Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Graybeard » July 19th, 2009, 8:40 pm

[OOC: There have been requests for a brand-new thread that would allow new characters (and, particularly, new players) to be introduced here, without having to fit them into the complexities of the ongoing plot lines. So, by popular demand ...]

AIRSHIP PIRATES

Chapter 1: Isabel



No city in the Poe-verse can be called anything like "cosmopolitan" in the sense of a real-world New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc., but the one that comes closest is probably the Farrelite city of Isabel. Of course, that isn't saying much, but at least, here is the place where travelers can arrive from Tsuiraku, Veracia, the Northern Confederacy, the Southern Continent, you name it, by more or less all the usual ways of getting around -- warp gate, airship, boat, coach, on foot, or simply falling from the sky and somehow landing there. This means that the bars, streets and businesses of Isabel are as good a place as any to find exotic and curious characters ... particularly the bars.

It was into one such bar that a sinewy man stepped one night, carrying a parrot on his shoulder, smoking a cigar. (This was considered unusual; very few parrots smoke cigars.) He looked around at the particular set of exotic and curious characters favoring this place, called "The Happy Hookah," as though checking for someone that he wasn't finding. After a moment, the parrot started to make a gurgling noise, and the man removed the cigar from its beak.

"RRAAWWWK. Ain't none of 'em here, boss," the parrot said. "We're safe."

"Thanks, Thurston," the man replied, replacing the cigar. Without further ado, he walked over to the door, pulled out a piece of paper, tacked paper to door using the butt of his revolver as a hammer (and making some of the clientele nervous), and left without another word.

It wasn't long before one of the men previously engaged in drowning his sorrows decided to take a look at what had been posted.

ADVENTURERS WANTED

Have you ever dreamed of roaming the skies above in search of fame and fortune? A highly reputable (but not that reputable) privateering outfit is looking for crew for a new airship. All specializations sought -- flight crew, men who can kick ass on the ground, men who can kick ass in the water, men who can kick ass in the air, wenches, mage wimps, large dumb people who can schlep treasure, you name it, whatever your skill is, we can use it.

If interested, check in at Tower 3 at the airship terminal and ask for Shorty. All responses handled in confidence.

TROLLS AND VERACIAN RELIGIOUS WHACKOS NEED NOT APPLY


[OOC: Incidentally, it's also intended that this one be a little more tongue-in-cheek, off-the-wall than the other two threads are. Go wild! :D But it'd be appreciated if you post your character concept in the "Character Workshop" thread, to give everyone else a chance to see where you're going.]
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Arreksu » July 22nd, 2009, 7:46 am

[OOC: Hope you don't mind if I start already? Also hope I wasn't wrong in assuming parrot-man is Shorty. >.>)

Tom ducked a rowdy man's swinging arm, and more importantly, the hefty tankard of... something. He'd read the note put up on the wall and decided it was worth a try; he'd been in Isabel for too long, and after last night's events, he was eager to get out of here. The diminutive street urchin shuddered. He never wanted to see another rat stew, not after last night, not ever again. Just the thought made him nauseous.

He knew the streets rather well, having spent at least one night on almost every corner and in every doorway and alley. It had never felt like home, though. Except that little alcove under the steps of the Port Planning Council's Office. That was a fantastically snug place. Didn't smell to strongly of urine, neither, and if it rained hard, you could get a bath, if you could swim. Luckily, Tom was a man small boy of many talents.

Carrying his trusty rucksack, which contained all his worldly possessions, he made his way quickly to Tower 3 at the terminal. Asking about for "ahem... sorry sir, cap'n Shorty, please, sir?" he managed to locate the apparently chain-smoking parrot and his dashing owner (partner?). Clearing his voice and clutching his cap in his hands, he tugged the man's coat.

"Uh, cap'n, sir? My name's Tom BrAA--" his voice broke momentarily. He cleared his throat. "Brambil, sir, I, uhm, came about the crew call..." his voice trailed off, and he stood there, nervous and a bit apprehensive.
Very well, I accept. Twizzlers at dawn 'pon the field of honour.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Graybeard » July 22nd, 2009, 8:04 am

Arreksu wrote:[OOC: Hope you don't mind if I start already? Also hope I wasn't wrong in assuming parrot-man is Shorty. >.>)

[OOC: Thanks for firing the first salvo! Actually, parrot-man isn't Shorty, but the way you played it is just fine. Over to you guys after this...]

The man looked puzzled for a moment, then comprehension dawned on him and on the parrot at the same time. He removed the parrot's cigar from his beak to let him have his say.

"Raaawk! HEY, SHORTY! YOU GOT A PIGEON!" the bird shouted in a voice that would shatter fine crystal, and the man plugged the cigar back where it had come from.

Moments later, a mountain of flesh entered the room, ducking his head to get through the doorway (which was a good 6'8" high) and turning sideways to make sure his shoulders fit through.

"I'm Shorty," the hulking man said, in an unexpectedly soft, mild voice. "What can I do for you?"

[OOC: With Shorty thus introduced, feel free to treat him as a community-owned NPC and put words in his mouth...]
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Arreksu » July 22nd, 2009, 9:48 am

Tom Brambil stood in a combination of shock, awe and horror as 'Shorty' lumbered into the room, wringing his hat in his hands so tight his little pinky punched right through it.

There was a long silence when he spoke as Tom tried to work up the courage to speak. "Uh... hum..." he stuttered.

"Speak up, I can barely hear you," Shorty said reassuringly. He reached out to put a hand on Tom's shoulder.

"Ohdeargoddon'thurtme!" Tom squeaked. When he saw the motion wasn't hostile, he calmed down and laughed nervously. Taking a deep breath, he spoke. "Uh, Mister Shorty? I came about the opening on the crew of your ship?"

Shorty looked the youngster up and down. Reaching out, he prodded him in the shoulder. Tom squeaked. Another prod elicited another squeak. "Are you sure you're up for it? It's a very strenuous job," he said, a little doubtful.

"Oh, no, sir, I'm very good with ships! I can sail, swab the decks, carry your things, clean up and cook," Tom answered.

"I don't know..." Short stopped. "Did you say cook?"

Tom nodded.

"Cook well?"

Tom nodded again.

"Can you make slow roasted lamb in honey mustard and ginger sauce with baked potatoes?"

Tom nodded.

"You're on! What's your name again?"

"Tom Brambil," Tom said, a big smile spreading across his face.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Sareth » July 22nd, 2009, 12:57 pm

"Well, Tom Brambil, why don't you just come along with me." Shorty began ambling along at what was probably a slow pace for his length of leg, which would count as almost a jog for people of normal height. For those of diminutive stature, wind sprints might come to mind. Any attempt to object to the pace, however, would have been drowned out, however, as Shorty kept up a stream of commentary that didn't seem to allow room for indrawn breath.

"The airship you're to be boarding and cooking on is the Bonny Read. Odd name for an airship, if you ask me, but the captain's a bit daft, you might say. Said he named it after an old girlfriend. Or two. Never have been able to figure it out. Captain's a bit daft, don't you know. She's a new bird. Not too big, but plenty fast, and well armed too. Have you ever manned a cannon? Well, no matter," Shorty continued, not giving Tom time to answer. "We'll have you ready to menace airbags in no time. Not that we normally actually punch holes in airbags. Mighty hard to plunder an airship that's crashed because you ruptured the bag. Scatters the loot all over the place. Mostly we just fire blanks to put the fear of us into them. Mind your step lad."

As this was going on, the pair had begun ascending a long, winding, and steep stairway. This was wrapped around a tall column of steel that was too thin to be properly held up by its own structure, and thus had probably been built with the aid of Tsuirakuan mages. Given the fact the Tusirakuans owned most of the airships around, this probably counted as part of their "investing in the Farrel economy," a polite way of saying "extending their economic control into Farrel." Above, an airship could be seen, tied to the column, though few details could be maid out. Even climbing the stairs, though, Shorty continued to talk as though he didn't need breath.

After several flights, and about 100 feet of climbing, his apparent stream of consciousness verbalizing continued unabated. "Hope you aren't afraid of heights. I guess you must not be though, or else why would you sign on to be an airship pira... privateer. Pardon me. Captain don't want us using the word Pirate in town. Says 'Privateer' is more respectable. As if anyone thought there might be a difference. I mean, Pirate, Privateer, all the same thing! Am I right? Of course I..."

"Shorty..." a female voice interrupted, from above. "Stow it."

"Yes, ma'am." Shorty, stopped in place, blocking the view of the stairs above him, and the source of the voice, though the mass of a moderately sized airship could be seen stretching to either side. He fidgeted a bit, then turned just enough to look back at Tom. "The first mate. She's been with the Captain for ages but I don't think they do anything phys..."

"Shorty!"

"Sorry ma'am."

"Go on back down and see if we get any more fresh fish."

"Yes, ma'am."

Squeezing past Tom, and somehow managing to not knock the lad back down the stairs, Shorty trundled back down the tower. The whole way, he sounded like he was continuing to quietly talk, even though he no longer had an audience.

"Sorry about that," the female voice dropped down on Tom. Gazing up he could see the distinctive dark skin of a Farrelite woman, dressed in elaborate cotton and leather gear, and sporting a surprising amount of jewelry in pretty much everything that could be pierced. She was leaning casually against a rail paring her nails with a rather wicked looking knife. "Shorty gets a little talkative. I think he's spent too much time up in the crows nest alone." Her dark eyes flicked out to size up Tom. "So... who are you, and what did you sign on for?"
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Graybeard » July 23rd, 2009, 9:04 am

"Sorry, Thurston, gotta douse the cigar for a minute; we're going upstairs," the sinewy man said. The parrot glared at him as he removed and extinguished the cigar, but didn't say anything more.

He climbed the scaffolding toward the airship, meeting a large mass of flesh on the way down. "Hey, Shorty, is he gonna need me for this next trip? I guess I'm willing to go out, it's been a long time and that barmaid I've been seeing is ... unavailable." He let the "unavailability" hang in the air for a minute, hoping he wouldn't have to go into detail, and indeed Shorty obliged with silence, so he continued. "Crew could be a little short for this one. I heard about a couple of low-lives in one of the bars that might show up for muscle, but that's about all I know of. Should I get ready to go?"

"Dunno, Rip; let me ask the boss," the man-mountain said and reversed his field. Rip and Thurston headed back down, and he noticed that there were indeed a couple of nondescript characters waiting down at the base of the pylon. Well, what would be would be ... and if he didn't have to go out, it'd give him a little more time to get treated for the "farewell present" that that barmaid had infected him with.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Arreksu » July 23rd, 2009, 9:30 am

Putting his hat on his head and then taking it off so he could wring it in his hands, Tom swallowed hard. "Uhm, I'm Tom Brambil, I think Mister Shorty said I could be the... cook? But I can sail and swab the decks and repair stuff, too! Please can I have a spot on the ship, Miss? I promise I'll pull my weight!"

"Cook, you say?"

Tom nodded. "I can make slow roasted lamb in honey mustard and ginger sauce with baked potatoes, if you have lamb, honey mustard, ginger and potatoes," he added eagerly.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Sareth » July 23rd, 2009, 11:44 am

The woman cracked a smile. "Well, we have salted pork, not lamb, the potatoes are runty and kind of dried up, and the Captain is allergic to ginger. But we do need a cook. Especially after what happened with the last one." The wringing of the hat in Tom's hand doubled to the point the hat was probably in danger of starting to rip. The woman noticed, and smiled reassuringly. "Oh, relax. We only fired him. No throwing him overboard from three miles up. Not over attempting to make us all vegetarians."

The woman stepped aside, and thumbed towards the gangway, at the end of which was a hatch. "Head aboard. Bunks are amidships, you can grab any empty berth. The galley is aft of that. Dinner is at the end of the first dog watch, and we should be under way by then, so you might want to familiarize yourself." She started to turn away, then stopped, and smiled. "Oh, and I'm the First Mate, Kattie Amhurst. Don't call me Kattie."

She glanced down the stairway. "Shorty, didn't I tell you to wait for other folk?"

"But Rip wanted to know if he could come along."

Kattie put her hand to her face. "Of COURSE he can come along. We'll probably need a thaumatological mechanic on this trip." She shook her head. "I just hope he doesn't have issue with what we're up to this time..." she muttered to herself. "Just tell him to get something for that... itch of his before he comes aboard!"

"Itch?" Shorty asked, looking confused.

"You didn't see the way he was walking?" She replied, then shook her head. "Never mind. Just tell him he's welcome to come along." Kattie sighed, and made a little mental note to shanghai a physician some time...
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Graybeard » July 23rd, 2009, 7:33 pm

[OOC: Sareth, this is offered to address a question you raised; we can retcon it if needed...]

Rip shook his head sadly as two well-muscled men passed him on the way up the scaffolding, neither saying a word. Don't they know the superstition? Here they were, both wearing red shirts as they went to board an airship. Every airman in Tsuiraku and Farrel knew that wearing a shirt like that was bad luck, rumored to give the wearer a 50/50 chance of meeting an improbable death on the next flight. He'd tried to study the superstition, which apparently had its roots in the voyages of some legendary airship captain of the past named "Kurrak," when he first got to Isabel, for the paper he was going to publish when he got home ... except that he'd never gone home.

Privateering was much more interesting.

The ship wasn't due to launch for several hours yet; more crew were still needed. [OOC: Please take this as a hint... /OOC:] Rip settled into the office at the base of the tower, allowing Thurston another cigar, and paused to read the day's newspaper ... and almost immediately, he noticed a headline that caught his interest.

WORLD-FAMOUS ARCHAEOLOGIST TO LAUNCH EXPEDITION

Professor Nikolaitis To Be Based on Farrel's East Coast


Nikolaitis. The arrogant twit who'd stolen away the one woman Rip had loved -- and worse, had published a study of the tribe she came from that out-and-out plagiarized his own work. (Well, a detached observer would have said "scooped" rather than "plagiarized," but how had he gathered his data except via pillow talk with a certain someone? Besides, what would a detached observer know?) The one man in Tsuirakushiti whom Rip would most like to see roasted over a low fire.

Barely controlling his fury, he read down the article to the point where it described the airship that Nikolaitis was going to be using for this little party ... and fury gave way to cold scheming.

Wonder if the skipper has picked out his next target yet? Because if he hasn't, suddenly I have one in mind...
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

Postby Sareth » July 23rd, 2009, 8:17 pm

The captain, A man by the name of Jon Wrackham, chose that particular moment to come walking up to the shack at the base of the tower. He was dressed rather eccentrically even for a pira... a privateer. The look on his face stated that he personally didn't care whether anyone thought he looked eccentric, and if they made a point of caring for him, he'd casually ignore them. Or draw on them. It was hard to say which.

As he stuck his head in the shack, he looked around, then fixed his gaze on Rip. "What's that you're scowling at?"

Rip quietly handed over the paper, gesturing at the article. Wrackham took it, then casually read it over. Once he was done, his eyes appeared over the top of the paper, fixing Rip in a rather solid gaze. "This expedition... they're looking for ancient artifacts?"

Rip nodded, smiling.

"Expensive antiques?"

Rip nodded again.

"Good." The captain turned and walked out, taking the paper with him as he began climbing the tower.
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