into legs, arms, torsos and heads. When he had known them, Zach had been taller than them all, but now they towered over him as if he were a child once again. His mother, his Uncle, the Tribe Elder, and Solomon too. One of the shadow's, the one that stood beside his mother, never grew features.
"What are you doing? Let me see them!"
"You cannot." They replied in unison.
"Fuck that! you can't stop me!"
He tried to barge past, but the shadows converged, solid and immovable.
"You left. You ran. They're alone now."
"I had too, I didn't have a choice!" pleaded Zach, struggling. "Uncle! I had to find you. I had to stop them."
"You failed. You were too late, for me, and for them."
"No, that's not true! I can still fix this, I can do better, make things right. Please, please just let me through!"
Instead, they converged further, grabbing him and dragging him away.
"GET OFF ME! LET ME GO, THAT'S MY SON!"
He caught a glimpse of her face between them as they carried him away. She wasn't smiling anymore.
Zach woke up in the Crow's Nest. Drenched with sweat and heaving ragged breaths.
"Thank you very much for taking the time to show me around the ship. And I am happy to meet another Skyfolk too, Garrett. And the engine room would be a nice place to start, I am quite handy with repairing stuff you see. So I am sure I am able to help out there." George then took out a wrench from one of the pockets on his coat, and span it in his hands a few times.
"Fair enough, in fact George I've recently just come from there, having to guide the shipwright we've hired to help our new engineer with some necessary repairs and upgrades after an unfortunate encounter with a pirate ship. We can always use more people with engineering skills, so you should fit in. Also, feel free to ask any other questions you might have as we head down under, and I'll try my best to answer them." Garrett remarked as he headed back down below deck. As they worked they way along the corridors, a question came into Garrett's head.
"Apologies if the question to ask you is personal George, but what unfortunate incident caused you to lose a finger like that?" He asked, gesturing at the missing finger on the right hand.
Vasco nodded to Ciel and watched the new engineer walk away into the depths of the ship and Garrett walk into the other direction. What puzzled the doctor was the apprehension that the two exhibited. He could understand that no one liked baring themselves in front of others, but surely they had gone through one of these before unscathed? The medical examination would take only a few moments of his time and the monkey's attire was somewhat lacking... 'Best to rectify this as soon as possible,' he reasoned as he peeked at the pocket watch of his. Dr. Roque turned to James and ushered him to follow him to the infirmary, just a ladder's climb away. To James, he said, "Just a matter of protocol really, but Imperials like their protocols. Come, it will over before you know it and hopefully we can find you a uniform after the measurements have been taken."
Drustan was loitering right outside the Admiral's door, feeling mildly awkward because he could hear Lanester conversing with another man, and the tone they talked in gave it a sense of gravitas. Soon their business was concluded, a short and tired man walked out of Adriana's office, clearly on a mission. Drustan met the man with a polite "Good Day" before hearing Adriana's voice ring out from her office.
"You may enter Mr. Cynwring!"
Drustan then strode into her office and greeted her with a polite bow.
"Hello Admiral, how are you? I'm not sure if this is the correct time to meet with you, but it is as close as I could get without managing to locate a timepiece."
"Fair enough, in fact George I've recently just come from there, having to guide the shipwright we've hired to help our new engineer with some necessary repairs and upgrades after an unfortunate encounter with a pirate ship. We can always use more people with engineering skills, so you should fit in. Also, feel free to ask any other questions you might have as we head down under, and I'll try my best to answer them." Garrett said to him, while they were walking down the stairs. He was smiling, working on ships was one of his favorite things to do. Though he wondered how good the engineer would be, he hoped he was anywhere near his/her level.
"Apologies if the question to ask you is personal George, but what unfortunate incident caused you to lose a finger like that?" Garrett suddenly asked surprising him. He had not often met someone, who asked him about his missing finger this soon. He looked at his hand, and opened and closed his fingers. He then looked back up at Garrett, he might as well tell him. "Sure no problem, just promise me not to tell anyone else would you?" He then looked around, the stairs were empty. "I lost my finger three years ago."
He took a deep breath and then told the rest of the story. "As I have mentioned before I like repairing things, well I also liked inventing things. I was busy designing a new kind of gun, it shot bullets much faster and with more force behind it. The problem was however that I couldn't get rid of one problem, you needed to carry something on the rifle, something attach to the underside. I got into a firefight, and someone shot a bullet at it." He said remembering his days 'home'.
He then continued. "Lucky he only slightly damaged it, but when I wanted to repair it the same day I made an error. I accidentally made a spark, and the spark landed in the small hole. The thing exploded with an loud explosion, I was knocked on the ground and a large shard of metal pierced my right pinky finger ripping it in half near the beginning. The muscle and well everything really was cut in half, but it was still hanging on my hand. Lucky my colleagues had called for a doctor, who took off the rest of my finger and sealed the wound with fire. And that is how I lost my finger, pretty dumb huh?" He asked with an ashamed looking expression.
Beth and Wilhelmena
She must have blacked out, because now she found herself at the bottom of the tower again. Either that, or she had walked down by her own choice, though that made little sense to her. Now that she was standing in the streets again, looking up at The Mermaid, she thought she could as well get some clothes fitting for a party and a colder climate.
Beth had bought clothes before, but not in Helium City. She wasn't certain what the best place to go would be. After a brief moment, she left the tower, since staring at it wouldn't help. Maybe she could ask someone about where to go. She had money, but most that appeared in the street dressed in rags, simple clothes, or worse, imperial garbs.
That's when she spotted an older woman, carrying a box, who was better dressed than the rest. It fit her, and made her look respectable, yet attractive. She hurried through the bustling the street, while still trying to protect her box. Beth figured she knew where to buy fine clothes.
Wilhelmena turned a corner, when she heard a voice behind her. "Excuse me miss, I couldn't help but notice your recherche dress, and I was meaning to buy some clothes myself, while in town." Her heart skipped a beat, this had been unforeseen. There were some she'd have liked to avoid at any cost, as they were complicated to deal with. She'd have to do it at some point, but if she did it at the wrong time; it'd get rather interesting.
She turned around with a smile, prefering not to raise too much suspicion. "I take it you want directions then?" Beth nodded, her eyes had the glaze of a drunk. "Well, there's old Murphy. Just a few blocks from here, in that way." Wilhelmena nodded her head to indicate which way she meant. "He might have retired and handed his business over to his daughter, but just tell him that Ms. Heatherington sent you. He's an old friend."
Wilhelmena covered her chest with the box, to prevent the angel from spotting her silver star. They'd meet again, and it'd help if she had the pirate's favour then. She wondered if it would mean anything.
Beth kept looking at the woman in front of her, there was something she couldn't put her finger on about her. "Thank you, Ms. Heatherington." She said, and turned to head towards this old tailor's business.
"There's a tattoo parlor pretty close to it. I have a rose sealed in blood." Wilhelmena said, and left Beth standing there.
Beth walked the streets, confounded by what the woman had told her. The silver star on her chest had told her one truth, and her words had told her another. She reached the street, where the tattoo parlor and the tailor she was looking for was located. She recognized it, even if she'd only been there once before, but then she hadn't come alone.
Wilhelmena put the box down outside the mansion on the grass, entered to look for Remmington, and tell her about how it had gone. She checked the pocket watch. The clock was seven, but it wouldn't become dark yet for some hours. She missed the necklace.
A couple of hours later, Beth stepped out from the tailor's home. He had been insistent on giving her his best, and she didn't have to pay a ludicrous sum either. Not after she had mentioned the name of the woman she had met.
She was dressed in a maroon dress now, with white details, collar and buttons. It had a rich cleavage, and over the new dress she wore a dark grey coat, with a longer shoulder cape on the left shoulder. Beth had bought leather gloves and high boots too. She looked much more intimidating than before, and the tri-cornered hat accentuated that she was someone to be respected.
Wilhelmena returned to the Invincible, with an automaton in tow. Remmington had lent it to her, to help her with her luggage. The towering metal man wouldn't steal her belongings, nor would anyone try to rob him.
"Just a matter of protocol really, but Imperials like their protocols. Come, it will over before you know it and hopefully we can find you a uniform after the measurements have been taken."
"Haven't met an imperial that loves protocols too much yet..." He made sure to mutter this, and smirked slightly. He followed closely behind the man, taking in the surroundings of his new flying home as they went.
'This hasn't gone exactly as planned so far, but I did get to sneak into an Imp ship, earn a paycheck, and not get shot... The day still might be a tad early.' James exhaled slowly. It felt like he'd been here an eternity already. Couldn't have been more than or hour or two, though.
"Sure no problem, just promise me not to tell anyone else would you?" George then looked around, checking to see if the coast was clear. "I lost my finger three years ago." He then added, before going to explain the set up for the accident that cost him a finger.
" I accidentally made a spark, and the spark landed in the small hole... The muscle and well everything really was cut in half, but it was still hanging on my hand. Lucky my colleagues had called for a doctor, who took off the rest of my finger and sealed the wound with fire. And that is how I lost my finger, pretty dumb huh?" George then asked with a shamed expression. Garrett was somewhat surprised after hearing the tale, couldn't help but feel a little sad inside.
"I wouldn't say that it was necessarily dumb George, you didn't expect something like that to happen I presume? Still, it could of been a lot worse, and the damage caused might not have been so easily repairable. Must of hurt like hell though, having a finger split in twain like that." Garrett said as he looked at his own right hand, imagining what it must of been like to suffer such an injury.
She sat there in her hammock for a few minutes as she clasped at her forehead and kept her eyes closed, almost like she was trying to will her hangover away. When she finally dropped her hand away, she sighed softly and carefully slipped out of the hammock itself, dropping down on unsteady legs. She stumbled once, but grabbed onto the wooden wall to her left, leaning against it for a few moments before she forced herself to stand up straight.
"Ok, so you're in pain you little bitch. That's nothing new, so push past it, you weakling.", she whispered harshly to herself under her breath before she strode slowly in the direction of Sam's cabin.
It took her longer than usual simply because she took careful, deliberate steps so as not to stumble again, or weave unsteadily. By the time she got to his door, she simply opened it and peered in with half-opened, bloodshot eyes.
"Sam?", she called out quietly.
Annis was outside the Quarter Master's office. It was odd not thinking of it as hers. She wasn't sure if the new woman was inside so she'd knock and wait. If nobody answered she'd push her way inside. There were still some personal effects in there that she wanted. It wouldn't do anything for her reputation if the new recruit found the book of poetry.
She knocked and waited.
After a decent enough time she pushed her way inside and looked about.
Exactly as she'd left it.
Annis opened the third draw down in the built-in desk and pulled out the dog-eared book, pocketing it. The rest of the items within the small office were more of benefit to the Quarter Master than to her, so she left them there.
Stalking back up on deck, Annis saw a woman boarding with an automaton in tow, carrying luggage. There was a good chance that this was the Quarter Master, she had a distinctive silver star and with that much luggage she was clearly here to stay.
"Ms Heatherington-Portnoy I presume? Annis Baker-Cromwell, 2nd mate."
Hah. There you are you little bastard.
Isaac dropped to his belly and threaded an arm through the cluster of pipes under which his watch was lying. It must have dropped there during the last battle and he hadn't even noticed until today. His fingers brushed against the cool metallic surface and with some extended effort, he managed to wrap his middled finger around the chain and pull it back up.
Finally he thought and turned it over, checking for damage. Nothing beyond superficial scuffs, which he wouldn't bother to deal with. The older and more battered the thing looked, the less likely some of the less reputable crew members would get greedy and stupid.
He looked around to make sure the coast was clear before popping first one lid, then the other. It was a fully-functioning watch, but all of the clockwork was minute, intricate, and clung to the back of the face leaving a small compartment underneath. Everything was still there. The miniature map of High Tortuga (his superiors hadn't wanted him getting lost), the three tiny (and uncoated) poison darts, the coloured contact lenses. He frowned. He probably didn't need any of this stuff anymore but he felt uncomfortable about getting rid of it. After all, you never knew when it may come in handy, right? He'd need to move the contacts, though. No longer had any cleaning fluid so they were next to useless.
Watch found, he stuck it in his waistcoat pocket and clambered up on deck, swallowing one of the pills he'd picked up in the market earlier. According to the dock they'd give him about ten times the caffeine boost of his home-brewed coffee so he was eager to see the effects. He didn't really get jittery so more like than not he'd just find it impossible to sleep tonight.
And now he really needed some time to relax. He'd been unsettled and anxious all day, it was time to unwind. He decided the best place to do that would be (as always) the crow's nest.
He clambered up the rigging, one eye taking in the view out onto the landscape surrounding Helium. Still gorgeous after so many years...
There was someone there. The Neobedouin from before, Zach was it? The one that had been arguing with Sheska. Hmm. He wasn't sure what he made of the man. But he'd need to be careful. He looked like he'd just had a rather unpleasant dream, judging from the still mildly sleep-clogged eyes and the thin sheen of sweat.
"Ah." Isaac said.
"Hello again. I sort of expected the place to be... empty, I guess. I can go?"
"I'll be in the mess hall if you need me. Remember what I told you, kid - break that arm, and yours will soon follow. Get it?" Jason told him before leaving.
"Got it..." Roy muttered in reply. It seemed like finishing every order with a threat was common among pirates. Shrugging, he walked over to the chest and looked through all the schematics and design notes, taking out the ones he thought he might need. Roy then laid the papers out on the desk and started working on the arm.
He worked through the plans, getting an idea of how the arm worked and taking notes of all the parts that would need to be modified or replaced and the measurements that he would need to take. But after a while he started to get sidetracked. There were a lot of ways one could add a gun to a mechanical arm. There wasn't enough space to build one into the arm but maybe one that could be attached to the arm?
At first there were only small sketches on the edge of the papers but after a while Roy had a whole page full of different design ideas.
Zach exhaled deeply to gather himself. It wouldn't do after being here for so little time for the rest of the crew to see him a wreck. Issac was suspicious of him, that much was clear. Perhaps he knew that Zach knew what he was. Whether or not he'd be as forthcoming about his past as Sheska had been remained to be seen.
Either way, in his current state he was in no mood for conversation, especially with an ex-Ggun. However, neither was he, unusually, in the mood for confrontation.
"No please," Zach told him, beckoning him over "make yourself comfortable."
Samuel had walked back down into his cabin by now and was working on creating the layout he preferred for physicals on paper when Sheska walked in. Preparing for physicals for the new crew members was time intensive and with so many he doubted he would be leaving again soon, but for now he had bigger things to attend to. He got out of his chair and walked over to Sheska, noting the bloodshot eyes and the fact she hadn't fully walked inside yet. He had seen these symptoms so many times he had lost count, a hangover was the likely culprit. He kept his voice down as he moved to help stabilizer and get her to a bed.
"Have a bit too much to drink?" He asked quietly. Grabbing a couple painkillers and getting a glass of water for her.
"For a while I suggest you drink water. Many of the problems you are experiencing are due to dehydration."
She winced when Sam turned and spoke, and even though he kept his voice down, her head only throbbed and ached more intensely.
"Have a bit too much to drink?".
"That, along with a damn nightmare.", she replied in a hoarse murmur, following him to a bed and carefully sitting down.
When he handed hr a few painkillers, she popped them into her mouth, then grabbed the glass of water and slowly drank it all down in one steady go. While it didn't help her stomach all that much, it did help her sore throat considerably, so she set the glass down once it was empty and nodded gratefully at the doctor.
"Thank you, Sam. I think... I think I might just have to stop drinking.", she told him.
Her expression made it clear that she was very reluctant to go that route, but if being drunk gave her a nightmare that strange, that vivid? Well, she'd rather stop drinking.
The Inquisitor listened to the Rear Admiral before quietly departing from her cabin. He looked around before heading below decks to track down the first mate and interrogate him about his target. He disliked not knowing about his prey, it made him weak, unprepared, vulnerable a situation which he was anxious to remedy. The first mate should be able to provide him with some of the information that he needed about Sheska but he would need another source, perhaps a crewmember of The Mermaid could be convinced to give up some information.
Dismissing such thoughts from his mind the inquisitor arrived at the door of cabin number six and knocked gently.