Aether Shanties RP (PM if interested/Started)

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As Sheska was lead away and Beth merely walked over to the bar Samuel was immediately outraged. Perhaps it was something he expected from having been in the navy but he expected a certain level of loyalty between members of a crew of a ship. As she walked over Samuel quickly scribbled down a message on a nearby napkin and walked to the set of bathrooms which would be right through the route which they were taking Sheska. He "accidentally" bumped into her and placed the note into her hand before hastily apologizing and moving on into the bathroom. The note was simple.

'Will do what I can to help. Do not give up.'

It probably wouldn't help her mood much and he didn't assume she would be giving up, it was more a way of him expressing sympathy for her situation and that, even if Beth were to turn her back on Sheska, there would at least be those who would stand by her. He washed his hands long enough to have gone into the bathroom for a plausible reason before returning. As he left he looked to Beth.

"You aren't honestly going to abandon her are you? You know she had nothing to do with this incident." He at this point made no move to hide his displeasure with the situation, even if it meant he would face reprisal. Sheska doing something to endanger the crew of the mermaid in any way was and insane thought in and of itself.

Adrianna

"Admiral, get into the carriage first, I'll cover you in case they decide to fire again." Garrett said. Adrianna didn't like the plan - she'd have preferred they moved together to hasten the escape - but there wasn't time to argue.

She noted Drustan running toward the source of the disturbance - much to her ire - but let it go. If he didn't make it back, that was his own fault. If he did, she would be sure to have a conversation with him regarding how to follow orders aboard an Imperial vessel.

She arrived at their transportation without much delay. Fortuitously, the rest of her crew seemed to understand the order of things and were ready to move. She grabbed onto the handle of one of the steam-carts. "Get going!" she yelled at the drivers. With a mighty roar, they took off toward the ship. All the carts save hers. Adrianna guided the cart in the opposite direction, toward where Garrett was making his stand. Reaching out her hand, she yelled her orders. "Garrett! Grab hold!"

Ring

The would be assassin watched the exchange on the roof in a mixture of disbelief and barely contained rage. That he - an Imperial Elite, the best of the best - had been stopped by a scurvy ridden, pirate son of a whore was disgusting, dishonorable, and unacceptable. Worse, there was a Helium city trash trying to save him! He'd never be able to live it down!

In fact, he had little reason to try. Ring - still with some wits about him - watched the conversation between the greater and lesser trash; waiting for a chance to make his move. Slowly, he worked his arm free of the knife that pinned him, tearing his arm apart in the process. Then, when the moment was right, he pushed himself forward, slamming into the pirate scum with all his might...

and toward the edge of the roof. "For the Emperor!" he screamed out in his mind. He might fail his mission, but he'd be damned if he didn't take his enemy with him.

Garrett watched as he saw Adrianna and the others reach the carriages and hastily depart in them. He turned back and saw what was going on in front of him back inside the President's house; guards were busy rounding up those who were brandishing weapons. Fortunately, due to his position as an Admiral's bodyguard, he was somewhat exempt from it, even though it took some explaining at first to make sure he wasn't arrested.

His revolver was still aimed towards the roof, Garrett could faintly make the outline of Drustan as he clambered about the rooftops of the surrounding buildings to reach where he was standing now.

"Whatever is that man thinking he is doing. The Admiral is going to have some cross words with him when he gets back, if he gets back." Garrett thought to himself, expressing some small measure of doubt. He didn't have time to think on that for long though, as he could see a carriage coming towards him, with a familiar leaning out.

"Garrett! Grab hold!" Adrianna shouted out as she held out an arm.

"Well, time to go it seems. Hope Drustan can get back safely." Garrett thought to himself as he holstered his revolver, and turned around and raced towards Adrianna, and with a powerful leap, grabbed a hold of her arm just as the steam carriage performed a 180o turn to avoid colliding with anything or anyone. Adrianna helped Garrett pull himself into the empty carriage as it pulled away from the house once more.If he bothered to turn his head, he may have noticed Ring flinging himself off the roof with another person in tow.

Garrett collapsed onto the seat opposite Adrianna as she pulled the door close. He breathed a sigh of relief as he removed his hat.

"Whew, that was a close one, almost knocked a poor unfortunate soul out for six back there. Anyway, thanks for the timely assist." He said with smile.

Pre-Gunshot

The party raged on, food was eaten, the bar was full and constantly handing out drinks, and the dance floor was overwhelmed with couples straining to get a place where the music raged. And there was Eddie right in the middle of it, his coat pockets bulging with fruit stolen from the - STILL - overladen feasting tables. It was a rare occasion for him to see that much food at any one place just sitting out for anyone and anything to just go up to and eat, so he felt it was a good idea for him to take full advantage of the Empire's foolish generosity. This was still HIS city, despite what their Groundling Emperor and the "nobles" thought. Maybe he'd be able to pay them a visit someday, or send them a letter. By visit someday, he meant raid, and by sending a letter, he meant a thirty pound cannon or twenty. All was well in Eddie's mind, even though his shoving through the multitude of people dancing made it more than a bit difficult for them to keep time.

Once out on the other side of the dance-floor, his antics landing him some kind of woman of standing if her dress and look of horror were anything to go by after running into him and proceeding to dance with him, mistaking him for...well, someone else in any case. So far for him, this party had been alright, albeit uneventful except for the little exchange he'd had with the Imperial fancying himself a Skyfolk. Speaking of which, as Eddie took another bite of the orange in his hand, skin and all. And then the shot rang out across the mansion.

Post-Gunshot

The once orderly Neo-Victorians and Skyfolk elite quite quickly became a place of absolute chaos. Chairs were overturned, plates were dropped, only to smash onto the wooden floors, and more than a few shoes were suddenly without owners. And Eddie simply stood in the midst of it, the fruit in his hand dripping as he squeezed it, and spat out the bit he still had in his mouth, grinning ear to ear. The orange he flung at the nearest back he saw and patted a guard on the shoulders.

"Ya know what that is right, buddy? It's a gun! And guns're good things! Amazing things! Terrible things...But no matter! I've got a ship to catch and a crew to burn somewhere out there!"

Running outside, still licking the juice from his fingers, he looked around for the rest of the crew, ecstatic that they'd be leaving soon, he was sure. The food in his pockets was nice and the looks on the Victorian faces was fun, but it still didn't compare to the glorious sunrises or the gaping holes in the port-side of a ship he'd seen. Finally outside after jostling through the veritable mob that quickly wanted to exit the estate - though it made no sense to Eddie, why would they want to go outside where the gunshot was? Why leave now? - and saw a curious sight in the form of the Neo-Victorian-Skyfolk-thing-a-ma-jig-Garrety-Tetty-Takki from earlier, jumping into a carriage. A steam carriage of all things, very interesting. Putting on a burst of speed that was impressive for someone in his attire and career, he quickly left the few guards that noticed him behind in his wake.

Pulling his cannon from the holster, he stopped and fired at the metal walls of the transportation. The shot echoed much louder and longer than the pitiful rifle from earlier, the bullet ripping through the carriage and out the other side, a hole the size of his own head ripped from both walls.

"Dammit!"He said, after noticing that the walls of the inside were not coated with blood as it passed a street lamp, but what he thought was bewilderment,"I missed!!"

Looking behind him, he saw a few guards that had decided to give chase to him. Hurriedly putting the gun away, he raced off into a nearby alley, then randomly took countless turns until he had lost them. Fortunately, he came upon the docks soon after, and, after thanking his luck, began his way back onto the Mermaid, where he saw a few of the crew and officers already on-deck, though there was no Sheska, quite weird, but that's what she got for drinking, that's what anyone got for drinking, going to bed early and missing the best parts of the night and morning.

Jason couldn't believe his eyes. He'd seen some selfish behavior from his superiors in his time as a pirate, but this was one of the coldest and most self-serving dick moves he'd ever had the displeasure of witnessing. Beth had, in one fell swoop, baselessly accused Sheska of causing trouble and effectively abandoned her to the mercy of the Helium City guard. In another time he likely would have drawn a weapon on her in rage, but even drunk he managed to keep his composure, if only barely. He was visibly seething with anger, leveling a furious glare at his so-called 'Captain.'

"Beth. I'm going to be completely frank with you, because it seems to be the only language you're capable of understanding." He shifted forward, letting his voice drop to a hiss. "I'm not going anywhere until Sheska's free and clear. If you have a problem with that, consider this my resignation." He strode off from the bar, shooting a glare back towards Beth as he did so. "Have a nice day, 'Captain.'" He gave another look back, this one lacking its previous venom, as it was directed at Sam. "Come on, Sam. We'll need to gather some manpower if we're gonna bust Sheska out of prison."

"Whew, that was a close one, almost knocked a poor unfortunate soul out for six back there. Anyway, thanks for the timely assist." Garrett said taking a seat in the steam cart across from her, smiling.

Adrianna smirked in return, saying "Well, I can hardly risk losing the best bodyguard I've ever had now could I". Taking off her own admiral's hat, she settled into the ride back to the Invincible. Despite the smile at Garrett, she was hardly in a good mood. While she was certainly happy Garrett had made it back, the danger of the situation in combination with the recent discovery of the pirate's goal left them all in a difficult situation.

"Do you think Drustan will-" she started to say, before a loud bang wracked her ears. Reacting on instinct at the sound of the cannon, she tried to drop into the bottom of the transport, drawing her pistol as she fell. A moment latter, in a cacophony of sound and a vortex of metallic and glass shards, the side of the cart vaporized. Pulling her pistol up, she took aim at the apparent shooter - Eddie; made evident by the miniaturized cannon in his arms. She lined up her shot and pulled lightly on the trigger.

Then the cart pulled around a corner and her chance was gone. "Damn it" she said lowly, annoyed.

While the stand-off with Drustan carried on, the adrenaline and laser focus that had allowed Zach to best the Ggun agent even with a hole in his gut was starting to wane badly. His hands and feet had begun to feel not quite his own, and his vision was blurring at the edges. Zach needed to get out of this situation fast, one way or another.

The Imperial agent seemed to answer his prayed, in the warped, unhelpful sort of way with which the universe was fond of toying with Zach's hopes. Zach stumbled as the assassin charged into him, and only regained his footing as he was one step away from plummeting over the edge. He wasn't going to let it end like that though. The agent had had the strength enough for one last push, and he'd spent it. Zach countered back, pushing them both back into the railing where Zach had pinned the man before. The weight of both of them falling against it collapsed the rail, and Zach had the wits enough to grasp the hilt of Talon, still embedded in the wood, which gave him some purchase.

The Ggun wasn't so lucky. He slipped over the edge a dead weight, with no fight left in him. There was a seconds pause, before a dull crunch as the body came to a sudden rest in the dark alleyway below.

Zach pulled himself up. Not all the way, just enough to rest him arms on the edge of the rooftop. From here he shot one last look of venom at Drustan.

"Next time..." he panted "you stay on the fucking ground; or so help me I will cut your balls off and make you choke on them!"

A minute later, Zach had, more gingerly than usual, made his way down to street level. Heavily armed, bleeding, and next to no difference naked, Zach knew he would make a conspicuous sight. Such would not be a problem if he had only needed to stick to the shadows, but Zach needed to find the rest of the crew, and last he'd known they were still at the party. Besides, in the time it would have taken to sneak his way all the way back to The Mermaid, his blood loss could well take a far more serious turn. He removed his knives from the agent's body, cleaned them, sheathed them, and then stripped the agent of his clothes and dressed himself in them. They were torn and covered in blood, but at least in these he could pass himself off as a victim or an innocent bystander. In the coat pocket he found a photograph of Sheska, younger than the Sheska that Zach knew, with roughly cropped hair and dressed in something which was supposed to resemble a uniform. That answered one of Zach's questions at least. When it was done, Zach made his way, staggering slightly, back over the short distance to the estate, bypassing the front entrance and making his way round towards the back. Better to be discreet.

Beth

She shook her head as Sheska screamed after her. Had the woman really never gotten arrested before? They used to have a plan ready in case of situations where someone on the crew got arrested. Roberts had been the one to make it, and he had taught her to value of never letting anyone on the crew end up behind bars for too long.

The doc was the next one to ask her if she was actually going to leave Sheska behind. "I weren't there to see what happened, and Sheska has acted stupidbly before. Though of course I wasn't planning on leaving her behind." She whispered through her teeth to him.

She lead the crew out towards the street, when a loud gunshot could be heard at the entrance, and soon a bunch of guards pushed past them, and went after... Eddie. Just great. Beth hoped he could get rid off them on his own. They couldn't all get imprisoned if they wanted to leave the city sometime soon.

Jason was the next one to step up, and assume she was going to leave Sheska behind. She facepalmed after having to listen to him hiss, and then leaving her to speak with the doc. Had no one gotten arrested since she became captain? Despite some of her crew throwing hissy fits at the moment, she wanted to pat herself on the back. It was common for mermaids to get caught when Roberts had been captain, but now it seemed that it was such a rare occurance that they reacted as if the ship had crashed.

Beth kept walking, leading the majority of the crew away from the chaos at the party, and towards the ship. If Sheska had never been arrested before in her life, then she could see it as a learning experience, while Beth made sure that the rest of her crew didn't end up dead or worse.

Drustan still remained fairly reserved throughout the discourse with the Neobeduin guy, because it's best to be cautious and prepared in these kinds of situations, yet was still genuinely surprised when the dead guy on the roof he might've known got up and tackled the other guy. Of course, the man who still had a hand made a impressive last minute save as he snatched a conviently-located knife. The handless guy tumbled off the roof and (presumably) fell to his death, based on that 'crunch' noise that soon followed.

After this debacle, the victorious combatant hopped back down to street level, but not before leaving Drustan with an invaluable piece of advice:

"Next time you stay on the fucking ground; or so help me I will cut your balls off and make you choke on them!"

"Jackhole!" was the only appropriate response Drustan could come up with. It seemed to work. Unfortunately though, this was about the time when a bunch of intimidating guards started filing out of the party building, and one or two of them gave him dirty looks and pointed in his direction. Sure, Drustan wanted a fight, but he didn't want to be mobbed by a squadron of grouchy guards who would probably kick his ass.

Being the rational human being he is, Drustan sprinted far away from the security enforcers, D'teth swinging from some loops on his belt as he ran. He heard the whistling and clanking of the mechanical carriages he arrived in, and while he doubted he could catch up to them on the rooftops, he was probably sure he could get back to the Invincible before it was too late.

"Well, I can hardly risk losing the best bodyguard I've ever had now could I." Adrianna said with a smirk as the carriage pulled itself along the cobbled streets and heading back towards the Invincible. Garrett couldn't help but crack a smile and laugh briefly.

"Do you think Drustan will-" Adrianna started to say before a loud bang could be heard. Time seem to slow down for a moment, as a miniature cannonball came crashing through the carriage. Acting on both his instinct and duty to protect Adrianna, Garrett crouched down above her to shield her from an array of broken glass and metal. A few shards stuck into his coat, but fortunately for him he couldn't feel any pierce his flesh.

As time caught up with them, Garrett shuffled over to one side to allow Adrianna to rise up and aim her pistol at the attacker - Eddie, that man, if one could call him that who dare insult the pair of them, this was made even more clearer by the miniature cannon he clutched in his arms. Garrett stood up with his revolver drawn, his eyes filled with anger as he aimed at Eddie, and was about to pull the trigger when the carriage at just the wrong moment turned a corner, and with it the pirate disappeared from view.

"Damn it!" Adrianna said in a low tone, clearly annoyed at what just happened.

"How DARE he do that!" Garrett said in anger fueled voice, as he punched at a decorative wooden piece of the carriage, causing it to break off in his hand. He chucked it down to the floor of the carriage as he removed his coat, tossing it to where his hat lay. Garrett took a few moments to breathe and calm down.

"You alright Adrianna? Did the blast hurt you?" Garrett asked, his voice more calm now, he'd forget this incident for now; right at this moment, Adrianna's safety came first.

"Very well then Beth, but I hope you have a plan to get her out as well. If you do you've never shared it with me, and if not then I'll have to try something rather stupid." He muttered the last sentence to himself as he followed behind Beth as they left. He turned to Jason.

"At the very least I need to get my weapon and formulate a plan. I'm not going to run in there half-cocked and unarmed to try some daring rescue that probably won't work. Two men versus an army of guards is liable to get us both killed and Sheska further implicated in whatever madness is going on. We both know she did nothing wrong except try to gather and protect us, trying to break her out right now would be hurting not helping. Much as I wish it weren't the case." He sounded truly regretful that he couldn't just run off and get her out, but if he got arrested or shot then the situation would only get worse, something he would rather avoid. Not to mention the assurance from Beth that they weren't just leaving Sheska behind allayed his worry and calmed him somewhat.

Vasco cowered in the steam-cart as shots when off. There was no doubt that they were not fireworks, like earlier in the party. This so-called party had turned ugly. One spark, and the pretense of peace shattered. Vasco frowned. Here Garrett and the Rear-Admiral were fighting the enemy with gusto and he was just hiding in a hunk of wood, metal and smoke. He felt so useless. It was all so petty. And he was stuck doing nothing. Vasco gave a sigh. His face became a facade of stone. His eyes stared ahead into space, blankly. He could not let the anger take over. Last time he did that, Vasco found himself demoted and assigned to the ship of castoffs. Yes, they had a special place for them. For all of the Neo-Victorians who didn't hold hate for everything foreign in their, for those who did not bind themselves to tradition... The doctor's work had distracted him from that fact.

Even when he knew it deep down. Maybe Annis was right. Maybe it was better to throw oneself blindly into hate and fury then look on with an open mind. Vasco mediated on this for a bit, 'Perhaps... But that is not who I am. That is not what I stand for. Samuel, you have given me faith. Faith in the idea that there are good people on both sides. For that, I thank you. The timing of this is impeccable. Maybe Fate wishes for me to see that the typical pirate shoots and pillages. No matter, I will continue to fix up the broken bodies they leave behind.' A smirk escaped his lips. Maybe this exile of sorts wasn't so bad if he could continue to help people. With a flick of the wrist, he let loose the bowtie into the wind. He closed his eyes, then opened them. Without pause, he stood up and shouted over to the rear, where he assumed Rear-Adrimal and her bodyguard was, "Ms. Adrinna; Mr. Corvus. Do not hesitate to ask if you need any medical attention."

-Sheska-

As she, along with several other guests that had gotten themselves arrested, were led out of a discreet back exit, Sheska carefully looked at the note that Sam had managed to pass her before she was shoved out.

"Will do what I can to help. Do not give up.".

She suppressed a smile. Sam would be the one to make sure to reassure her. But the fact that Beth had done anything but worried her. It wasn't like her to outright abandon a member of her crew, but she had been acting... Differently since the night they had slept together. Yet another reason to regret that, she thought with a grimace. As she glanced back, she managed to spot someone who looked vaguely like Zach.

The problem was that he was wearing a uniform. A very familiar Imperial uniform. Chances were, he managed to snag one for a disguise, but where he got it was a guess at best.

Once she knew that he was looking in her direction, she shook her head once, then crumpled up the note and dropped it. Seconds later, she was shoved forward and ordered to keep her eyes ahead by a particularly gruff guard, who she promptly growled at.

But in the back of her mind, she hoped that Zach knew what she was trying to tell him: Trail behind, then help Sam help her. Getting her out of this mess was going to take more than just one man.

It was about a half-hour until she and the other prisoners were escorted up and into the Helium City Prison Facility. As she looked around, she had to nod approvingly. "Well, it's certainly cleaner than the jails in Everglade.", she murmured, remembering when she had been arrested the first time.

She had been thirteen then. That arrest marked the end of what little childhood she had, and the beginning of her unwilling service to the Empire.

After she was processed and searched for any other weapons, she was tossed into a large cell along with the others. All of them promptly kept their distance from her, and one another, as she took a place in the corner, below one of the barred windows. If Sam, along with some other members of the crew he would no doubt press-gang into helping, were going to rescue her, it was best she sit tight and keep a keen eye on things.

"You alright Adrianna? Did the blast hurt you?" Garrett said after calming himself down. Apparently the pirate bastard's attack hit a particular nerve. For her part, Adrianna was inclined to agree with him; the Imperial's had been nothing but civil the entire night so far as she could see. They'd done nothing to warrant such an audacious attempt on their lives.

Then again, what could she expect from pirate scum.

Clearing her own mind of the clouding, unnecessary thoughts, she turned to her lover and responded. "I'm quite fine, thank you." she said as she returned to what was left of her seat. Seeing the state of his coat - now sitting upon the ruins of the opposite seat - she cast a worried glance at him, adding "but are you?" before moving to check his back for any damage he might have taken.

"I'm quite fine, thank you." Adrianna said as she looked back on the remains of her seat, then towards the state of his coat, a few remaining shards sticking out; it could be repaired given enough time, to the point where it would look seamless. The strong willed Admiral then cast a worried glance towards Garrett. "But are you?" She asked with concern, as she began to look over his back, checking for signs of damage. Garrett gave a reassuring smile.

"Yeah, I'm fine, can't feel any blood loss anywhere, looks like its mostly just a couple of aches, nothing that a good nights sleep won't fix. Besides, you and me, we've been through tougher scrapes than this. Remember the Reaper's Fury? We blew that thing to kingdom come, compare to that, this was small potatoes." Garrett said as he let out a short chuckle.

"Mind you, this was a much more confined space compared to the corridors of that Pirate Frigate, lot less room to maneuver. "

'Well thanks a fucking bunch Issac! Knew I could count on you...'

Zach watched Sheska being led away by some of Madam Remmington's guards, after the rest of the crew had set off back to the Mermaid. There weren't that many escorting Sheska personally, and Zach briefly considered taking them, before thinking better of it. Too much had already gone awry tonight. He needed to start acting like a hunter again. Take a step back, study the terrain and consider his options, before making his next move, and risking a massive diplomatic incident while The Mermaid was still in port was not going to help anyone concerned. As much as he may hate to admit it, Zach wasn't sure he even had it in him to take those guards even if he wanted too. Zach had taken enough wounds before to know that if the bullet had hit anything serious when it passed though him, he'd be in much worse shape than he was in right now. Still, the adrenaline from the fight with the Ggun operative had well and truly work off now. Zach was in pain, the entire left side of his torso was stiffening up, and he knew he had lost quite a bit of blood. He was in no fit shape for a fight right now, and if he didn't seek help soon he'd be fit for far less than that.

When the coast was clear, Zach retrieved the note Sheska had dropped. He didn't recognise the handwriting, but from the style he'd hazard a guess at Samuel. Funny, the doctor hadn't struck him as a man of action. Nevertheless, it was foolhardy. Zach once again cursed Drustan for his interruption. If Zach could know by now if there were other operatives in the city waiting to make a move of Sheska, plotting his next move would have been a lot easier. For now, Zach had to assume the dead agent hadn't been working alone, and that meant any member of the Mermaid's crew attempting a half-cocked rescue could be walking into a whole lot of trouble. Zach had a role on The Mermaid just like everyone else, and his role was to spot trouble before everyone else walked right into it. As much as he might prefer the thought of going in quickly, and not giving the Ggun any time to regroup, he'd be failing in his duty to not inform the Captain of what he knew. That failure could put the entire crew at risk, not just Sheska and the handful she had been arrested with. In any case, there was much about the Captain Zach was still unsure of, and her reaction to news of this sort could tell him a lot. Sheska, in part because of her abrasiveness, was one of the few crew members Zach had so far decided he liked, and the only one to gain even an iota of his trust, and he would rather not leave her in the lurch, just when it was starting to feel like he'd gained a friend in this crew. Be that as it may, all things considered going to Captain Beth first was the most sensible option. It was always possible that, if there were other agents looking for Sheska, that they would know what ship she arrived here on, but not her current location. If that was the case, then it may well be that in custody was the safest place for Sheska to be right now.

Too many unknowns. Too many variables. Zach needed to make sure all angles were covered. A careless hunter can be worse than a blind one.

A few minutes later, utilizing a few shortcuts he'd become familiar with during his time among the criminal classes of Helium, Zach had caught up with the rest of the crew heading back to The Mermaid.

"Captain." Zach's voice was strained in his greeting, but even so he still managed his token half-smile and sardonic bow. "I have news, and you're going to want to hear it... before I pass out that is."

"...lot less room to maneuver." Garrett said in a laugh. It was good to hear him in a somewhat calmer mood.

"Please; I've had tougher scrapes against you." she replied, laughing slightly. Honestly, it was true. Though she hated to admit it, she'd had more of her wounds from his blade than the rest of the pirates she'd faced in her career. Only one wound had been worse, and it had the distinction of being from a cannon. That said, the same was probably true of Garrett (save the fact he hadn't been hit by a cannon yet.)

That's not to say she somehow held this against him; if anything it made her glad to have him at her side. It had certainly reduced her reliance of the skills of Dr. Roque and his trade; a positive in nearly everyone's books.

"Edward or whoever he is hardly compares." she said with a grin, finishing her response. "Now, I'd still like you to get a once over when we get to the Invincible; just for precautions sake. You were after all just in an exploding carriage; it seems an appropriate measure." she said on a more serious note; even if he didn't feel it, of any metal had embedded itself, the chance for Tenuous grew a thousand fold.

"Please; I've had tougher scrapes against you." Adrianna said with a small laugh. Garrett chuckled.

"Too true my dear, too true. Was that when we were enemies, in our romantic endeavor, or both?" Garrett then asked with a slight smirk as he calmed down, counting out the options with one hand. He could feel a light breeze gently tussling his hair about a little, but not enough to be a distraction.

"Edward or whoever he is hardly compares." Adrianna said with a mischievous little grin, making Garrett smile.

"Now, I'd still like you to get a once over when we get to the Invincible; just for precautions sake. You were after all just in an exploding carriage; it seems an appropriate measure." Adrianna said in a more serious tone, something more expecting of her position as an Admiral, though Garrett could detect a small measure of concern, which he expected.

"Indeed you are correct, making sure that your bodyguard is in fighting condition seems most appropriate, and I will do so because you have asked me to. On the condition that you get yourself looked over by Doctor Roque as well; I mean you were in the exploding carriage as well, and I wouldn't want you to be hurt either, and not just because its my job to see you safe."

Wilhelmena

She saw, and heard, Eddie blasting a hole in the cart that Adrianna, and her bodyguard was in. Wilhelmena wasn't in the same cart. She figured it was better to ride in a cart with people that weren't important enough to shoot at. She was alone in a carriage with her new companion, DT. The automaton had been given to her.

"I fail to see the humour in the situation." DT said.

Wilhelmena had grinned, but concealed it with her hand. She thought he hadn't noticed. "Well, you are an automaton."

"Even so, they may have been hurt."

It may have made her task easier if they had been, but she doubted it. If anything, it would hopefully stop them from underestimating the mermaids again, and avoid the situation that had happened a couple of times after they had left the city. Wilhelmena just wanted to break the pattern, and anything unexpected that happened could be a great thing.

Beth

She made a dismissive gesture towards Zach, as he caught up to them. "It can wait. Doc, take care of him." One of the crew members helped Zach, by letting him steady himself on them. Beth lead them up the tower, and across the gangplank to the mermaid.

There were still some hours left of the night. The crew dispersed when they got onboard the ship. Beth would have gone to sleep as well, but someone had sabotaged the Mermaid when they had been at the party, and she couldn't sleep when her baby was hurt. She stayed up for a few hours, mostly spending the time shouting obscenities in her cabin, before drinking herself into a stupor and passing out in her chair.

The next day she was too upset about the ship, to remember those who had gotten arrested at the party until it was evening. Beth couldn't break them out of prison, as they would have to make a quick escape and the Mermaid wasn't able to do it in her current condition. Remmington had been pleasant enough at the party, and she figured that it couldn't hurt to send her a messenger asking the president to let her crew out. She didn't get any reply.

However, the crew was released the next morning, with their possessions, including weapons, returned to them. Beth was glad that she didn't have to break them out of prison, and risk harming her relationship with the president more than she already might have.

There was an uneasy atmosphere aboard the ship after their return, and Beth left for the remaining of the day, giving the excuse that she needed to take care of some business.

On the third day after the party, the ship was finally repaired. The captain had returned early in the morning, and was now standing at the helm of the ship with a smile across her face. She gave the order for castoff, and steered the ship away from Helium City. It was a glorious sight to leave the city behind them, as they headed northeast.

Three Days Post-Party

"... and that is WHY, Mr. Cynwrig, I EXPECT my crew to follow orders when I give them." Adrianna finished, chewing out the mercenary three days later then she wished she had. Were it not for the need for all crew on deck to achieve the vessel's greatest speed, she'd have tossed the disobedient sailor off the vessel at 30,000 ft. As it stood, he's spent the last few days in the worst jobs the Invincible had to offer; cleaning decks, moving cargo, and generally difficult labor. Though he would likely not see it this way, it was lucky he was under her command. A more stern commander would have had him flogged as an example to the crew.

Putting down her admiral's hat on the table, she turned from him and stared out the glass window and into the blue sky. "You are dismissed Mr. Cywring. I should hope further conversations will prove unnecessary." She waited until the crew mate left then stretched her wrist. The blast in the carriage had caused her to sprain the joint, and it was only now just healing. The result was a dull pain that never seemed to settle, but at least one she could manage.

Turning around, she made her way to the map on her table, ready to make plot of their course before the light fell from the sky. With any luck, the Mermaid wouldn't catch up.

Zach nursed mixed feelings in his solitude up in the Crows Nest, as Helium city disappeared out of sight behind The Mermaid. On the one hand, it felt refreshing to have a solid purpose again, rather than languishing in that cesspit praying on common thugs for the measly few coins they could provide. He was also averse to staying in any one place for too long, on the off chance that any one of the trail of bodies that he had left in his wake might catch up too him, and after four months, the city had begun to chafe. Any longer and he might have started to develop a reputation. On the other hand, in its own way Helium had offered an element of security. When such a melting pot of different factions came together in one place, there was always someone willing to pay for Zach's services; always something to guard, or steal, or kill. The jobs may have ended as quickly as they came, but Zach could always be assured that there would be a new one before he could spend all his wage. That was over now, and now he was heading off into the barely known, on a mission no-one could be sure yet how to accomplish, with a crew who had a handful of members at most who weren't completely out of their depth.

Despite all of his numerous skills, the one thing Zach could solidly attribute to him having survived for this long was that he was careful. It was second nature to all those who had grown up as outriders, where one hasty move or missed clue could mean the difference between life and death, to not take any action until all risk had been quantified and accounted for. On this mission, almost nothing could be quantified and accounted for, and what little Zach had been able to deduce from talking to (and eavesdropping on) crew-members who had been on The Mermaid since their last stop at High Tortuga had given Zach no insight on how their current destiny might be averted. It would seem that he, the one responsible for warding against threats to The Mermaid and her crew, was as in over his head as the rest of them, and that thought was not comforting.

Zach was angry too, about the sabotage on The Mermaid, although his anger was a more private one than Beth's. No matter what others might make of his attitude, he took his job very seriously, and for the ship to be desecrated while he was out at a party felt like a personal slight on his competence. Of course, if he had stayed behind, Sheska and Lord knows who else would likely be dead. However, as distasteful as Zach may have found thinking it, perhaps that would have been a better outcome pragmatically, considering the time they had wasted making repairs.

'No use! What's done is done, and I won't let it happen again.'

The moment he had been released from Samuel's care, he had gone straight to the Captain and told her of his findings and the risks they posed. If the Chuno Ggun had been able to track Sheska down to Helium, then they must know about The Mermaid, and the Ggun are not known for being forgiving. As soon as word reached them that their assassination attempt had failed, they would surely try again, and thus he had advised changing their planned route as soon as they left the city, to shake any pursuers off their tail. He had got the impression that Beth had at least listened; but whether or not she thought continuing on their direct path was still worth the new risk to make up for lost time remained to be seen. Regardless, telling her was the only action he could take in good faith... and Zach also figured it was time for him to throw the Captain a bone, taking the first step towards proving both his ability and his loyalty. He still didn't entirely trust her judgement, and he was certain it would take more than one minor success to make her trust his, but it still served no useful purpose to provoke her into second guessing everything he said or did.

Turning his gaze away from the now vanished silhouette of Helium's great tower, Zach occupied the time by polishing his bow. It had been his since he was thirteen, and still the beauty of its elegantly and intricately carved design entranced him. A compound bow of yew, bone-jointed and painted black, its complex design gave it range, power and maneuverability over even the very best re-curve designs, combined with its taut string of worm silk, painstakingly entwined layer over layer, made it the most accurate weapon (in the right hands) that Zach had ever encountered. The arrows would still dip before the bullet from a long rifle, inevitably; but what it lacked in power by comparison it made up for in poise and finesse. In the time it would take another sniper to load, aim, and fire once at their maximum range, regardless of whether or not they hit anything, Zach could loose 5 shafts, and kill five men, at his.

Getting to his feet, Zach winced a little as the area around his wound unwound its developing cramp. His treatment in Samuel's sick bay had involved little more than some injections, stitches and a bandage round his waist (nothing else was needed with the bullet having passed right though him) and three days later Zach was almost fully recovered, but it would still be stiff and sore on occasion. Straightening up, Zach tossed an apple high and far into the air. As soon as the fruit had left the tips of his fingers, Zach picked up his bow and notched a broad-head. He took a second as his eyes focused on the arcing trajectory of the apple, feeling the direction of the wind on his face as his mind automatically started working out a thousand subtle details. In one fluid motion, he drew and loosed the shaft.

The broad-head struck one inch off the center of his target, slicing a significant chunk of the side of the apple before it disappeared out of sight, but leaving the core intact. Perched above him, Oswin gave a squawk of derision, before flying down onto Zach's shoulder.

"Don't give me that look!" he told the parrot reproachfully. "I admit it wasn't by best, but I'm three days out of practice and still wounded. I'd like to see you do better."

-Sheska-

Three Days Post-Party

Sheska wasn't happy. She had felt abandoned during her stay in prison, along with a few of the other crewmates who were unlucky enough to have been caught alongside her. Though she wondered whether or not Beth was going to leave without them, she had kept it to herself, and reassured the men that they would be released or broken out thanks to the Captain soon enough.

But by the time they were released, a full two days later, she asked whether they were let go on request, and had gotten no reply. So once she got to the Mermaid, she was quietly seething, and had only gotten more infuriated when she realized that both Beth had left the ship 'on business', and that the Mermaid had been sabotaged while she was imprisoned.

After she interrogated Jason as to what had happened with the ship, she berated Samuel to help her out of the party dress she was still wearing. Thankfully, her shipment from Simmyns Outfitters had arrived as well, making that one of the few consolations that she had.

It was by the next day that she finally heard the rumors about the ship of Zach having killed a Ggun assassin, specifically one meant for her. It didn't take long to find him near the bow of the ship.

She strode up, wearing a blood red longcoat bearing her new emblem: That of a black wolfs skull in the center of a winding floral pattern, much like that of her party dress. When she reached him, she spotted his parrot, Oswin, flying down to perch on his shoulder.

"Don't give me that look! I admit it wasn't by best, but I'm three days out of practice and still wounded. I'd like to see you do better.".

At least someone else was in a similar mood to her own. "Being wounded should be more of a factor than being three days out of practice. If three days is long enough to dull your skills, they weren't very sharp to begin with.", she pointed out with a quirked brow.

She stopped next to him and tilted her head to one side. "So, I heard you took out an assassin at the party. One meant for me. Took me awhile to hear, since the goddamned guards locked me up. Is what I'm hearing true?", she asked easily, her eyes locked firmly onto his.

"You'd be surprised." Zach said, still staring at the spot in the sky where the apple had been moments before. "The weapon is part of you, an extension of your own body. Imagine if you walked around for three days with your eyes shut. The first time you opened them again, it would take you a while before you could see anything clearly. Besides, if that apple had been a man's heart he's still be dead, even if it didn't conform to Oswin's high standards of marksmanship"

As to her inquiry about the Ggun operative, Zach withdrew the blood-stained photograph from the waistband of his loose fitting black trousers. "His one and only parting gift. I would have extracted more out of him, but there was some interference."

Zach was finding Sheska's features unusually difficult to read. There was a lot going on under there and it made Zach feel none too easy.

"So... is this the part where you thank me, or would you have rather that I'd left him for you as well like that Imperial cunt at the bar?" he asked, not impolitely.

-Sheska-

She had to snort softly at his reply concerning being out of practice.

"You'd be surprised. The weapon is part of you, an extension of your own body. Imagine if you walked around for three days with your eyes shut. The first time you opened them again, it would take you a while before you could see anything clearly. Besides, if that apple had been a man's heart he's still be dead, even if it didn't conform to Oswin's high standards of marksmanship.".

"Well, I've always preferred to be up-close-and-personal, though I could still hit something or someone a decent distance away with my revolver. Or at least, I could before I lost my damn arm. That should be changing soon, though.", she told him.

It was then that she reached down and pulled out a bloodstained photo and handed it to her. She took it, as as she looked it over, her expression changed to one of both mild sorrow, and slight disgust.

It was of her, back when she had still been in the Chuno Ggun. She wore the uniform, and it was filthy, as was her bruised and bloodied face and her short cropped, straight hair. Her right eye had been swollen shut with a full shiner, but the eye that was still open showed a little fire, so it couldn't have been very long after it was taken that she had escaped.

"So... is this the part where you thank me, or would you have rather that I'd left him for you as well like that Imperial cunt at the bar?".

She looked up and blinked, then she had to smirk. Slipping the photo into her coat, she sighed. "Well, since you saved my ass without asking, I guess that means this is where I thank you.", she said.

Then she reached over and grabbed his shoulder and pulled him towards her for a quick, hard kiss.

When she pulled back about half a minute later, she stepped away from him a bit. "So, thanks. I know you didn't have to do that, and I'm pretty damn sure you didn't know the bastard was meant for me till after. But I figure you deserve something after getting wounded like that on what essentially was my account.", she told him.

It was not something that happened often, but Zach was honestly dumbstruck for a few seconds. This was the same Sheska right? The same one that had only a few days previously wanted to introduce Zach's groin to the warm end of a blowtorch? He'd won people over before, but this was quite the turn around.

What should he do? Move in for a second kiss? No, too much. Tell a joke? Yes! That was better. Jokes were good...

"What, this?" He inquired, glancing down at his bandage. "That's nothing. Barely spent more than ten minutes in the sick bay. The real sacrifice here was the last night of drunken debauchery in Helium that I missed out on. Honestly, it brings a tear to my eye to think of all the girls that must have gone home disappointed that night. I was thinking we should mount a small plaque just here, in honour of my noble deeds. The rest of the crew could leave flowers and the Captain could say a few words... just, y'know, a small service."

The mock sorrow dispensed with, Zach took a step closer, his fingers gently brushing the edge of her arm-less shoulder.

"Anyway," he said, his voice low. "You get well soon..."

He tossed another apple as hard as he could out into the skies, and took another shot. This time, the arrow punctured the fruit dead center. Lodging halfway though, the arrow and still intact apple fell out of the sky together.

"I know I will." he said, before taking his leave and making his way down towards engineering. He wanted to see a man about some high-explosives.

-Sheska-

She blinked at his reaction, then simply stared flatly at him as he joked around in faux sadness.

"What, this? That's nothing. Barely spent more than ten minutes in the sick bay. The real sacrifice here was the last night of drunken debauchery in Helium that I missed out on. Honestly, it brings a tear to my eye to think of all the girls that must have gone home disappointed that night. I was thinking we should mount a small plaque just here, in honour of my noble deeds. The rest of the crew could leave flowers and the Captain could say a few words... just, y'know, a small service.".

She just huffed once. "Ok, I may have just kissed you, but don't forget, I am armed. Don't make me shoot you, Zach.", she told him.

However, she was taken aback when he came closer, then gently brushed against her wounded shoulder, causing her to quirk a brow.

"Anyway, you get well soon...".

It was immediately after that that he tossed another apple into the air, this time piercing its center with the loosed arrow. As it descended, Sheska caught it handily by the shaft, and watched as he strode off in the direction of the lower decks.

With a small frown, she shook her head slowly, then shrugged and took a bite of the still-impaled apple. She was going to have to teach him that there were better ways of practicing than using perfectly good food, she thought as she made her way to the railing nearby. She had to admit though, she was starting to like him, despite his sense of humor. He may just have a place on the ship after all.

Samuel had helped Sheska remove her dress before getting the surgery to attach the new arm ready. Once all preperations were complete he walked up onto the deck to find her near a railing.

"The surgery is ready whenever you are Sheska. For what it is worth I'm sorry that I couldn't do anything to get you out sooner, but I wouldn't have abandoned a patient under any circumstances." With that little bit said he walked back down to the makeshift sickbay and washed his hands as well as cleaned his tools in antiseptic. Glad to have gone out and purchased more supplies so that he could take the precautions necessary for the surgery.

-Sheska-

Sheska was taken aback just slightly as Sam came up from behind her. She turned in the middle of taking another bite of the impaled apple, chewing on it surprisingly quietly as he spoke.

"The surgery is ready whenever you are Sheska. For what it is worth I'm sorry that I couldn't do anything to get you out sooner, but I wouldn't have abandoned a patient under any circumstances.".

When she swallowed, she smiled just slightly and shrugged. "I know that, Sam. Otherwise you wouldn't have handed me that message. I was just hoping I would've been out sooner. I hate being in a goddamn cage.", she said.

There was a quiet pause as she stretched, then she sighed. "Well, I'm ready to have two arms again, so I'll be down there in a little bit. I just hope this isn't going to be as painful as losing the arm was.", she half-joked, smirking as she took a final bite, this time chewing on it like she normally would, which was loudly and messily.

As he headed down below-deck, she swallowed, then bit down on the remaining apple core and tugged the arrow free. Setting the intact arrow on a nearby barrel, she spat the apple off of the side. Then she strode towards Sam's cabin herself, wondering what exactly the installation of her new arm would entail.

- Garrett -

The last three days were quiet and peaceful, which was an appreciated change for all on-board the Invincible after the chaos that had been the party at the Presidential Palace. After they had set sail, Garrett had been to visit the Infirmary to have himself checked over as per Adrianna's orders. To his surprise and with a sigh of relief; the worst he had sustained were small cut across his back along with a few bumps and bruises. All of which could be healed with bed rest and some light medication to help ease the pain of the stitches.

Thinking back to what had happened, Garrett realised that he would need to go back to practicing his technique, so he would be ready if the Mermaid ever showed up again. So he spent the free time he had whilst not on duty up on deck, honed his swordsmanship with some of the crew using practice weapons, realising that they'll need to brush up on their skills as well.

- Three Days After The Party -

"PULL!" Garrett said in a loud voice, and watched as a empty glass bottle was thrown out over the side of the ship. He followed the flying bottle with his revolver, lined up the shot, and pulled back on the trigger. Seconds later the bottle could be seen shattering into a cloud of shards, falling like rain drops on the ground below.

"Sir, do you honestly think that this is a good idea? I mean it is a waste of ammunition." Asked the crewman that was helping Garrett.

"It may be a waste, but I've got to keep my skills up somehow, you never know when the Mermaid might rear its head again, and I want to be ready. Hurl another one."

"Of course Sir." The crewman threw another bottle out, and like the ten previous, it shattered into a myriad of shards.

"Pardon me for asking Sir, but how come your shots are so precise?"

"It pays to have something or someone to act as a focus."

"What would yours be?" The crewman asked nervously.

"My anger and frustration at the man who shot a miniature cannonball at the carriage that myself and the Admiral were occupying. With the right mindset crewman, rage is a hell of an anesthetic, helps fight through the pain; but don't overdo it."

Exeter

Exeter stood on top deck, staring out into the sky, cringing in annoyance every time he heard the Admiral's pet scream out "PULL!" followed by a shot. While he could understand the need to train with an armament to keep one's skill well polished, the mere fact it was the skyfolk dog doing it ruined any kind of respect he would otherwise have had.

That, and he'd awoken to the sound of the shots.

He'd been staring at the clouds ahead since coming to top deck - mostly thinking of the letter he'd acquired. Why had the Admiral hidden the details, and what did it mean for his own mission. Perhaps it was some kind of trap, but then it wasn't something he could risk. Exeter shook his head clear of the thought as he heard another glass bottle being thrown.

Exeter drew his gun, planning to shoot the bottle before the mercenary could get the chance. His shot was lined up perfectly, he squeezed the trigger slightly, but never pulled it back in force. The bottle exploded thanks to Garrett's shot, but Exeter had lost all concern for the bottle or the mercenary before it happened. Exeter ran to the nearest communication tube, opened it up, and screamed "Pirates! 5:30 at -45!"

At once, the ship was alive with activity - every sailor arming themselves and bringing the ship to bear.

image

Ciel

"Pirates! 5:30 at -45!"

Hearing the report, Ciel sprang into action, bringing the engineering team under control. "Alright! Team 1: I want you shoveling coal into those boilers like your lives depend on it!' she said, leaving out the unneeded "because they do". "Team 2 and 3: get up through the decks. If something breaks, I want it fixed! Team 4: I want you here and keeping these engines running no matter the cost! Everyone got that?" she said, earning a "Yes, Sir" for her actions.

Ciel smiled - she liked being in charge. She quickly tossed each of the teams a pair of spider drones to be her eyes, ears, arms, and legs around the ship and turned to the newest engineer; James. "James; I don't know what you can do, but either do it or stay out of the way." she said quickly, not having time for anything else.

Then, she jumped into the fray with Team 4 - ready to keep the Invincible invincible.

Adrianna

"Pirates! 5:30 at -45!"

Hearing the commotion, she quickly dressed for battle. Though her wrist still hurt, she grabbed her sword and pistol and put on her armored coat. She wasn't about to let some pirates get the best of her.

Stepping outside, she calmly walked up to the wheel and drew her spyglass - drawing a eye on the enemy ship. "Hard to port and load those cannons!" she called out, fully expecting her orders to be followed.

"James; I don't know what you can do, but either do it or stay out of the way."

James had been lounging around for the most part, playing with one of Ciel's spider-drones in an attempt to build an immunity. He made sure to keep an eye on some of the engineer's, maybe pick up a trade secret or two.

But in the end, he was bored. He was honestly glad that they had been attacked. It saved him from the usual monotony of air life. Who would've thought the Imperials were this boring. Certainly not he...

James got up, and walked over to a nearby mop. He spread his grip, and placed his foot in the center. A healthy snap could be heard, and James tore off a sleeve. Within a minute, he had a brand new wooden shanking device for his non-dominant hand!

"I'm gonna go see how I can help topside, try to stay safe... And maybe keep the ship afloat." He gave a small salute as he rushed towards the deck, intent on getting a piece of the action.

The days after the party hadn't been Jason's best, even by his standards. After shouting at Beth, he managed to calm himself enough to let Sam talk him down from storming Helium City Jail. It was a hard pill to swallow, but Sheska was a tough one - she'd have to endure some time in the slammer, if only to allow them time to organize an escape. He trundled back with the rest of the crew, drunk but still cognizant enough to throw a glare at anyone stupid enough to try and give him any crap.

Any plans he had to help Sheska out of prison, however, went right out the window when he saw the state of the ship upon his return. Some bastard - Imps, if he had his guess - had made a mess of the place. By the residue left behind, explosives. Luckily for the crew, the engine itself seemed intact, at the very least, meaning they weren't very good at their jobs. Even airborne it wouldn't take long to get the engine back at full capacity. He gave his usual spiel to Jake and Fry - 'If this happens again on your watch, I'm going to throw you off the ship myself, yada yada' - then went to work.

He was interrupted by Sheska's arrival on-board just before they cast off. Understandably angry, she demanded details concerning the sabotage, but he reassured her that he had it under control. 'You think I'm letting some prick with a pail of black powder keep MY ship down? Relax.'

After seeing her storm off - something about talking to Sam - he remembered the little test he gave Roy. Perhaps he'd managed to get something done in the last few days? He turned to his second-in-command. "Fry - get me Roy." He nodded and walked off, taking his time as usual. Lazy bastard...

After the party, things had returned to some sort of normality. Vasco was back in his usual get-up, and very glad to be back in that mask. Dressing up for that party had turned out to be an utter waste anyway. Three days blurred into each other as stitches were sewn and bones were set. Bits of blueprints, tubing and something resembling a mask lay in tidy piles on his desk. Once again, the doctor had lost himself in his work. One could say that he was running on autopilot. Regardless, he would continue to fix people, for long as he was needed, for as long those raiders continued to be a thorn in the side of the Empire. Dr. Roque would not shirk from that duty. The call came, announcing that a pirate had been spotted. Time for the Invincible to live up to its name. Vasco was ready. Ready to tend to the injured. Ready to practice medicine.

Roy didn't remember much of anything about the end of the party, only that he had somehow managed to get back to the ship by the end of it. He spent most of the next day sleeping off the hangover and it wasn't until evening when he felt well enough to continue working again, staying up the whole night to make up for lost time.

He heard the next day that Sheska had been imprisoned but she'd already returned to the ship by then so there was no point in worrying but all the more reason to get the plans for her new arm finished and as many of the new parts done as possible.

Roy had just finished one of the more crucial parts and was checking its measurements when one of Jason's lackeys came over to fetch him.

"Already?" Roy cursed. He still had more parts to finish and his report needed some ordering but it couldn't be helped. He grabbed his papers and hurried over to Jason.

Oley stowed his pieces of craftsmanship away, feeling that he wouldn't be needing them anytime soon. He decided to make his way up to the main deck, seeing as there was nothing left on his list of duties and he may as well watch as The Mermaid made its departure from Helium City. Clambering topside, he saw crew members watching as the city became smaller and smaller in their vision. Others bustled around, performing what jobs they were tasked with or perhaps just trying to keep active. Either way, he had no intention of disturbing what business they had and approached the stern of the vessel, keeping his eyes on the waning view of the city. The automaton sighed in relief, or at least in a tone he felt suited the feeling. Hardly ever having been in enough social situations to really get a good grasp on many of human vocalizations, he actually felt he was getting them down fairly well. At any rate, he felt things were really looking up for him. It would only be a matter of time, he assured himself, until he would get the opportunity to really prove his worth to the captain and crew.

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