Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"Get back up here!" Called the Captain, currently feeling ten years older thanks to a mixture of fatigue, wine and revulsion. "And for the love of all the Gods that ever walked or crawled someone get that monstrosity out of there and out of sight!"

"Where Captain?"

"Just... move some shit out of a storage area!" Mortiarty's head was definitely starting to split now, and the lack of initiative from his crew wasn't helping. "There's barrels of ice there. Got some kind of enchantment to keep them cool. Pack a crate. Pack the body, and not near the Gods-damned food!"

"You ever heard of anything like that before?" Niranjan asked, as she offered a hand to help the forensics specialist up.

Moriarty groaned; he had.

"Nothing I want to talk about in the middle of the night." He was, of course, thinking about some of the horror stories Tamina Nallaki and Captain Rigby had told him about during their excursions to the Southern Continent. The fact that that was one of their destinations on the trip made him feel even worse. But it wasn't the time to reminisce. He turned back to his officers.

"I want a full list of everyone who's come in here since the night shift started. And Saraya..." He looked at the medical examiner. "Get some rest, I'll need you refreshed to examine that.... thing... in the cold light of day. Pull anyone you need who might be helpful. If our employers start asking questions I want to be able to give them answers."
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Graybeard
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"Y-yessir," both women stammered, having exactly the same thought: Why did I ever decide to work for the Mesuinus?

Second Officer Niranjan had the harder task, or so it would have seemed; she ordered the crewman who'd made the original discovery back to the bilge (very much against his wishes) with another crewman, as soon as he could wake one who wasn't hung over, to deal with the body. As events would prove, this wasn't as easy as it sounded. [OOC: More on that in the morning. /OOC] She also had to do some delicate maneuvering with Pocket Dimensions to prepare some cold storage for it once it was recovered. At least the part about "who's come in here since the night shift started" wasn't difficult; she assumed the captain meant "to the bridge," and that proved to be a very short list, consisting of the present occupants and a teenaged orderly who'd brought a meal. A -- firm -- interview of the terrified teenager made it clear that she knew nothing, had just picked up what the kitchen fixed before closing down. Since most of the kitchen's functioning was magical, only three or four cooks had to be awakened and questioned, and they didn't know anything either. (There would be a heavy price to pay for this questioning when it came to the quality of the next morning's breakfast, but some things just had to be done.)

As for Lifemage Saraya, she decided it might be prudent to spend the rest of the night with her husband, after all. She started back to the berth where he lay snoring, having drunk so much that he not only was unaware that she'd switched cabins, but could remember nothing of the last 12 hours' activities at all ...

... But as first a knock on that door and then a frantic search in the morning would reveal, she never got there.

[OOC: Dah-dah-dunnn. OK to move on to morning now, as far as I'm concerned; got anything more in the middle of the night for Morty?]
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Post by Jack Rothwell »

OOC Naah, I'm good to go. I'll try and get in some longer posts over the next few days. The RE3 honeymoon period is just about over. Morty would want to know who'd been in and out of the room the body was discovered/OOC

Jade looked at the house lights, wondering how she got there.

In front of the techsmith a sea of expectant faces stared at her. Music started to rise.

"What is this? I don't-"

"Sing the aria!"

Jade squinted through the glare of artificial light and saw the man the voice had come from. It was Leo, he was beaming with his wide smile in a manner of someone who wasn't completely sane.

The music rose further.

Although a victim of stage fright the blacksmith at least recognised the song, and she said a fair enough singing voice to deliver it.

"Here I am, in foreign lands, trudging a lost highway...
Knap-sack of crap upon my back, and not a place to stay...
My legs are tired from walking, my head is flyin' a kite...
A pint of old per-cu-li-ar will set my mind to rights.."


She delivered a completely out of character twirl in the dress she wore, feeling the nervousness disappearing. Leo cheered and whistled. She suddenly felt like a carefree village girl; one of those fair maidens who had woodland creatures scurry up to them and sit in their hands as they sang about a Prince who'd be coming, possibly hard, some day.

"Oh, here I am on lost highways, riding one more patrol...
Lookin' for vultures, other dry-gulchers, to tear 'em a new asshole..."


Raucous laughter from the crowd. Jade saw a woman walk on stage carrying a prop. The sister of the lead in the Opera she'd watched with Leo.

"My blisters are hard as armor, and never an end in sight...
But a pint of the old peculiar will set me all to rights..."


She took the glass from the other actress, who gave her another one of those smiles that was too wide to be genuine. Jade felt a memory nagging at her mind.

"Oh here I am, at the end of the day, my back is pains and aches..."

She started to slow. The music became louder and was now noticeably off-key. The people were smiling wider than ever.

"Sleep is far, bring out the stars, free me from my mistakes..."

The lights were starting to fade. The crowd began a slow clap, they were murmuring something.

"The world could come to ruin..."

Were those the words? The glass in her hand started to bubble. The other actress, the one who'd killed her co-star, made a tipping motion. The crowd's murmur rose to a chant 'chug, chug, chug.'

"But I know one thing is right..."

She really wanted to get out of here, but her feet were rooted to the spot. Her arm began moving of it's own accord.

"That a pint of old peculiar..."

The show must go on!

"Will set my mind to rights!"

She drained the glass to the last drop even as the house lights faded. The actress leaned in and whispered in her ear.

"You always were too impulsive for your own good, Jade."

The pain that seized her gut was immediate and enormous. She doubled over, unable even to gasp for breath as the last of the light faded out. She heard one more mocking call from the historical bitch who'd murdered her friend of out petty jealousy.

"For God's sake, get your shit together."

..............

"Jade? JADE!"

"Luminosita's arse! What?"

"You were having a nightmare."

It was too dark to see Leo's face, but she knew he was leaned right over her. Impulsively she drew him close and hugged him.

"Are you alright?"

"Better now." She whispered. "Just... do me a favour?"

"Sure. What?"

"No more opera for a while. Please? I've seen enough death on this ship to last the whole cruise."

"Fine. What about a pantomime?"

"Don't push it."

He sighed. "Yes dear."
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Graybeard
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Next morning:

"Something is wrong here," Elke muttered to her "servants" as the trio tucked into a curiously blah breakfast, as far as they could get from where she thought the Translation Effects were active, which unfortunately wasn't very far.

All three of the Eisenfaust operatives looked unhappier than they should have on the first morning of a luxury cruise, even a Mesuinu-weird one. Elke was more or less over the morning sickness by now and into the feeling-good second trimester of her pregnancy. However, she'd always been an early riser, and after getting up before the others and quietly stepping out onto the deck, she'd seen furtive discussions among the crew that didn't look right to her practiced eye. Kevin had actually returned to Annabelle at a reasonable hour, and not wearing any cheap perfume from some doxy he'd encountered, just good old sweat. That hadn't stopped her from giving him a tongue-lashing. the effects of which lasted until this morning. As for Annabelle, Kevin at least had come back to earn that tongue-lashing. It was the thought of that, of what she'd said and done, that was giving her pause this morning ...

Luminosita's Naked Nuts. I really am practicing for when we're married.

They were using an obscure dialect from the Northern Confederacy that passed, on rare occasion, for a "thieves' cant" in the Eisenfaust. It wasn't nearly as expressive as Veracian or Tsuirakuan, with a limited vocabulary that would force the speaker back to one of the other tongues to express certain concepts. However, it would have to do. At least the few other Tsuirakuan passengers who were up so early (Farrel was well east of their home and the sun wouldn't be rising at Tsuirakushita yet) were paying them no attention, probably figuring it was just another bunch of gaijin from some alien country out seeing the world for the first time. Any watching Farrelites would have known better, but they would also have known than intruding on private conversations among guild members was a good way to get dead.

"How so?" Annabelle asked. Kevin nodded but said nothing; he was still in "mind your manners or else" mode after last night's reaming-out.

"Crew are acting funny," Elke said around a forkful of indescribable meat. "You'd think they'd be trying to make a good --" she groped for a dialect word, couldn't find it, slipped back into Veracian for a few words -- "first impression on us paying customers." Back to the cant. "You know, treat 'em well at the start and end of the trip, and they'll give you big tips, whatever happened in the middle."

Annabelle and Kevin got it, and nodded as Elke continued. "Take this food, for instance. It's okay, nothing wrong with it, but no 'wow' factor." Her eyes narrowed. "That guy that served us was nervous about something, too, almost spilled the coffee, which servers on a boat like this do not do. They're uptight about something. I wish I knew what." She reapplied herself to breakfast; it was at least passable, as she'd said, and she had three months' worth of morning sickness to make up for.

-----------

All of this suspicion would have been wasted on Khoo and Anna-Lisa, now casting Hygiene spells and getting dressed after an early morning session of what they were here to have early-morning sessions of, at least in Anna-Lisa's view of things.
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

Post by Jack Rothwell »

OOC Not sure were your guys are. So if they're not in a restaurant/buffet type area let me know and I'll retcon./OOC

Jade had awoken feeling a little worse for wear thanks to her broken sleep the night before but was loathe to stay in bed. nightmares about being poisoned like a famous actress had that kind of effect on her.

Leo had led the way with a spring in his step (he'd always been an early riser) to the main dining area of the vessel where breakfast and, most importantly, the promise of sweet crispy bacon was waiting.

"Looks like a beautiful day outside!" He enthused. "Fresh sea air and glorious sunshine! I- wait..."

The mercenary spotted the threesome in a corner table of the room. One face in particular was familiar.

"Is that- Maud? Hi Maud!" He waved, beaming in his good cheer. "Didn't expect to see you here? How are you enjoying the cruise?"

What Eve's reaction would be to seeing Kevin when she arrived. That was anyone's guess.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OOC: They would be eating in one of the food places, so this fits. Not sure about Khoo and Anna-Lisa yet.]

"Is that- Maud? Hi Maud!" He waved, beaming in his good cheer. "Didn't expect to see you here? How are you enjoying the cruise?"

Damn. Recognized. Am I going to have to kill him?
was Elke's first thought. On the other hand, it just took a moment to recognize the Silver Hands. To be sure, it would have been nice if her disguise had been sufficient to keep them away for a while, but might as well make the best of it.

"Okay so far," she said neutrally, "but we haven't even made it to Alctraziel yet." That was true, and it was also odd. She'd expected that the ship would have made good enough time to reach the southern island while most of the passengers slept, the better to let them have their fun immediately after breakfast (and to transact whatever other "business" the crew might have with the drug runners on the island). As far as she could tell, the island wasn't even in sight yet. Had something happened to delay the ship?

She turned to Annabelle and Kevin, noticing that the bodyguard was blushing just slightly. She did not notice that he'd turned very slightly away from both Annabelle and the incoming Eve, toward Leo. "I should make some introductions," she said to the pair. "These people are on our side." At least for the moment. "I met them up north, on that last -- business trip that I --"

She didn't get to finish the sentence, however, before the lights in the cafe blinked momentarily, and suddenly there was a magical projection standing at the front of the room; specifically, a magical projection of Captain Moriarty. "Attention, please!" this apparition said, in a magically amplified voice. "Passenger Leo Landau, report to the captain's bridge immediately!" The absence of a "please" from this call was noted by the three Eisenfaust as the apparition disappeared as suddenly as it had come.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Leo's puzzled look was undeniable as he heard the announcement; it was a tone Morty only used in the most serious of circumstances. The young merc had a brief flashback to the last day he'd come home. The day of his father's funeral.

"I guess I've got to take this call." He said. "Save me some bacon."

He walked off without another word, passing Eve, who was giving Kevin a somewhat appraising look but saying nothing. It fell to Jade to make the courtesy's.

"Wonder what that's about? Sorry to interrupt you Maud. I can see you and your friends are at breakfast. Perhaps we can catch up later?"

"Maybe sooner than you think." Eve murmured.


OOC I'll add more later if you don't post in the meantime./OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OOC: Gonna put a few obvious words in Leo's mouth here ...]

Annabelle continued to look daggers at Eve (and Kevin), but other than the temperature in the room dropping ten degrees or so, nothing noteworthy happened in the dining room for the rest of breakfast. The same could not be said of the bridge.

"We have a problem," Moriarty said without preamble, as soon as Leo showed up. "Our ship's lifemage and Healer has gone missing in action, and I need someone outside the crew to find her -- or her body." He flicked a button on a typical Mesuinu gadget, and an image formed in midair. "This is what she looks like, or did. Name's Saraya, last name something unpronounceable, not sure where she's from. She was seen -- by me -- at four o'clock this morning. Hasn't been seen since. Her husband is beside himself. He is not a suspect in her disappearance."

"And you want us to find her," Leo echoed. "Or her body."

"Correct."

"But why not the crew? They know all the hiding places on the boat, all the places to stash a body, like say the bilges -- why are you looking at me like that?"

Moriarty debated whether to have his brother keelhauled on the spot, decided against it. "Two reasons. First, the crew is spooked, not so much that she's missing, as that if she -- met with foul play, as she probably did, it had to be someone among the crew that did it. Wasn't a passenger, we have ways of knowing that." He did not go into what those "ways" were. "They figure that if they're set the job, whoever killed her might not like it, and so whoever finds her will be next." The brothers exchanged a look as Moriarty continued. "Don't look at me like that. No, I am not saying I'm willing to send you into danger instead of the crew." (Of course, he didn't exactly say he wasn't willing to do that either.) "But you and your people can do it low-profile, which they can't, and tooled up, which they shouldn't since most of 'em don't know which end of a gun you kill people with. And no, I can't send anybody out with Forensics magic to find her, either. She was the one in the crew who knew how to do all that bullshit..."

He rubbed his forehead -- Leo could just about see the pain radiating out of it -- and continued. "Second, no point in checking the bilges. This next part goes no further, not to your girlfriend, not to any of the other people in your outfit... and if you blab, I will have you keelhauled." He wished he had a Damping spell available for what he was about to say, but wishing wouldn't make it so, so he plunged forward. "There has already been a body found in the bilges -- sort of. It is clearly not hers; the last time I saw her, at some Luminosita-damned hour of the morning, she was reporting to me on the forensics tests she'd done on it." He held up a hand. "Not going to get into that right now, but we're pretty sure it wasn't passenger or crew. Stowaway? Maybe, but the body was all sorts of weird. Maybe not even human, or humanoid. Just leave it at that, it's not your problem," he concluded, incorrectly.

[OOC: There's more, but pausing to let you get in a word edgewise. Or a hundred or so.]
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Leo took all this in with incredulity; his brother's willingness to expose him to danger wasn't unexpected, but it still stuck in his craw. He dropped his voice to a murmur.

"Have you considered the possibility that the offender might be someone acting on behalf of your 'old' partners?"

He was referring to people that Moriarty had done illicit trades with of course. By all accounts his younger sibling had had good relationships with them, his charm and professionalism saw to that, but criminals were criminals.

"No!" Snapped Morty, then glared at the few crew present who turned to look. "They were good people! And given your choice of profession you're hardly one to talk."

"And there it is! The ever-present elephant in the room!!" Exclaimed Leo. "Just because I didn't follow the path that father wanted..."

"You left to go adventuring." Moriarty's colour was up. "Pursue ale and theft and conning people out of their fairly gotten goods."

"Oh, like avoiding taxes on smuggled merchandise? Sounds like theft to me."

"They-were-Gods-damned-business-transactions!" He was shouting now. The stress of the previous night was rearing its ugly head. "Avoiding exorbitant, unfair taxes! Do you know how many struggling store owners got their start because of me?"

"Yes, well, I'm sure our late father would be very proud that his golden child acted so selflessly."

"At least I was there for him. Continuing his legacy. You didn't even visit after he got ill."

"Fuck that old bastard."

Moriarty was no brawler, and he had less muscle on him than his larger brother, but the punch he threw had the power of rage behind it. Leo's head snapped to the side and he stumbled backwards. He drew himself up, resisting his first, appalling urge to grab the knife in his belt.

"Fine." He said. "I'll find your woman and clear up your shit. Is that everything Captain?"
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OOC: Well, that was NOT the way I expected that scene to play out ... but it makes sense. A short one to keep things moving:]

The punch dissipated Moriarty's rage as dew before the sun, bur not his displeasure. "That will suffice," he said coldly. "The second officer will give you more information on where you need to be looking. Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to be busy for a while." He pointedly turned his back on his brother.

Niranjan blinked at this chain of events. "What was that all about?" she wondered aloud, but then she shrugged her shoulders and moved over to a tiny file cabinet on the bridge. This she opened with a flash of magic, and extracted two things: a model of the ship that could never have fit in the cabinet without it concealing a Pocket Dimension, and what looked like a set of drawings. "Well, may as well get started," she said. "We're here. There are three passenger decks, one first-class and two 'economy.' relatively speaking." (She was well aware that she could never have afforded one of the "economy" berths if she'd been a paying customer rather than crew.) "There's also a deck for amenities, another one for the crew's quarters, and thaumato-engineering space below that..."

[OOC: This might take a while, so pausing to let Leo get his say. We could fast-forward through Niranjan's description if you want to, although it might be handy to have it on the record so we can figure out where all the action might be. I have a bit of research to do on that. Note that this has been retconned to fit what we talked about in the OOC thread.]

-----------

About this time, Khoo and Anna-Lisa emerged from their love nest and wandered into the dining room where the Silver Hands were poking at their breakfasts (the Eisenfaust group had gone back to their cabins), Anna-Lisa looking perky and Khoo looking haggard. "Hi!" Anna-Lisa chirped as she plunked herself down at the table with Jade and Eve. "Did we miss anything? Where's your boyfriend? Off doing it with another woman?" This last with a wink at Jade, as Khoo facepalmed.
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