Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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Arreksu
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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Tom almost danced aboard the ship, a fantastically huge airship by the name of The Bonny Read. It was deserted, but for a crew member or two, and with only a little trouble, he managed to find the crew quarters. The street urchin/cook staked out one of the top bunks and made his way to the galley.

It was a big, big kitchen, bigger than the soup kitchens he'd occasionally stolen from; there was a whole row of ovens against the back wall and a bewildering assortment of pots and pans hanging from hooks and racks. Tom took a brief moment out to giddy about the place a bit, giggling and hopping about on one foot, before he managed to locate a chef's hat in one of cupboards. With a serious look on his face, and elaborate care, he removed his cap, tucked it into his belt, and put the chef's hat on his head. It was a bit big, so it dropped down to just below his eyebrows. He also located an apron, a really white one; it had probably been washed within the last month!

Tom was about to start digging around in the food stores when he noticed that there was a tap set over a large metal basin. This must be one of those 'sink' things, he thought to himself. A thought struck him. For the second time today, with great pomp and ceremony, he washed his hands. Then he got stuck into the dried pork, runty potatoes and bags of flour. He had to see what he was working with. Something told him the Scary Lady, First Mate Amhurst, would be judging whether or not to haul him overboard based on the first meal of the day.
Very well, I accept. Twizzlers at dawn 'pon the field of honour.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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It looked like things were getting quiet, so Rip did something he only did on incredibly rare occasions in this country: he found an out-of-the-way corner, opened his Pocket Dimension, and retrieved his crystal ball.

Really, it shouldn't have been necessary. The newspaper article probably had everything he wanted to know (and a bunch of stuff that he didn't really want to know, and even more that he already knew but wished he didn't) about that asshole Nikolaitis. However, if the captain wanted the paper, he could have it. Rip cranked the gain on the ball way up and got onto a crystal-net connection that was surprisingly clear.

VASSILIS NIKOLAITIS

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

VASSILIS NIKOLAITIS (b. 37 BP) is a professor of thaumato-anthropology at Sashi Mu Academy of Thaumaturgy and Conjuration.


Yeah, yeah, I know all that, Rip thought to himself. Tsuipedia had many nice features, including the ability to jump from one article to the next and chase interesting leads. However, it was only as good as its authors, and whoever wrote the majority of the Nikolaitis article had been a bit on the "prolix" side. He scrolled through the routine biographical information, which went on a great deal longer than he found necessary or tasteful (and, on the way, reminded him that he himself didn't rate a Tsuipedia article...), and finally got down to what he cared about ... but not before encountering one last little blow to the ego.

He is married to Arabella, a princess from a state in the Northern Confederacy. The couple have no children.

So what am I going to do if Arabella is with him when we catch him? Rip thought. Torture her, apologize to her, or try to get her into the sack? After a moment, he realized he only had one possible answer.

Ideally, all three.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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"Well?"

Kattie turned as she heard the Captain finish climbing the stairs. She smiled at the man, probably one of the only people who could and not get an inquisitive eyebrow asking an explanation of the joke. "Ship's stores are all aboard. We're fueled and watered, and the last gas canister was installed just a short bit ago."

"Crew?"

"Most are still out on liberty, due back in two hours. Still no navigator, doc, or gunner, but Rip wants to come along, so that gives us a thaumatolurgic engineer. And we have a new cook."

"He any good?"

"He's skinny."

"My mother told me to never trust a skinny cook."

"You had a mother?"

The captain crooked a smile, proving that Kattie was probably the only person that could needle her captain and get away with it. "Well, if he's skinny, that will make it easier to throw him overboard if he's no good."

"I doubt that will be necessary. I'm not certain he knows what 'vegetarian' means, Cap'n."

"Good." Captain Wrackham looked about, as if assuring the airship was secured to his satisfaction. "Let me know the moment the crew are all aboard. I want to set out in three hours."

"Aye, Cap'n."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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Rip signed off from Tsuipedia and packed up the crystal ball, feeling pleased with himself. He had a pretty good idea now where Nikolaitis might be looking for antiquities out of Isabel, and what kind of antiquities he'd be looking for ... and he was also pretty sure that they'd be interesting. If the skipper wanted to know where to find their prey, he'd be able to tell him. (On the other hand, he might not want to know. Wrackham had always had a sixth sense about where the hunting was good; why mess up intuition with facts?)

"Well, there's one thing we need to do before we set sail," he told Thurston, getting a groan and a curse (somehow vocalized quite clearly despite the cigar) in reply. "Tut, tut. You know we need to do this," he went on. "Can't smoke those cigars on an airship. Air is limited and there's too much flammable stuff around." And I'm damned glad of it, he thought but did not say. "So it's the usual substitutes."

They went off to market, returning shortly with two items. One was a little patch they'd recently started importing from Tsuiraku, designed to magically abate the need for whatever vile compound in the cigar smoke caused people (and parrots) to become addicted to the stuff. This he applied to Thurston's leg, getting another glare for his troubles. The other item ...

He was getting it stowed in the mess when the new young cook (Tom, was it?) popped his head in. "Kid, let me explain something to you," Rip said. "The contents of this here bag are NOT part of the ship's rations. They're for the exclusive use of my parrot -- and you would be amazed how much damage he can do to someone who steals his licorice."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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A subtle bump running through the airframe, and a slight increase in the engine sounds announced the departure of the ship. Those unfamiliar with airships might not even notice, though old hands certainly did. Those less familiar, however, couldn't miss it when the airship executed a turn.

"On course, sir," Kattie announced. "Holding level at 5,000 feet, airspeed indicated is 10 knots."

"Very well," Captain Wrackham nodded. "Steady as she goes. Make sure that new cook has something good and ready for dinner."

"Aye, captain."

"And makes sure the gun crews inspect everything. I'm going to want to have a practice soon."

"Aye, sir."

"I'll be in my bunk."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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After having locked up the licorice stock in the super-secret safe cabinet in the corner and placing the key in a pot of boiling water and with no handles, Tom proceeded to prepare dinner. The hat kept dropping into his eyes, but it saved him from blindness at least once or twice when boiling fat spewed out of the pans into his face. As it was, he just a fairly evident burn his left fore-arm, but was otherwise okay.

The salted pork stew a la powdered dairy extract and kind of unfamiliar old mushroom-y stuff was coming along quite well, actually, when The Bonny Read rose into the skies with a barely perceptible shudder, at least to Tom's sky-worthy sense of balance. The turn, however, he was not expecting. He tumbled sideways, somehow managing to execute a clumsy cartwheel and simultaneous pot-snatch in mid-air, deftly spinning the piece of metal off the oven to compensate for the ship's tilt and running it expertly to the flames of the stove.

Shortly there-after, when he'd regained his feet, he was knocked unconscious by a rogue frying pan that had not been attached properly to the wall. Tom was out cold for a few moments before waking up to find the stew bubbling merrily and a delicious aroma wafting through the kitchen. A clove of garlic had dropped into the pot while he wasn't looking, and the result was divine. Now that it was ready, he left it to simmer while he tackled with the "dough" he was trying to turn into a loaf of "bread," and prayed that the captain would not, in fact, consider him an affront to the crew and "fire" him...
Very well, I accept. Twizzlers at dawn 'pon the field of honour.
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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One of the nice things about the beginning of an expedition, Rip reflected, was that he didn't really have much to do. All of the damage from the last trip had been repaired, they hadn't had time to accumulate any more, and the lookout duty that he'd drawn hadn't even become boring yet. He'd get through this first watch, get something to eat (it actually smelled as though the child cook knew what he was doing; what a novelty), and then have some time to read the latest book he'd picked up in Isabel, something about a white whale -- it all sounded pretty improbable, but hey, everyone could use some escapism.

"So whatcha gonna do if she's there, boss?" Thurston said around his licorice stick, interrupting Rip's repetitive scanning of the horizon and sky.

"I haven't really decided yet," he replied, without shifting his gaze; he knew what the parrot looked like, after all. "Maybe claim her as booty, so to speak. The skipper usually doles out a little of the good stuff to the crew before he fences the rest. I don't particularly want any of the elven gimcracks, so why not a love slave as my part of the take?"

"RAAWWK. I can relate," the parrot said. "Just give me a couple of nice budgies to wait on me wing and foot, and screw the other stuff, right?"

"I like you, Thurston."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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"Cap'n."

"Hmm... I smell fennel."

"Captain."

"A little sage, too..."

"Captain!"

"A lot of garlic. That's good. I enjoy garlic."

"CAPTAIN!"

Captain Rackham turned and gave Kattie a long look. "There's no need to shout."

"Sorry, sir. Won't happen again sir. We have a problem, sir!"

"Nothing to do with the cook, is it?"

"Oh, no sir. He's fine sir. I warned him about the ginger."

"That's fine. Carry on."

Kattie paused, and gave Captain Rackham a long suffering look. "Captain..."

"Oh, are you still here? What is it?"

"There's another airship on the horizon."

"Is it the Tsuirakuans already?"

"I'm afraid not. It's the Queen Alice's Revenge."

Rackham checked the chronometer on the wall. "Where's she headed?"

"Parallel course, sir."

"They're after the Tsuirakuans too."

"Seems like it."

"Pass word to the crew. We have competition."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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"Is there gonna be a fight, boss?" Thurston asked nervously, eyeing the other airship.

Rip shook his head. "Probably not. The captains are too smart for that. They both know that there's nothing worth fighting for on the other ship; if there was anything in the holds, we wouldn't both be going after Nikolaitis, would we? Now coming back from a raid, maybe... but on the way out, they'll probably just settle for insulting each other. Ah, here we go." The hailing light on the other ship was blinking.

"Let's see what he's saying. 'Your ... mother ... sleeps ... with ... trolls.' Pretty lame. I wish I could see what the skipper was sending back..."
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Re: Airship Pirates, Chapter 1: Isabel

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Deep in the hold of the airship Reyn began to wake up. Groggily he began to sit up before a flash of pain left him doubled over and clutching at his head. As the pain subsided he attempted to sit up again, more carefully this time and take stock of his surroundings. He was definitely somewhere unfamiliar, he could not even remember how he had come to be here. Indeed most of the events of the previous night were a blur with only fragments teasing him with what he might have done. There had been something about him and another man deciding they were going to do something, he was not sure exactly what, but it was going to make them rich and famous they had been sure of that.

"I swear I am never drinking again." He whispered to himself as he struggled to get to his feet. The ground seem to sway below him and he wondered if he was perhaps still drunk. However that did not seem right as he felt far too terrible to be drunk. It was at that moment the airship chose to turn and the resulting lurch sent Reyn crashing into the nearest wall. This time his ribs joined his head in a chorus of pain and he swore bitterly as he lay on the ground. It was at this moment he realised that he was not wearing his rucksack and he looked around in a brief panic ignoring the needles of pain this sparked in his head until he saw it, the violin case and his rifle lying not too far away.

Breathing a sigh of relief he managed to make it back on to his feet and went to pick up his belongings. Now what he needed was a way out and a quick look around provided an answer. There was a ladder leading to a hatch in the ceiling not too far away from where he stood. Making his way to it he carefully climbed up wincing only occasionally as his headache served as a reminder to the previous night's events. Soon he was at the top and after a brief bit of difficulty he opened the catch and emerged into the sunlight.

The first thing he noticed as his eyes adjusted to the glare of the light which seemed far more harsh than usual was the movement of the air passing him. A horrible realisation began to creep over him once he was able to look around and the sights finally began to register. The crew working around him, the movement and lurching of the ground, this was an airship. He swore again. He began to get a few puzzled looks from the people around him who seemed to have finally noticed his presence as he climbed completely up on to the deck. Standing uncertainly he waited for one of them to do something, anything to break this awkward position in which he found himself.
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