Aether Shanties RP (PM if interested/Started)

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Isaac shrugged.
"Eh, break's a break. Don't mind missing it, work keeps my mind moving."
Honestly, Isaac wasn't sure what to say about the whole situation. Sheska said she'd stamp the thoughts down and he believed that. But it wouldn't help her any. If she was stressing about failing the captain, even a little, he had to try and help

"Sheska... look at it this way. If that was the Captain from the future, we've already got a warning, right? We can be prepared for whatever's coming. Future ain't fixed. And you won't fail the captain."
He winked.
"Not on my watch anyhow."

Isaac looked out at the sky again.

"Speaking of work, I need to go and get a read on what weather we're going to be facing. Reckon I'll be at the prow or up the nest if you need me."

Feron-12

For some reason, he was hiding. It had only been moments before, but he still shook with something he couldn't recognise, and his vision was unnaturally blurred.

He wanted to throw up.

That, thing, that, monster growling and snarling and thrashing about. He'd heard it coming, stamping down the stairs, iron-shod boots echoing harshly. Something had arrested his, until then, unwavering movements. Head up, arms stopped, make no noises. That Man was here.

Before he'd recognised his actions Feron-12 had quietly picked up the bucket and placed the rag inside, before carrying it with him into the darkest corner of his workplace.

There, hidden in the black, he watched the man descend further. Feron's was jittery. Every one of his loose or rusty parts squeaked and rattled unfathomably loud to his audio-sensory apparatus as he sequestered his body farther and farther back into the black.

He was feeling... something. Something he didn't understand. Something that crept and coiled and was dark and full of pain.

The first heavy-handed thwack split the air, followed by a muffled sound like a dog rolling across the ground, injured and sorry.

Feron winced as more blows landed on the invisible thing down below, feeling each of them as if it was his own pain, his own beatings that he'd experienced. Pain was different to them, those automata, but it still existed. And he knew it well. His previous master had known well how to exercise Feron's understanding of the feeling, and manipulate him mercilessly with it. Esepcially after... that time.

His thoughts were punctuated with the continued sounds of a beating. Heavy. Hard. Unforgiving. Like his masters. He had stopped working, he'd be punished just like this, just like the misbegotten down the, all animal and no longer a man. More alive than the burnished automaton hiding in the dark, scared like-

Scared. He was scared. Fearful. Terrified, horrified of the repercussions of hiding and skiving off work, of being found by the man and being beaten like the dog-animal below-

He was leaving. Bootfalls climbed the stairs and left.

Feron stayed exactly where he was.

It was only when a lantern illuminated him that he rose from the crouched position that he had been in, huddled and holding his knees together. The presence of the doctor somewhat soothed his frazzled mind and he almost gleefully slipped back into the unthinking, uncomprehending, pool of obscurity.
Just follow the orders, all and everyone. Do as you're told and there will be no pain, no beating, nothing. I am safe as long as I follow.

The misbegotten was a mess though. Mewling and rolling across the floor of its cage. But Feron stood as upright as he could, eyes as glazed as he could make them. He would not look. He would not notice.

Grateful that the automaton would obey, he moved into the corner where Capricorn lay. The thing was simply staring at him, holding the remains of a rotten onion. Vasco huffed, so this was what Exeter feed his pet. The misbegotten was covered in scars, fresh and old. Vasco was already mentally noting the number of fresh wounds that would need to be cleaned, the risk of infection here was too great. Capricorn's death would be probably be slow and painful, from a pus-filled wound that Exeter himself had inflicted, that or in a fight where Exeter had set him on somebody for either the amusement or convenience of it. The misbegotten was still blankly staring at him at those goat-like eyes, those eyes that had been crying, those eyes that showed no signs of awareness or intelligences. Eyes like a goat's, with the intelligence of a goat. Vasco had finished looking at the recent damage, the same as always, but it was more work that would be undone.

He guessed he would have to explain himself to the creature. Choosing simple words so that Capricorn would hopefully understand him, Vasco said, "You are dirty; I will clean you. You are wounded; I will heal you," He then indicated to Capricorn to stand out with arms overhead.

The thing was hardly mentally aware, but could carry out simple instructions and there was many a place of someone of Capricorn's physique. Like the sick bay perhaps, sure it was small and cramped, but someone had to carry patients to and fro in stretchers. It would get Capricorn out of these conditions, the snowy-white hair would not be trashed by dirt, and Vasco would finally have an assistant on-board. The misbegotten clearly knew some discipline and obedience so that wouldn't be a problem. But then, the loyal dog would have to be trained to avoid the more dangerous things in the sick bay. If it would eat a rotten onion, what would stop it from swigging some morphine? Plus the fact that anything in the sick was toxic in a high enough dosage. He would have to talk about it to Exeter later as the man would not be in the mood now.

"I take it that everyone has their orders then? If so, is there anything that I can help with m'lady Admiral?" Garrett said from the doorway as the officers of the Invincible left the room. It was a breath of fresh air to see a face without thoughts of playing the Imperial game for power.

She smiled at his entrance, unable to hide her sense of relief that the games for power were, at least for a time, on hold. She waved him in without much fanfare, saying "Yes, please come in Mr. Corvus. We are plotting a course east - our first stop being Helium. I'm afraid we must make the trek with the utmost swiftness and I could use your navigational expertise."

It was at that moment that Adrianna became once more conscious of Exeter St. John, and so she returned to her state of usual formality. "Mr. St. John, I'm anxious to hear your opinion on the route and how to best reach the arctic. I personally have never been quiet that far north and east - my knowledge takes me to about a hundred miles south or west of Old New York; have you any familiarity with the far Northeast?" she asked, though by her tone and gestures, she meant the question to both Exeter and Garrett.

-Sheska-

"Eh, break's a break. Don't mind missing it, work keeps my mind moving.".

Sheska couldn't help but smirk. "You're like me, really. I can't stand sitting still unless I have a drink in my hand, otherwise I prefer moving or killing.", she said, laughing softly even as she kept them on course.

"I suppose that's something ex-Chuno Ggun all share.", she added softly, feeling it was safe since they were the only ones at the helm.

Then Izzy spoke up again, and managed to make her worries ease just a little.

"Sheska... look at it this way. If that was the Captain from the future, we've already got a warning, right? We can be prepared for whatever's coming. Future ain't fixed. And you won't fail the captain. Not on my watch anyhow."

Her mouth curved just enough to form a small, natural smile. "Thanks for that Izzy. Its good to know I have your help.", she said.

But when he mentioned being on the prow of the ship, she hesitated, then glanced over. "Hey, one last thing. Whats with you and Jess? There's something going on, I know it. What is it?", she asked, her eyes narrowed on his and her nose scenting the air unconsciously.

And as always, Isaac wasn't entirely sure how to act when Sheska brought up the past. Even in passing, it was... odd. She didn't feel the need to hide it. But she'd had no choice. She was Misbegotten, it had been join the Ggun or die a slow and painful death in the factories. Isaac wasn't. He was just a man. Yes, he may have been under the influence of his masters but he could have stopped and he didn't. Because it was familiar. Safe, almost. If he hadn't ran into that Performer on that fateful night he'd still be doing it now. Maybe he'd even still be in this ship, infiltrating.

He shook his head, this didn't bear thinking about. Past was the past, best let it stay that way.

"Hey, one last thing. What's with you and Jess? There's something going on, I know it. What is it?"
Isaac looked up sharply. For a brief moment his face showed more of what he was feeling than he wanted, but he quickly regained his composure, and tried to avoid Sheska's gaze.

"I... I'm sure I don't know what you... Does she like me?"

He hadn't meant to blurt that out, and his face flushed.

"I mean. Um. Nothing, Sheska. Nothing's going on." though the tone of his voice was clearly declaring he wished otherwise.

-Sheska-

She could see he was uncomfortable with her mentioning the Chuno Ggun in passing, and really, she couldn't blame him. They both had the Ggun to blame for a few of their problems. For her, they took her away from the only family she had at the time, trained her to be a tracker, a killer, and abused her at every given moment. It was only when she killed her abusive officer that she realized her own strength, that she didn't need to take that sort of shit anymore.

For Isaac, he was taken against his will too, brainwashed... He wasn't himself when he did what he did, whereas she could still remember feeling a semblance of pleasure mixed with shame, deep down when she killed a target. She was herself, he was not. So he had nothing to feel sorry for, or guilty about as far as she was concerned: Someone else committed those acts, not him.

His reply is what snapped her back into the here-and-now.

"I... I'm sure I don't know what you... Does she like me?"

She glanced over with wide, surprised eyes, then a slow, catlike grin spread on her face. "Oh, so thats it. I didn't know you felt that way about her Izzy. Shes lucky. Have you told her how you feel about her yet?", she asked, her tone and the expression on her face brightening, and even bordering on the sickeningly cheerful.

If there was anything she loved more than taking a life, it was the idea of romance. Sadly, it never seemed to happen to her. Then again, she didn't have much time to try.

She had hoped that Samuel would tell her that it had been an impostor or clone. It came as a positive surprise to hear that she had been killed by an imperial blade though.

"Heh, those bastards again." She grinned and placed her hand on her weapon, which she probably wouldn't be able to loosen now anyway. "Well, I will enjoy avenging my own death."

Jason started shouting at her as well, but Sheska told him to be quiet before she got a chance to answer. Beth headed down below deck while listening to the doc tell her more about her future self's death.

My feet were damaged from a hard fall? She moved her wings a bit, the other Beth had wings too. She shouldn't take fall damage very easily. Her wings weren't the strongest, but that sounded reckless. Maybe she got shot down.

"Sure, you can be there when I go through my belongings, but I don't expect to find anything special. What about her wings though, doc?"

He warned her about cutting down on the drinking. She frowned, if she didn't turn into an alcoholic after seeing herself die, he didn't need to worry. It was kind of interesting. Beth usually didn't drink much unless she was reminded of her past or trying to push the pain of being alive in this world away. She didn't drink much by pirate standards at least.

They arrived at her cabin and she let the doc in, so he could be there when she searched through her belongings.

"Put the basket on the bed."

She began to rifle through it after he had put it down. There were clothes, a dress, shoes and underwear. That was expected. The next thing she found was her weapon, or future version of it. It was dirty, even disgusting. Dried blood and other things covered the sickle part, the chain looked abused.

"What the hell, take better care of your weapon..." She put it on the desk for the moment.

Her pocket watch must be here, Beth had it attached to her clothing, since she might drop it otherwise. The pocket watch wasn't in the basket. Instead she found a silver necklace. She held it up against the light, to check if it was real. As far as she could tell, it was indeed made of silver.

"Why would I have a silver necklace... I don't buy useless accessories." It probably didn't tell them anything about her death, but to her, it was the most peculiar thing in the basket. "Seems you were right about the fight, doc. I always clean my weapon after one."

There was nothing else to find in the basket.

"Yes, please come in Mr. Corvus. We are plotting a course east - our first stop being Helium. I'm afraid we must make the trek with the utmost swiftness and I could use your navigational expertise." Adrianna said, bringing Garrett up to speed with events. She briefly showed a smile, one which would of been missed by Exeter, who was busy going over maps. Garrett soon joined the two admirals over by the navigation table; and began looking over the various routes which they could take.

"Mr. St. John, I'm anxious to hear your opinion on the route and how to best reach the arctic. I personally have never been quite that far north and east - my knowledge takes me to about a hundred miles south or west of Old New York; have you any familiarity with the far Northeast?" She asked, although her tone and gestures showed that the question was for both gentlemen. Garrett coughed, bringing attention to himself.

"Pardon me for interrupting Admiral, but I happen have knowledge of the North Eastern area, as in and around that area, is the place I call home. Fortunately, I could plot us a course when we reach roughly that location at the time, as to avoid it."

"Oh, so that's it. I didn't know you felt that way about her Izzy. Shes lucky. Have you told her how you feel about her yet?"

Isaac's eyes widened in genuine fear.
"What? I can't do that!"
Before Sheska could answer his mind started shuffling through all the reasons he couldn't say anything before he realised he couldn't really think of anything beyond "I just can't". Why did being a person have to be so hard? He'd never had to worry about this kind of thing before. It was increasingly unpleasant.

-Sheska-

Isaac's reply was disappointing.

"What? I can't do that!".

Her mouth formed a thin, disapproving line as she looked at him blandly. "And why not? Do you think you two will have anything together if neither of you say anything about how you feel? Please. If she feels something for you, you can't rely on her to say something first. You need to tell her. If she doesn't go for it, and she'd be an idiot not to, that's her loss. If she accepts, well, I guess you can move into her cabin.", she said, shrugging.

Then she looked at him more seriously. "I mean it, Izzy. Tell her. Better yet, kiss her too. Make it good, and be your charming self. I know you can do it. If you do, and she feels something for you, I don't think you can fail.", she said confidently, the cheer seeping back into her tone.

"If she doesn't go for it, and she'd be an idiot not to, that's her loss.
Be an idiot not to? Not really, Isaac would understand completely. He's quiet, somewhat anti-social, totally paranoid and he wasn't exactly what you'd call good-looking.

Who'd be interested in him? Exactly, nobody.

He was about to say as much when Sheska caught him with her eyes, a trick she'd been using since they'd both sussed out they'd worked for the same employers. So he was quiet and listened.

"I mean it, Izzy. Tell her. Better yet, kiss her too. Make it good, and be your charming self. I know you can do it. If you do, and she feels something for you, I don't think you can fail."

There hadn't been a charming Isaac in at least three years. Charming Isaac had murdered people in their sleep.
What if by trying to emulate his old training more than just the knowledge came back? He'd never found out how The Performer had deprogrammed him. It was a risk he just couldn't take. This was more honest, both to himself and to the crew. Things were better without the old Isaac around.

He looked at Sheska and smiled slightly.
"I'll consider it. But now I really should be getting a read on the weather."

After leaving the Helm Isaac wandered past the crew, lost in thought.
Sheska was probably right - she usually was and when it came to understanding this sort of thing she had a lot more experience than he did. But this was all extremely distracting. The more Isaac tried to think things through the more time was lost on his work, and his work was vital. Of course he'd never allow his judgement to be clouded in a life-or-death situation but it was a slippery slope.

He needed a clear head, and the Crow's Nest was just about perfect for that. His mind was already back on the maps as he scaled the rigging. That's what he loved about the 'Nest. With the wind in your hair and the sky below you everything seemed just so much simpler.
Calm, sobering and best of all, solitary.

Speaking of solitary...

"Oh." Isaac nearly fell off when he got to the top. Of course somebody would be up... oh.
"Erm..."
It was Jessie. Isaac you idiot, she's a bloody sniper, it's her job to be high places. How did you forget that?

He looked around desperately, his face flushing even in the cold night air.

"I'll... I'll just be off. Sorry to bother you. Didn't heh, didn't think there'd be anyone up here."

"Your wings were damaged but not greatly so. They still would help in a fall but not much. Again all of it was consistent with battle." Samuel replied as he looked over at her.

"What did she give you? I was busy checking her vitals so I didn't get much a chance to see. I'm concerned that wherever it is we are going, there will be dire consequences for the crew. For you to have sustained this much damage you were either leading the battle, in a particularly brutal one on one affair, or most concerning you were one of the last people standing. As the physician on board this ship it is my duty to care for the crew. In that vain I advise you be extremely cautious and take steps to better arm and armor this ship and her crew. I myself will be spending most of my own cuts of treasure on medicine, tools, and preventative care measures from here on in. You should do your version of the same." Samuel told her, his usual smile gone from his face this time. His methods may have been experimental and unorthodox many times but he did care about the lives under his charge.

Beth wasn't sure what to do with the necklace. Perhaps she should see it as a gift from her future, but how had she gotten it?

"What did she give you?"

He went on to explain how she should be more careful with the crew and the ship, if they were heading somewhere her future had been killed, but gone back in time and died instead. It was getting confusing for her now.

She wondered if she should show him the map and decided that it wouldn't hurt. No one had seen it, other than her. Beth went over to the safe and opened it, then she picked up the map and spread it across her desk. It was like any other map of North America, except that a place had been marked in the north east corner of the continent.

"She gave me a map."

"Well if it was something strong or important enough to send you back in time to deliver it and get the empire interested then we should make sure to get there first. Now I can understand your haste at least." Samuel said as he looked at the map.

"I just wish she had given us a bit more to go on, maybe some way for us to prepare against what she faced. At least I know to get ready for cold weather conditions and to stock up on preserved fruit while I can. Though ma'am, if I may make one more suggestion? Share this with senior members of the crew, officers at the very least. That way we might all prepare our respective groups for the worst."

I haven't decided to go there yet.

Beth sighed, knowing that she probably would end up doing so anyway. She hadn't felt this unsure in quite some time.

"I will show them tomorrow. Right now, I need to sleep and sober up." The doctor was pushed out of the room and then she laid down on her bed, hoping that they wouldn't run into trouble before she awoke again.

It didn't take long for her to fall asleep. It wasn't a good sleep though, as she kept twisting and turning in her bed. Weird dreams haunted her, but a figure kept coming into them and changing them for the better.


Beth woke up hours later with a headache, no surprise there. She checked her pocket watch, to see that the time was now 3 pm in the afternoon. Her stomach rumbled to remind her that she hadn't eaten for hours, but first she wanted to make sure there hadn't been any problems or attacks whilst she had slept.

When she stepped onto the deck again, the sun shone in her face and it was hot. They had left the mountains behind them and entered the desert. The silhouette of a pyramid and skycrapers could be seen on the horizon. Beth yawned, then went over to the railing and admired the view. It was mostly sand, but she could make out what looked like a neobeduin tribe and some animals.

-Sheska-

In the few hours where the Captain slept, Sheska kept a dutiful eye on the horizon, making sure they were still on course while occasionally consulting Izzy through the basic intercom system the ship had. In that time, the swelling of her left eye subsided somewhat so that she could open it at least halfway, and her own headache had eased, though only a little.

She was humming 'Welcome to High Tortuga' when she saw the captain come out, glancing over the railing. "Cap'n! You manage to sleep off most of that rum? Feel any better?", she called over as loudly as she was comfortable with.

She had no doubt that Beth was dealing with a hangover right now, and if she spoke too loud, she knew she was just going to make it worse.

-Exeter St John-

Exeter rubbed his eyes wearily as Garrett answered the Admiral. He had been without sleep for too long. He would need a few hours rest to recuperate his strength. As Garrett stopped speaking, Exeter nodded. For once, he agreed with the man.

"It's been a long time but I have been in that area a few times. Sentinel Bay-" he glanced at Garrett, face serious, "-your trusted bodyguard's home, is a deathtrap for a ship flying the Empire's colours. I had an..." he hesitated, head waving from side-to-side in indecision. Eventually he cleared his thorat briskly and continued. "Well, let's just say an unfortunate experience on an Imperial Frigate a few years back. We barely made it out alive."

Exeter placed a finger on the map to indicate Sentinel Bay's location. "It's about there Admiral, although I'm sure Mr. Corvus can verify the city's exact coordinates. Considering the place is his home, I'd recommend that in this regard, his knowledge is much more valuable than mine." As much as it pained Exeter to admit it, the statement was entirely true. As long as the tame pirate could be trusted, that is.

"Another thing," A smile crept onto Exeter's face, his eyes sparkling with mirth. "The conditions up there are particularly bad. I would advise getting a set of warm clothes as soon as we can; the wind up there could slice you in half."

-Capricorn-

The Misbegotten felt a spark of familiarity with the beaked-creature in front of him. He stared blankly as it addressed him in a muffled voice.

"You are dirty; I will clean you. You are wounded; I will heal you," Although he didn't know the words, Capricorn recognised the tone of voice. A tone that his master rarely ever used, a tone of voice spared for the people who made the pain lessen.

Capricorn limped forward, his chains rattling and scraping as he moved. Stopping a few feet from Vasco, he slowly raised his arms above his head and made a loud guttural sound. Obedient as ever, the misbegotten pet waited for the beaked figue to do his work.

Lanester looked between Garrett and Exeter and, to her great surprise, found them in agreement. If there was any sign of a good voyage, it was this. "V...Very well; I will differ to your experience on such matters Mr. Corvus." she said, unable to hide her sense of shock at the strange turn of events. "Mr. St. John; you will take 2nd command. Until then, you are dismissed and off duty. Go get some rest until then; you look as though you need it." she said, letting the first mate go.

Grabbing the map, she exited the chamber and approached the wheel. "Ms. Baker-Cromwell; We have our heading. Make for East-Northeast; we're going to try to catch the trade winds to see if we can cut the fat from our journey." she said, then moved back to the wall before her cabin; watching Annis to see how she handled the ship.

Remembering her earlier thoughts on the good sign, she reconsidered and knocked her hand on the wall twice, muttering the older-than-the-empire phrase "Knock on wood." She didn't hold much stock in superstitions or luck, but they never hurt.

She took a moment to watch Desolation fade out of view; realizing - even if they did return to the Empire intact and with their goal; she would likely never see the city of Desolation again. Good Riddance she thought to herself, thinking instead of Old Borealis - a fine final stop.

Garrett was somewhat stunned when it appeared Exeter had agreed with him. It was the first time that the two had actually gotten along on this voyage, at least in a speaking manner. Exeter then placed a finger on a spot of the map where Sentinel Bay's location was. "It's about there Admiral, although I'm sure Mr. Corvus can verify the city's exact coordinates. Considering the place is his home, I'd recommend that in this regard, his knowledge is much more valuable than mine."

"Yes of course Mr. St. John, Sentinel Bay's location is roughly in that area. Once we set sail, I shall cross-reference it with some more local and precise maps to help provide a more accurate point regarding its exact location though." Exeter soon departed from the navigation room, making his way towards his quarters for a well earned rest. Garrett meanwhile, whilst feeling a little tired, still had some energy about him.

Adrianna then gave Annis their heading, then proceeded to give old saying of 'Knock on wood' a try, given that the agreement between Garrett and Exeter was a good sign. Garrett soon approached her, as the sight of Desolation faded from view. Knowing that Exeter wasn't around, he asked a question.

"Are you surprised as I am, that Exeter actually agreed with me?"

"Ms. Baker-Cromwell; We have our heading. Make for East-Northeast; we're going to try to catch the trade winds to see if we can cut the fat from our journey."

"Rear-Admiral" Annis responded, still concentrating on steering the ship.
She hadn't piloted a frigate in a long time and it was taking all of her effort to clear the rust out of her technique. She made minute adjustments to the course to better suit the directions Adrianna had given and prepared a number of switches for different tasks; thrust, altitude, fuel mixture... it was an old dance and she was glad she remembered the tune as well as she did.

As the Rear-Admiral left the cabin, she heard a distinct rapping on the wall. Annis frowned. Superstition? From Lanester?

...Did she doubt Annis?

An icy feeling flooded her stomach and the quill began to sting something fierce.
Why would the Rear-Admiral doubt her? Had she done something wrong? No, she couldn't have done. Her disciplinary record was exemplary and she had kept in peak physical and mental condition since her assignment aboard this vessel.

Maybe she was reading too much into the situation. Lanester had been under a lot of stress lately, hadn't she? Maybe, maybe not. It wasn't Annis' place to care about her superiors' personal lives.

These thoughts would cloud her judgement. She had to clear her mind.

The weight of the scrap of paper in her breast pocket was suddenly very real.

Not long after she had returned to active duty, Annis had been in a stand-up-knock-down brawl with some pirates aboard their ship. After the fighters in the crew were all dead she had headed down below to clear out the rest and encountered a man that had fancied himself a historian. He'd clutched the books so tightly when Annis had strangled him that she couldn't help but look at one.

Burnt along with the rest now of course, but one page in particular had stayed with her. She could ever remember the words by heart now.

"When I consider how my light is spent
  E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
  And that one Talent which is death to hide,
  Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent..."

Annis recited the rest of the sonnet quietly to herself as the ship plunged ponderously into the air.

As the Invincibile shook, a signal that they had left Desolation, Vasco studied the creature before him in the lamplight. The Misbegotten grunted and complied with the order and with that Vasco started his work. He went through the various steps of wound treatment, though he had already assessed the patient once or twice already, he did so again, in his delicate, but efficient manner. Trails of blood betrayed where the flesh wounds lay in the mess of dull scars, which itself betrayed a history of beatings and neglect. After that, he moved to characterise the numerous wounds that marred the surface of Capricorn skin, looking at the size and depth of the wounds and other such things. They were mostly lacerations and abrasions, with some contusions. Vasco sighed, if this went on, Capricorn might develop a crush injury with all the stress his body had taken.

Nevertheless, he moved on and began to clean the wounds, applying a fair amount of pressure as he did so. Always assume lacerations are contaminated, 30% always are. However, with the sheer amount of wounds it was like giving the Misbegotten a sponge bath than wound treatment. He grabbed a needle and some surgical thread from the tray, and made sure that the particularly long and nasty wound on his thigh got some stitches. That one would definitely leave a scar, especially if Exeter was true to form and reopened old wounds. Feron-12 simply stared at Vasco while he did his work, watching the crow-headed figure weave about, covering red cuts with slightly stained white bandages, but not before leaving stained squares of brown in the center of the red craters. Hopefully it or Exeter wouldn't tear the bandages apart, enough resources had been wasted already.

It was done, Vasco checked over and over numerous times and found himself happy with his work. He retrieved the lantern from Feron-12 and the tray from the stand, then ascended the stairs and ladders back up to the sick bay, glad to get out of that dirty place. Though not with the huffing and the puffing involved. Pity he couldn't ascend those things as fast as he would have liked, but then again, everybody had limitations and he had his.

"Are you surprised as I am, that Exeter actually agreed with me?"

Adrianna had been staring off at the city and caught unaware. As such, she was startled at the address.When she had recovered, Adrianna took a moment to glance around, confirming no one was within hearing range and responded. "That obvious am I? Seeing Mr. St. John differ to another on a matter related to pirates; I didn't believe I would live to see the day." she said with a small wiry grin. She took a moment to stare once more out at the horizon, toward the shimmer the was Desolation. She pondered their orders for a moment and all her annoyances and stress came back.

"Do you think we'll make it Garrett?" she asked, softly enough that the wind would take the question from all but its intended recipient. She honestly had no idea. the voyage itself would be difficult int he extreme, but when their return hinged on a piece of technology that probably did not exist... it was frustrating and disheartening all at the same time.

"Cap'n! You manage to sleep off most of that rum? Feel any better?"

She nodded and turned to Sheska at the helm, while still leaning against the railing. The wind tore at her hair, and pulled it out, which made it hard to see when it got in her face. It was something she didn't enjoy, but had gotten used too. Her hair grew out as long within a couple of weeks, if she cut it. Fortunately it stopped growing at that point.

"Aye, just a headache. Maybe the doc can help me with that though."

Beth wondered if Sheska might have been at the wheel, since she went to bed and that was hours ago. She felt selfish for losing control yesterday and would have to make up for it today.

"How are you feeling? I trust the night went by without any major issues." She brushed her hair away from her mouth. Damn that wind. "Actually, I need to talk to everyone. Well, everyone of importance."

It was uneccessary to show the whole crew the map, better some of them didn't know.

"If you're not in any immediate need of sleep, I'd like to have you by my si.. There."

She smiled, hopefully the others weren't that tired either. They would need to know where she had told herself to go. It would be worse if she didn't tell them and they found out when they were halfway to the arctic.

-Sheska-

"Aye, just a headache. Maybe the doc can help me with that though.".

"I would hope so, Cap'n. Its good to know you're sober now, you gave us all a fright with the cast off, and then threatening to kill poor Izzy. We all worry about you, but you know we have to worry about the ship, too. It goes down, we'll likely all die with it. That's scary shit.", Sheska told her, then she shrugged when the Captain asked how she was feeling.

"My eye isn't as swollen anymore, and I don't have as much of a headache myself. Other than a little tired, I'm right as rain. Night and morning went by without a fuss.", she reassured her.

"Actually, I need to talk to everyone. Well, everyone of importance. If you're not in any immediate need of sleep, I'd like to have you by my si.. There.".

Hearing that, Sheska smiled widely and nodded. "Of course, Cap'n Beth. It's good to see you're back to mostly normal again.", she said happily.

She started to pull away, then hesitated and grimaced. "Ah, we may want to have that meeting here, Cap'n. Seeing as I have to steer the ship and keep it on course and all.", she said, laughing awkwardly.

Samuel had run an experiment to make a natural solution for his stomach ills made from water and a selection of herbs he had purchased in port. For the moment it seemed to be working somewhat as he had eaten a bit of a traditional skyfolk stew and been forced to vomit over the side of the ship only twice. He figured if he increased the potency with less water and perhaps a finer grinding of the active ingredients he could have an effective way of limiting his stomach troubles.

'Hopefully it will work, I can't keep using the medicine for my own needs. Besides what kind of doctor would I be if I didn't find alternatives?' He thought as he set about grinding more of the ingredients, still queasy but to a lesser extent than he would have been otherwise. Though he was sure he would look green to anyone else.

Adrianna was still looking back at the increasingly disappearing view of Desolation, and so was startled when Garrett made the address. Giving herself a brief moment to recover, and once she was sure that no one else is around or within hearing range, she responded.

"That obvious am I? Seeing Mr. St. John differ to another on a matter related to pirates; I didn't believe I would live to see the day." She said with a wiry grin.

"Yeah, you did have that slightly stunned expression on your face when he agreed. Perhaps he realised that someone with my specialist knowledge of the local area, was a good thing to have." Garrett remarked in a slightly proud manner, feeling good that he managed to get on Exeter's good side, if the man had one that is.

"Do you think we'll make it Garrett?" Adrianna asked softly, quiet enough that the wind would hide to all except its recipient.

"I have a good feeling we will. With you leading us, with Annis making sure we sail straight, with Vasco making sure our injuries are tended to; even with Exeter making sure things are in order, and with me by your side, I'm sure we will make it." He said with a reassuring tone, and a smile to match. Garrett switched to a softer tone.

"Now then, what are we going to do after this mission is over?"

She heard someone coming up the crow's nest when they were still a fair distance below her. That was one of the advantages of the place - easy to spot everyone else, not so easy to be spotted. She'd leaned against the far end of the barrel as Isaac came up, calmly waiting.

He seemed deep in his own thoughts as he set about climbing up, not spotting her until he was already in the nest. That brought a faint grin to her lips, but it faded when she noticed the way his expression changed abruptly upon spotting her.

"I'll... I'll just be off. Sorry to bother you. Didn't heh, didn't think there'd be anyone up here."

"Oy, don't be silly now, Isaac." She chuckled, shaking her head slowly as the smile returned in full force. "Just breathing some of the night air, I don't need to keep the 'nest. Suppose you do, to check on the weather and such?"

She leaned back on the railing, casting her gaze ahead. Nights were dark enough that the ground far below was only a faintly visible outline, the dark shapes of mountains making a ragged edge of the vague skyline. She breathed deep, letting the night wind get into her hair and fill her lungs, then turned back to navigator.

"Ye'll have to teach me some of that some day. The winds and directions and gadgets ye all use? Could come in handy." She nodded earnestly, a brief pause. "Suppose ye need to focus on your work just now, though?" She made for the railing, clearly about to climb down.

Taking the first watch seemed like it would be a good idea. It would mean going to sleep earlier, and getting up in time to enjoy the day.

"I think you're one of the few that worries about me. Most of the crew doesn't care about me, to them I'm just another captain on another ship." She stepped over to Sheska and patted her on the back, before reaching for the intercom. Time to wake the lazy ones up.

"Ah, we may want to have that meeting here, Cap'n. Seeing as I have to steer the ship and keep it on course and all."

Sheska's awkward laugh cheered her up.

"Aye, might be best to do it that way. I'll just need to get the map and some food first."

She activated the intercom with the press of a button and made it broadcast across the entire ship.

"Attention crew of the mermaid, this is your captain speaking. All the officers and anyone that isn't busy with their work or asleep, should come to the helm within half an hour. I have plans to discuss with the officers."

Beth figured that inviting the crew wouldn't result in much anyway, since they didn't need to show up if they didn't want to. The ambitious ones who wanted a promotion might show up and if they were going to do it at the helm, then the rest would be able to overhear them anyway.

"Well, I'll be back soon." She left the helm and headed for her cabin, to get the map and find something to eat on the way.

-Sheska-

"You're my friend, not just my Captain, Beth. Of course I worry about you. Besides, while I hope to eventually Captain The Mermaid myself, I'm not ready for that just yet.", she added slyly, chuckling to herself.

"Well, I'll be back soon.".

"Oh! If you can, could you get me a bottle of my rum? Its stashed just behind my accordion, next to your cabin door. I could use a drink. Been a few hours since my last.", she called over, the tension she had easing.

While things were from from back to normal, it felt like they were getting that way. Hopefully this meeting would answer some of the questions she had. Like who that other Beth really was, where she came from. Why they needed to be warned. Of course, that didn't answer the most important question to the First Mates mind: Who killed her Captain, so she could kill the son of a whore first.

Samuel got a glass of water and a couple of painkillers before going to the helm. The captain had been quite visibly drunk before and it was rather obvious she would need to rehydrate and probably need something for the pain. It was a common cure but it worked and didn't have any side effects so the captain could still be on top of things. He calmly stepped onto the planks of the helm.

"Captain good to see you are awake. I brought you some water and painkillers for the hangover I'm sure you are having if yesterday were any indication." He said as he walked over to where Beth was and held out the two painkillers and the glass of water. He looked to Sheska as he held out the items to Beth.

"Good afternoon, ma'am. How are you?"

"Attention crew of the mermaid, this is your captain speaking. All the officers and anyone that isn't busy with their work or asleep, should come to the helm within half an hour. I have plans to discuss with the officers."

Still on deck, Eddie heard the announcement and made his way from the front of the ship where he'd been watching them make their way for the night, relishing the air blowing on his face. It was always a welcome feeling to him, and he expected it to be for years to come. He sighed and entered the helm, Sheska and the Captain talking before he arrived.

"So's Cap, this have anything to do with the dead you in the bottom of the ship? More importantly, where we goin'?"

-Last Night-
"Ye'll have to teach me some of that some day. The winds and directions and gadgets ye all use? Could come in handy." She nodded earnestly, a brief pause. "Suppose ye need to focus on your work just now, though?"

Isaac watched as she started to leave. He was about to offer a mute "okay", when he had a sudden vision of Sheska backhanding him again.

"Erm, actually." he said, trying to make it sound casual.
"I'm not doing anything too hard tonight, just getting a read for planning tomorrow. You could probably stay and watch. If you wanted. You don't have to."

"Attention crew of the mermaid, this is your captain speaking. All the officers and anyone that isn't busy with their work or asleep, should come to the helm within half an hour. I have plans to discuss with the officers."

Jason was still stone asleep. He'd been tending to the engines long into the night, and he had wordlessly set up his hammock when he realized he was so tired he couldn't walk straight. His favored underlings, Fry and Jake, stood over him.

"Uh.. Fry? Should we...?" Jake looked to his friend, his body language betraying his nervousness. Jason' harsh demeanor had always intimidated him, being timid in nature. "Yea. He'd be pissed if we got him in trouble with the Captain." He twisted his face into a wolfish grin, holding a bucket of water to his sides. "And we both know how heavily he sleeps. May as well have some fun with this..." He raised the bucket over Jason's head and tipped it over, spilling its contents on his face. He awoke with a violent start, giving a confused sputter. His confusion quickly gave to alarm.

"Bwuh... wuh... What's wrong? Is there something wrong with the engine? DID SOMETHING EXPLODE?" He tipped out of his hammock, still dazed. Fry had to stifle a chuckle as he responded. "Nothing so dramatic, sir. The captain wants to see you."

"Guh... wha? Beth? Ugh, fine..." Stumbling to his feet, Jason brushed himself off. "What time is it?"

"Three thirty, sir." Irritated, Jason had to bite down on his cheek to keep himself from yawning. 'That late already?' No rest for the wicked, he supposed. "Keep your watch on the engine. I'll be back shortly. And Fry!"

"Yes sir?"

"I expect you to have the vents scrubbed down by the time I return. Next time, try using your words like a big boy." With Fry's indignant response, his work here was done. He worked his way up to the helm, where Beth and Sheska stood talking. "So, what's all this about?"

-Last Night-

"I'm not doing anything too hard tonight, just getting a read for planning tomorrow. You could probably stay and watch. If you wanted. You don't have to."

Jessie had already climbed up on the railing to start on her way down when Isaac called out. She got back down, turning towards him with that same, wide smile on her lips. She seemed honestly glad about the answer.

"Ye sure? Well, glad to hear. Seems we get something of a break after all, eh?"

She chuckled, stepping up closer so she could watch him at work. "So where do we start?"

-Present time-

She'd woken up before noon, and since then had just wandered the ship, watching the sights, the people at work and the world far below. She still had a few hours of free time left when the call came.

"Attention crew of the mermaid, this is your captain speaking. All the officers and anyone that isn't busy with their work or asleep, should come to the helm within half an hour. I have plans to discuss with the officers."

Jessie stood quietly a moment, pondering her options. Eventually, with a casual shrug, she set off towards the helm, taking it at a leisurely stroll. She tipped her hat Sheska's way as soon as she arrived, repeating the gesture to everyone else as they came.

"Evenin', boss. Imagine this is about the course we've set off on last night?"

She eyed Sheska over a brief moment. The first mate's injury from the previous night was still quite visible, unlike Jessie's, which by now seemed to be just a slight purpling at the cheek. There was a note of concern in the gaze as it lingered on Sheska's swollen eye, but she didn't voice it in any way.

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