Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 25th, 2020, 10:10 am

[OOC: So by popular demand -- read, 100% of the people participating in this -- the new thread! Perhaps a slightly different start than you were expecting, JR ...]

The ship hadn't been under way for more than ten minutes when the ship's horn sounded again, but it was very different this time, a low, ululating howl that crept into the very soul of almost everyone on board. Even the one or two people who'd lost their hearing "heard" it, or felt it. (The few exceptions, it is fair to say, would make their appearance ... or disappearance ... later.)

Everyone on board, even including the several who were Caught In The Act as Khoo and Anna-Lisa were, immediately felt an incredibly powerful compulsion to head for the largest gathering place on board, a theater [OOC: guess we do need one after all, JR] that could seat the full complement of paying passengers with room for the crew around the walls. There was no arguing with this; even Khoo and Anna-Lisa stopped what they were doing, got more or less dressed, and headed for the theater.

Whether Mr. Kawamura had been one of the rare exceptions to this "attendance mandatory" call would be hotly debated some time afterward, but not now.

As soon as everyone was seated, there was a blur of magic on the stage, and a holographic projection appeared of none other than the legendary Saiko Mesuinu herself. (Gasps from most of the guests, cheers from a misguided few.) She was wearing an outfit that might have resulted if the fifty gaudiest national flags of this world and any other had all been chopped to bits, resewn together in completely random patterns, given the ability to move and shift places, and in the bargain, set on fire. Her makeup ... no, best not to think about that.

"VELLKOME, dahlinks!" this astonishing apparition crooned, in a voice that could shatter fine crystal. (There was none in the hall, but several passengers would later discover that their reading glasses were rather the worse for wear.) "Velkome to ze latest peeeaarl in ze krown ov Mesuinu Enterprrrizes --" she paused for dramatic effect [OOC: and also so that I can dispense with her accent from here on; for more on how she sounds, see this snapshot written by her creator, the inimitable if misguided Viking-Sensei... /OOC:] "ze MAYESTIC OTTER! And now, let me introduce the skipper of this magnificent vessel, Captain Moriarty, who will tell you about some of its features..."

[OOC: Over to you, but if you want to bounce some of it back to Saiko, just let me know and I'll do it. Khoo, Anna-Lisa, Elke, Annabelle and Kevin will all be cowering somewhere in the auditorium; the introduced NPCs, who knows?]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Jack Rothwell » March 25th, 2020, 11:56 am

Captain Moriarty strode out onto the stage with the ease of a born performer; clearly the spotlight was something he enjoyed bathing in.

"Welcome friends! This wonderful vessel of ours is bedecked in it's decks to fulfil all of your vacation needs! Need a drink? Of course you do! That's why you'll find our three bars stocked with everything from your classic ditch-diver to the finest Farrelian brandy! Hungry? Our restaurants are equipped with cuisine both local and from faraway. Everything from the finest beef to the exotic creatures of the Southern Continent! Don't eat meat? Not a problem! Our stores are stocked with exactly 167 types of fruit and vegetable! i should know, I counted them myself!"

"Bollocks he did." Murmured Leo, during the laughter break. He was sat between Jade and Eve in the packed theatre at that point. The latter woman and he somewhat disgrunted at having their activities put on hold but listening intently to the man's brother nonetheless. It was clear that a penchant for the dramatic ran in their family.

"And what of entertainment? The Majestic Otter has you covered. We have cocktail lounges with magical musicians geared to play everything from the classics to ditty's to make the air turn blue! Want to work on your tan but the weather isn't cooperating? Our tanning room has booths with the most up-to-date thermal magic to make you look like a furless kobold Adonis! Want to swim in nostalgia? Witness your favourite stories played out in front of you? our state of the art illusion deck has over three hundred historical events and famous fictions where YOU can step into the role of your heroes! Feeling the need to work off the buffet? Our top tier gym has friendly staff and dozens of machines so you can get trim guilt free. Want to check in on the big wide world? Our ship-wide crystal net connection will keep you up to date with no drop offs! Our theatre-" He waved a theatrical hand. "-is stocked to the brim with acrobats, magicians, singers and actors putting on an award winning production of Lord Yumpkins 'I want to be your canary'! All this and much more on the finest vessel to ever sail out of Port Lorrel- The Majestic Otter!"

Moriarty made a sweeping bow to a hearty round of applause. He straightened and made a 'back to you' nod to the projection.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 25th, 2020, 3:10 pm

[OOC: LOL, that was great ... Gonna put one more thing in Morty's mouth, however.]

Before Saiko Mesuinu could put in another grand appearance, a richly decorated Tsiurakuan woman raised her hand and asked a question. "What are our ports of call?"

Moriarty smiled broadly. "I'm glad you asked that question, ma'am! Our detailed route will depend on the weather, but our next port of call will be at the storied island off the very southernmost tip of the Farrel mainland ..."

"Oh, crap," Elke whispered to Annabelle, her face suddenly pale. "He can't mean ..." But he did.

"The famous, mystical island of ALCTRAZIEL!" he finished with a flourish.

There were assorted oohs and aahs from the Tsuirakuans in attendance. Elke, however, wasn't the only Farrelite on board whose complexion lightened by an unhealthy shade at this declaration. Khoo and Anna-Lisa had no idea where Alctraziel was (although Khoo made a mental note to look it up on Tsuipedia when they got back to their suite); however, another passenger sitting in their row, a man wearing Farrelian clothing, suddenly rose, put a hand over his mouth, emitted a loud "URKKK!" through his fingers, and dashed out of the auditorium. Seconds later, retching noises could be heard from the direction of the railing enclosing the deck where the man had exited.

Moriarty was going on to describe the multitude of wonderful aquatic sports they'd have at their disposal once they reached this island paradise(?) -- sea kayaking, thaumo-parasailing, and so on. However, neither Khoo and Anna-Lisa, nor Elke and her minions, were listening any more ...

[OOC: In the spirit of exposition :roll: , I'll put up what Khoo finds on Tsuipedia next time. For the moment, just consider that it's probably like what it sounds like, at least in part ...]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Jack Rothwell » March 27th, 2020, 11:02 am

"...and that's why if you're looking to get wet there's no better place than ALCTRAZIEL!"

Jade giggled like a naughty schoolgirl. Leo rolled his eyes.

"So... illusion deck?"

"Sure." Jade managed. "Looks like your brother is wrapping up. Let's go see your play."

"It's an Opera, Jade."

"Whatever."

"I'm going to go train." Eve declared. "At least one of us in this rinky-dink organisation should keep their skills sharp."
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 27th, 2020, 10:47 pm

"Kevin, please give us some privacy for an hour or so," Elke commanded. "Annabelle and I have some planning to do." The two women shuddered involuntarily at the notion of landfall at Alctraziel. If they'd been listening closely, they'd have heard Moriarty explain that none of the passengers would be landing there; that some of the crew would be going ashore to pick up provisions for the next leg; and that the "fun in the sun" available to the passengers would be either aquatic sports or virtual reality connected with the island's ... colorful ... past. This wouldn't have been reassuring to them, though; rather the contrary, in certain regards.

Kevin shrugged his well-muscled shoulders. "Okay." He decided to wander off to the on-board gym, get a little weight work in before bedtime ... where he would find it occupied by one, and only one, person.

[OOC: Eve, he's yours to play with. I was on the road for too much of today and won't get the Tsuipedia article written until tomorrow.]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 28th, 2020, 4:06 pm

[OOC: A twofer to let Khoo consult the oracle:]

Khoo fired up his crystal ball and brought up Tsuipedia, with Anna-Lisa looking excitedly over his shoulder. What he saw there would explain much about the reactions of guild-savvy Farrelites like Elke and Annabelle, although he had no way of knowing that yet.

ALCTRAZIEL

From Tsuipedia, the on-line resource that any Tsuirakuan can edit

Alctraziel is a large island off the southern tip of Farrel, near the spit of land known as the Point of No Return. It was noted during the early history of Farrel as a penal colony for the most hardened criminals, but folllowing the collapse of the country's old government and the Prisoners' Revolt, has been rebranded as a destination for tourism. Free-market agriculture is also practiced. It is loosely governed by one of the many guilds that serve as de facto local governments in Farrel.


Uh, oh, that doesn't sound so good, thought Khoo. He skipped over the "Geography" section of the article and headed for the "History" section, which would confirm his concerns.

Alctraziel was discovered in the year 873 B.P. [OOC: just using "Before Present" for dates here, since we don't know how the Tsuirakuan calendar works -- /OOC] by explorer Captain Abel Tasmaniel and remained uninhabited until the reign of Queen Mary VI in 669 B.P., apart from occasional visits by fishing boats. These reported that the island held little of interest to justify colonization: no easily mined minerals or easily worked timber, and an unpleasant climate alternately beset by violent storms on the one hand, and on the other, protracted doldrums(**) that hindered transportation by sailing ship, made habitation unpleasant, and created conditions conducive to epidemics. Farrel having considerable domestic problems to contend with and more accessible uninhabited land to expand into, this uninviting place was all but ignored for decades.

This state of affairs changed during the reign of Mary VI, when she and her Minister of Justice Simon Legriel decided to convert the unpleasant island into a penal colony in the face of a rising crime rate. Its fearsome reputation apparently served as a useful deterrent, as crime dropped for the next fifty years, only to rise again as public dissatisfaction with Mary's successor Queen Mary VII increased. By the time of Queen Eleanor III, the last queen of Old Farrel, the island was so overcrowded and conditions were so bad that the Prisoners' Revolt followed in 597 B.P. A charismatic leader ...


Khoo skipped the next several paragraphs, which contained an excessively lurid description of the Prisoners' Revolt; whoever had written this part of the article obviously had an unhealthy obsession with crime, blood and gore. He picked it up again in the present day:

Alctraziel's fortunes began to change when climate control thaumatic technology started to be imported to Farrel from Tsuiraku. A shipment of wind regulators was hijacked, most likely by the Weisserhai, the guild controlling what was left of Alctraziel, and diverted to the island in the year 13 B.P. (Interesting, thought Khoo; he'd read about that hijacking as a kid, and it had sparked his interest in wind magic, although he'd never heard the rest of the story.) Soon afterward, a very large, but apparently conventional rather than thaumatic, explosion excavated an artificial bay on the island's east coast that could be turned into a small but adequate harbor. As a result, it became possible to practice small-scale agriculture on the island; official reports identify sheep raising and "cash crops"[sic] as the primary contributors to the island's current economy, although it is generally held [by whom?] that most of the "cash crops" are illicit narcotics and other controlled substances raised by the islanders as the limited Farrelian government looks the other way. Limited tourism has started to develop near the port city of Habatiel that has sprung up rapidly around the artificial harbor, concentrating on thaumo-parasailing and other aquatic recreation. However, these waters are considered dangerous and several visitors' lives have been lost there. ...

His head spinning, Khoo broke the connection and put his crystal ball away; there was probably more of relevance to the impending visit (in the sense that a description of an electric chair might be relevant to someone facing electrocution), but he could only take just so much Tsuipedia at a time.

(**) [OOC: I was always a bit troubled by Al's introduction of a malevolent sea spirit here, since we really don't have much precedent for god-like beings that diverge greatly from ES canon. For purposes of the Tsuipedia article, however, it doesn't matter, since if that sea spirit did explain the doldrums, the Tsuirakuans wouldn't believe in it anyway.]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Jack Rothwell » March 29th, 2020, 11:30 am

The workout room seemed oddly more built for relaxation when Eve arrived. The short mercenary uttered a snort at the warm wooden floors and portholes designed to make the light coming through play on the weights and machines in a manner that appeared tasteful rather than pure business. She dimly noticed the smaller door at the back of the gym which doubtless led to one of those steam rooms she'd been hearing about in the chatter of the richer clientele aboard the vessel.

"As if sitting down and sweating counts as a workout..." She muttered.

"The Silver Hand grabbed a pair of short wooden swords and found an empty space (not that there was a lack of them; the gym was abandoned save a man on the door standing next to a stack of towels). She closed her eyes for a moment and focused; not even opening them as the entrance creaked open again to announce someone else had walked in.

The series of movements she performed was a kata she learned courtesy of the guild leader Rufus, who'd been much travelled before he'd finally decided to settle down and run a mercenary organisation for a working retirement. It centred around building up core strength and stretching the user's reach. Eve pointedly ignored the heavily muscled man who'd appeared, especially ignored his apparent interest in she was doing, at least until he asked her.

"What are you doing?"

"It's a szun ko zen kata." She huffed. "Weights over there big man. I think the guy on the door was selling-" She rolled on her back then kick flipped to her. "-protein shakes if you're looking for a snack."


OOC I'll add more later or tomorrow. I'm a little busy atm. Is there a profile available for Kevin?/OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 29th, 2020, 8:59 pm

Kevin smiled, the wheels behind his eyes turning. "No, no, go ahead. I'll just watch if you don't mind, always interested in learning something new."

[OOC: All for the moment, having exhausted the day's words on the bios I just put up for Kevin and Annabelle.]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Jack Rothwell » March 30th, 2020, 1:11 pm

Eve took note of the flirtation with a mixture of confusion and girlish intrigue. The young woman didn't consider herself to be the type that men usually hit on thanks to her spiky attitude and tomboy personality (OOC I modelled Eve's personality and look on Doris Day in Calamity Jane in case you're wondering./OOC) so a strapping, baby faced young man showing an interest was unfamiliar territory. She ambled over to replace the practise weapons on the rack, conscious of his eyes on her.

"Too lazy to work out huh? Fine, but this isn't a voyeur show." She pointed to a punching bag hanging from the ceiling. "Could you hold that for me? I'm missing my usual partner."

Her 'usual partner' was Jade of course, her being the only one in the Silver Hands who could match Eve's swords-woman-ship since Rufus' leg had slowed him down, but Eve wasn't about to mention that. In truth, the merc was curious whether or not the newcomer would use the line to start making inquiries as to what the nature of her partner was.


OOC Slow posting today. The lockdown's got me lethargic and uninspired. I'll try and get back into the swing of things when I can. Oh, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MnUrhptPSo nostalgia pop. Although as much as I like it I can't think of any way I'd get Eve to do this. :D/OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Postby Graybeard » March 30th, 2020, 8:47 pm

[OOC: Yeah, I can relate to "lethargic and uninspired." It helps to be retired, I think, so the doldrums aren't quite as deep compared to normal routine. Hang in there.]

Kevin said nothing (for the moment), but smiled, peeled off his shirt, revealing a VERY buff upper body, and held the bag as requested. The shirt wouldn't have interfered with that, but the forms had to be observed.

---------------

Meanwhile, Elke and Annabelle were having a small encounter.

They had decided they'd better familiarize themselves with all the places on board where they could go to escape the trouble that their viscera were telling them to expect at Alctraziel. (Or to know how and where to get the first strike in if it came to that.) They were well tooled up in case trouble came looking for them; Annabelle was nasty in hand-to-hand combat, and Elke, pregnant or not, happened to own a Tsuirakuan gadget that was a highly effective persuader, in addition to her usual, conventional pistol. In the event, they were completely ignored as they made their rounds of the ship. Probably half of the 150 or so passengers had apparently retired for the evening, and almost all of the rest were crowded into the lounges that Khoo and Jade and their partners had found earlier, dancing to music that the two women definitely didn't want to hear.

In addition to Kevin and Eve, there was one notable exception.

It was dark enough now that there wasn't anything to see from the observation platforms, which were illuminated by faint, orange light globes, obviously more for personal safety than for anything functional. The platform on the upper, first-class deck where they had their cabins was completely empty. The one on the economy-class lower deck was not.

As Elke and Annabelle approached this deck, it was easy to hear the sound of a woman sobbing her heart out, wailing like there was no tomorrow in no language that either of them spoke. Annabelle put an index finger to her lips and waved Elke back a step or two, and sidled toward the deck. Peeking around the edge of the superstructure, she saw a single short, very heavy-set woman producing the mournful sounds. Khoo and (probably) Anna-Lisa would have recognized this woman as the one who had accompanied Mr. Kawamura up the boarding ramp, whether wife, sister, or whatever she was. Not having noticed the man (yet), Annabelle did not.

She was somewhat shaken as she carefully retreated to where Elke was standing. "Not our problem," she whispered, and the two women went back to their rooms, one a single cabin, and the other not yet occupied by the man who should spend the night there.
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