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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OOC If you have an outrageous idea my friend, then go ahead. I'm still breaking out of my creative slump atm so I'm trying to force myself to write every day even if it's only short posts such as.../OOC

"There's a few places onboard." Leo said, his mood still clearly unenthusiastic given the nature of the investigation and his recent sibling related altercation. "The theatre area might have a dressing room or two free. The storage areas below decks are unlikely to be attended too. But if you've got somewhere in mind lead on."

"Don't suppose you noticed anything suspicious last night?" Eve queried. "The more I think about it there were a lot of weird people knocking around before and after we got on the craft."

"That's called 'cultured' Eve."

"Cultured my eye." The short merc responded. "Sticking feathers up your arse doesn't make you a chicken."
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[OOC:
Jack Rothwell wrote:"Sticking feathers up your arse doesn't make you a chicken."
I love it ... So here's the off-the-wall idea, with some links to earlier, uh, "encounters" with this outfit in case you've forgotten. They were created originally to get the creative juices flowing, after all ... Sorry this is kinda long, but I hope you'll find it worth it!]

Khoo thought about it. "Dressing rooms sound good. Not sure I want to venture into the storage areas, almost feels like we might run into a dead body there." He cringed at the thought, and would later wonder, after the Silver Hands told him about the discovery in the bilge and what had happened to it, if he was prescient. "Let's see if there's something there."

They didn't get very far, however, before getting sidetracked by a very different idea. They were walking along one of the cross corridors on the amenities deck when Anna-Lisa spotted a small, inconspicuous door with a placard calling it the "chapel." This didn't set alarm bells ringing for Khoo ... yet. Rather the contrary, in fact; he figured, correctly, that this "entertainment" would be something set up for groups that wanted to have, and of course pay bucketfuls of tsuis for, a "colorful" wedding on shipboard.

He hadn't thought through all the implications of that "colorful" opportunity before he opened his mouth, without fully engaging brain. "Hm. Doesn't look like it's in use right now, and probably won't be until we're out on the high seas. Besides, Tsuirakuans aren't religious, in the main." (His home village's worship of the Sea God, which he'd been starting to consider fallacious before some of the weirdness that had happened to him lately but was beginning to wonder about again, didn't register as an exception.) "Probably just some little thing where the captain can officiate, no particular tie to one church or another." Then the fateful four words: "Let's have a look."

The door wasn't locked, and the room was apparently empty and larger than the small door suggested it might be. It was also ... oddly furnished. [OOC: Have fun with the furnishings, and see the first link in the following for some inspirations. /OOC:] One more conventional bit of furnishings was obvious: some kind of altar that looked just right for a bride and groom to stand at it while the captain, or somebody, pronounced them hitched. Well, as long as there was somewhere to sit down and talk, as there clearly was, it should work, weird decor or no weird decor.

He would later realize that he should have anticipated Anna-Lisa's reaction to this place, but he didn't.

"OOoooh!" she gasped, eyes wide and a rapturous smile on her face. "What a place for us to get married, lover!" ("Uh, I don't think..." Khoo began hopelessly, but it was too late.) "Let's check it out!" She rushed up to the altar, obviously imagining herself pouncing on her prey there, and started fiddling with the decorations ... in the process pressing a small, inconspicuous stud.

There was a sudden, intense flare of magic that all but dazzled the group. When it cleared, an extremely oddly dressed figure had materialized beside Anna-Lisa, standing on a raised pedestal to accommodate the fact that he(?) was about a foot shorter than she was, or a potential bridegroom (i.e., Khoo) would be.

This remarkable apparition smiled broadly. "Good morning, The Dwarves Love You," it intoned. "How may I be of assistance?"
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Jade made an uncharacteristically girlish yelp at the sudden appearance of the figure. Magic she could handle; jump scares were something else. Leo managed a smile at his girlfriend's reaction and doffed an imaginary hat respectfully at the apparition.

"Good morning and calm tides to you." He greeted her. "My friends and I were looking for somewhere quiet to have a conversation. Are there any people with reservations who might arrive at time soon?"
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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The apparition with the dwarf outfit -- Khoo wasn't sure whether it was an insubstantial projection, or a construct, and didn't think he wanted to know -- froze, not a hair on its "beard" moving. Khoo had seen this happen before; when a construct was confronted with something "off script," it locked up until something got its thaumatic intelligence back on track. I can't believe I'm doing this. He stepped up to the altar, not saying a word. "We'd like some time to ourselves before the -- ceremony begins, if we could."

That, apparently, was one of the responses that the "minister" understood; at least its thaumatic intelligence rebooted. It nodded sagely. "I am authorized by the captain of this vessel, and by the Holy Dwarves Themselves, to pronounce you husband and wife, or husband and husband, or wife and wife, whenever you are ready. Just call me again." It gestured at the small knob that Anna-Lisa had inadvertently bumped, then disappeared in a flash of magic.

Anna-Lisa wasn't hard to read; she got a disappointed look on her face and her shoulders sagged. "But lover! We could have got married right here and now! We --"

Khoo silenced her in the customary way. When the kiss was done, he said, "There'll be a time for that, but the time isn't right now. We have a mission to do first, and then we can --" He couldn't finish the sentence, just coughed lightly, and continued, "Is that okay?" And then it struck him:

I just proposed to my girlfriend. Sort of.

The silence of the chapel (apparently it had good enough soundproofing to keep out the noises of the ship and the sea) was broken, at least to his ears, only by the pounding of his heart and the rushing of blood to his face.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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Leo caught a vaguely wistful expression on Jade's face at Anna-Lisa's enthusiasm for holy matrimony and quietly marvelled. In all the time he'd known her he'd learned that Jade often put up a tough, some might say mannish, front, but that front was the result of an upbringing in a male dominated household complete with a trio of brothers and a father whose profession she inherited. The trauma of their loss was something that had hardened her as a person as well; a protection against sentimentality like iron which she had only been able to let go of over time.

The fact was she enjoyed indulging in her feminine side. The way she'd unconsciously preened herself wearing the dress to the illusionary opera the night before had been evidence enough; on top of a million other observations made over the years. At that moment the Silver Hand felt a swell of love for her that seemed almost overwhelming. She'd been the one to get him to grow up and start taking life as something more than an amusement filled by playing mercenary, playing cards and playing dress up as if the world was a stage and the people upon it only players. She'd given him something to build a life with.

He made the decision there and then. He was going to propose, the sooner the better, but in light of recent events there and then was not exactly the best, or most romantic time, to do it.

"There's a killer on board." He said out loud, bringing the lovebirds attention from their reverie. "Maybe several. They struck last night, and there's at least 2 other victims I know of..."

OOC I'll tweak if any info is inaccurate. I'm going to re-read the thread and the previous one to hammer down details. The prospect of a marriage on the ship is a nice touch i hadn't considered btw. :D /OOC
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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[OOC: Let Anna-Lisa do the tweaking for you, as she's figured something out -- whether correctly or not remains to be established (cooperatively). Incidentally, I think we're getting to where we need a dramatis personae for all the named NPCs. Look for it in the OOC Discussion thread, here.]

"Oh, there haven't been two dead bodies yet from the ship," Anna-Lisa chirped. "One came from the submarine."

"Huh?" said four voices in unison: the Silver Hands' and Khoo's.

"Oh, I figured it out," she went on. "That Kawamura guy got picked up by the sub we saw -- remember that, lover? -- and they floated that body up to make it look like his. But it isn't his. I'm just sure of it."

Khoo experienced a moment of dizziness, and not just because he was still worn out from too much sex. He had to admit, though: she might have a point. He explained to the Silver Hands about the other submarine they'd seen while submerged. "And that overstuffed ass of a first officer tried to pass this body off as Kawamura," he finished, realizing that he'd just supported a wild idea floated by Anna-Lisa Po. This seemed a dangerous precedent to set.

"Of course, we still don't know whether Kawamura is alive, and Lifemage Saraya may be dead too," he finished, just in case Anna-Lisa's idea was as crazy as it had sounded at first ... but he was beginning to think that maybe it wasn't.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"Fair enough." Leo conceded. "But the fact remains several people have died or gone missing in a short period of time, and that happening on and off this vessel adds weight to the idea that there's a conspiracy afoot."

"It could all be coincidence." Eve interjected.

"Sure, maybe the patchwork body turning up in the bilge had nothing to do with the lifemage Saraya's disappearance just after she'd been appointed to examine it and maybe her bit on the side chopped himself into cutlets in a fit of guilt for interfering in her marriage."

"Parts of him were missing weren't they? Or could have been?" Jade said, repressing a shudder. "That, the weird body in the bilge would suggest there was some kind of... dark magic involved?"

"Necromancy." Leo spat. "It figures magic would be involved in this." He looked at Khoo and Anna-Lisa. "No offense intended. What about the patchwork body itself? Do either of you of any specifics or clues about that kind of magic? Processes, items used, anything we could use to identify evidence about the kind of people who'd use it?"
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"What about the patchwork body itself? Do either of you of any specifics or clues about that kind of magic? Processes, items used, anything we could use to identify evidence about the kind of people who'd use it?"

Khoo thought about it, going back to the mission that he'd been "assigned" by the disagreeable Choubei Masaki that got him into the mess in the Mushroom Woods (and, to be sure, into bed with Anna-Lisa, which he was coming to admit did have certain ... positives). "Organ runners, maybe? I've heard that there's a nasty underground trade in body parts that could be used to make lifelike golems for ..." he shook himself -- "particularly unsavory purposes."

He might have expected Anna-Lisa to look shocked, but she was no fool (weird, yes), and besides, she'd worked for the Mesuinus. "But why would organ runners throw the parts into the bilge that you'd think would be most useful for making -- illegal golems?" she asked, the last part barely above a whisper.

Khoo thought again. "Good question. Wonder if there's anything about that on Tsuipedia?" He extracted his crystal ball and started to fire up Crystal-net, but the air in the chapel suddenly got murky and the "dwarven" figure materialized again at the altar. "We humbly request that guests refrain from the use of crystal balls or other scrying devices until after the ceremony is over," this figure intoned. "The Dwarves thank you!" He disappeared in another flash of magic.

Khoo didn't even bother swearing. "I should have thought of that," he said, putting away the ball. "No signal here. We'll have to go somewhere else." Then he had a brainstorm, of sorts. "That person 'Maud' that you know, is she from one of the Farrelite guilds? From what I hear, it seems like everyone in Farrel of any consequence is in one, and she came across as being, well, consequential. Any chance she'd know more about this kind of thing?"

--------

"Maud" might or might not know much about such things, similarly with "Brunhilde," but Elke Sonnenschein-Stagpoole, second-level capo in the Eisenfaust, knew about everything that her guild smuggled into and out of Port Lorrel; that was her job, after all. And the sight of the Waffenbruderschaft had her thinking very hard about trade in illicit items at Alctraziel, very hard indeed.
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"Any chance she'd know more about this kind of thing?"

"If not, I'd bet my last gold she'd have connections to someone who does." Eve murmured. "Although I doubt it's that hulk she's travelling with."

If Jade caught the resentment in that last part she made no sign of it.

"The other thing to consider here is Saraya. She's at the crime scene. She gets assigned to examine the body. She goes to get some sleep. She disappears, and her boytoy gets murdered."

"Yes, and?" That was Leo.

"Specifically the person your brother appointed to do the examination disappears." She repeated.

"Yes... and?"

"But no one else who was at the scene."

"Still waiting for you point, dear heart."

"Doesn't that imply that the killer was listening in? He could've done it magically or... he could've been there in person."

"Also implies that he really, really didn't want anyone examining the body." Eve ginned evilly, then added.. "Anyone want to take that job? You got a strong stomach Khoo?"

"And I think our Captain should have another look at all of the crew who were present last night." Leo sighed. "I guess someone, me, should tell him."
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Re: Murder on the Majestic Otter

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"You got a strong stomach Khoo?"

Anybody who ever had to sit through that disgusting Thaumatic Safety class at Sashi Mu
, thought Khoo, could only have one answer to that, particularly after the last couple of months of reinforcement. He decided that his propensity for seasickness didn't count as a counterexample; boats had never come up in that class, after all. "Strong enough," he replied, with surprising conviction.

However, Anna-Lisa, who'd stopped with her B.Thm. and not taken the first-year grad-student course, looked decidedly green. "I dunno, lover ... I'm a little on the queasy side ..." Most of those present would certainly go along with that disclaimer, after what had happened in the Mushroom Woods. She shuddered visibly, which was not something Khoo, or anyone else present, was exactly used to seeing. "Could I swap places with -- one of you and go see the captain? Or try to find Maud?"

The role swap was accomplished [OOC: take this as an OK to set up the two or three subgroups however you see fit -- /OOC], and all involved were getting ready to move out, when one of the tasks that Leo had thought of was pre-empted, at least partially. The chapel door opened without a knock, and in stepped Lonnie Budiel, the young crewman who'd been sent to the bilges and found the first body, or at least collection of body parts. His shift on duty should have ended some hours earlier, but he definitely looked like he hadn't been spending that time sleeping or doing anything else comfortable. "Lum'nosita protect me," he swore softly. "Didn't mean to interrupt, couldn't sleep, just wanted to come in and pray for that poor bastard's soul..." The possibility that it had been more than one "bastard" and soul appeared lost on him; he hadn't made it up to the bridge yet (it would have taken some time for him to get back to his quarters and clean up) when Saraya had made that discovery. [OOC: To simplify things, let's assume that his name came up when Leo had been summoned to talk to his brother and Niranjan, and that he's wearing a name tag, so that the "who's this?" part of the conversation can be bypassed. However, if you do want to play out that part, this can be retconned. /OOC:]

More than one voice said things to the effect of "No, no, come on in, we were just leaving, but we'd like to talk to you about it," and the young man stepped into the chapel, still smelling faintly of bilge water and other things.
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