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Thread: Round 1: Team A

  1. #1
    Administrator
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    Max Dirks's Avatar

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    Max Dirks
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    Round 1: Team A

    Round 1 will begin at 3 PM EST on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

    You stumble upon the refugee camp either to assist the Rangers or by other circumstances. The cat like race of people you encounter do not speak any known language. Three combat ships are bearing down on the camp. Their origins and purpose, like those of the refugees, is unknown. An ideal thread will address the communication issue with the cat people, the purpose of the combat ships, decipher the symbol and will identify the origins of both parties. Please note the term refugees was coined by Ceidon to describe an unknown group of crash victims. It is entirely up to you whether they are actually refugees.
    Althanas Operations Administrator

    Dirks GP amount: 2949

  2. #2
    The Outlaw Torn
    EXP: 57,454, Level: 10
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    Level completed: 32%,
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    AP
    40
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    Out of Character:
    Prologue

    Shinsou Vaan Osiris, dressed in wool and oilskin thermals, looked out over the glimmering Salvic sea as a dirty harbour tug pushed the bow of the Golden Phoenix around to the south, facing down the channel. The dock that had held the Alerarian built steam ship for two interminable months was now just a water filled wooden box, one of the many specifically built for harbouring larger vessels from the harsh northern elements. On the edge, a collection of sailors and dockyard workers looked on without a wave or a cheer.

    That was hardly a surprise. The Golden Phoenix was the flagship in a small fleet of Alerarian ships belonging to the feared Black Fist pirates, a group who had caused Shinsou’s Brotherhood a great deal of inconvenience over the last few months. From the plundering of Brotherhood supply lines to the sinking of merchant ships, the pirates had hurt the Castigars economically and their Executor had finally exhausted his patience with the bandit’s operations. Recruiting a small party of his own, Osiris had infiltrated the ranks of the Fist and had spent months in the company of their leader, Galshin, to earn his trust. That in turn had earned him a vice-command on the Phoenix, the Fist’s prize possession, and a spot for his crew in the ship. For now, Galshin himself was in charge.

    Not for long... The Telgradian thought to himself smugly.

    “Engines ahead slow, Shinsou.” Galshin ordered. The man was the size of a bear and about as hairy, and his hulking form dwarfed the wiry Telgradian at his side. Osiris nodded, affirming the order to his own man who scurried below deck. The tug slid out of the way and the Black Fist’s leader glanced aft to see the water stirring from the force of the twin bronze propellers. The tug had done a simple job but had done it well. The Golden Phoenix was set for Alerar.

    “So, my lord, again we go to sea to serve the brethren!” Shinsou, referring to the colloquial term for the Black Fist’s members, poked his head out of the iron chassis of the bridge, watching as the bow of the ship smashed through a thin layer of Salvic ice as men scurried around him. The tiny control station was already crowded enough with Galshin, Shinsou and the lookout, but seamen flocked there intermittently, attending to their leader like royalty. In their minds, everything he did was to serve the Fist and his was a name that had mystical connotations to any lower ranking man of the brethren. He was their substitute for a godhead.

    “Indeed.” Galshin replied with more cheer than he felt. “Two weeks at sea. It is good to leave the dock. The brethren belong at sea, not tied alongside, overrun with workmen with dirty boots and a bored crew. Also, we will finally be warm.”

    “You find this cold?” Shinsou asked incredulously, forgetting momentarily his own resistance to the freezing temperatures.

    For the hundredth time, Galshin told himself that Shinsou was the perfect officer. His voice was always too loud, his humour too affected. He never allowed a person to forget what he was. The Telgradian was an easy man to fear.

    “On a day like this, Galshin,” Shinsou continued, “flowers bloom and the rum tastes especially fine. To be at sea on a day like this is a gift.”

    Althanas Operations Administrator


  3. #3
    The Outlaw Torn
    EXP: 57,454, Level: 10
    Level completed: 32%, EXP required for next level: 7,546
    Level completed: 32%,
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    40
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    Despite her huge bulk, the Golden Phoenix’s crew accommodations would have shamed a Lornian gaoler.

    The staff consisted of fifteen officers, housed in fairly decent cabins aft, and seventy enlisted men who were stuffed into whatever corners and racks they could find space in throughout the ship. Indeed, the boat’s size was deceptive. The interior of her double layered hull was crammed with Alerarian steam-engine technology; pipework, bolts, valves, compressors and configuration levers. There were no weapons mounted on the vessel to speak of, but various small arms were stocked in portside cabins that were re-purposed as armouries. The men themselves served as a primary method of assault.

    Shinsou strode purposefully down the grimy length of the ship, just behind Galshin. The short journey to the control room involved swerving overhanging pipes, sidestepping scurrying pedestrians and dodging boiling clouds of steam. Everything stank of grease and iron. As they went, Galshin slapped an anvil sized hand on the shoulder of a passing officer, stopping the young man in his tracks.

    “Tell navigation to plot a course for the Alerarian southern coast and to weigh anchor there.”

    Galshin watched his crewmen as they jumped to their orders without question. Any order he gave could make experienced men shudder, and half of his crew were fresh from jails around Althanas, looking for a new opportunity to further their careers. There were sudden pops as the hull creaked under the strain of the thick ice the Phoenix had to navigate to get out of Salvic waters, something that took some getting used to. Unseen by the giant commander, some of the younger men sat rigidly upright in their seats down the oily hallway. As Galshin and the Telgradian entered the room, the crew snapped to.

    One man, a certain Cain Jodin, wore the uniform of an officer. He stood at the helm as one of Galshin’s watch. He gave Shinsou a knowing look, one that wasn’t returned deliberately by the Telgradian.

    Not yet. Only on the signal.

    One of the few female crew to work for Galshin, a shiphand called Razel, stayed bolt upright in the shadows of the small room. Her aquamarine eyes briefly met Shinsou’s, but experience granted her the subtlety to let their exchange go unnoticed.

    Good. All in position.

    “Well done, Jodin. You have the helm. Slow to a third speed, and have eyes out on deck. We don’t want to get into any imperial entanglements on the way.” Galshin’s voice boomed out over the control room. Cain saluted, turning to his post, whilst Galshin turned to leave, motioning for Shinsou to follow him.

    So it began.

    The pair went to the Phoenix’ wardroom. The brutish Galshin held the door open for his vice commander, then closed and locked it behind himself. The Golden Phoenix’s wardroom was a spacious affair for an Alerarian ironclad, located immediately forward of the galley, aft of the officer accommodations. Its walls were soundproofed, and the door had a lock because her designers had known that not everything the officers had to say was for the ears of enlisted men. It was large enough for all of the officers to eat as a group – though at least three of them would always be on duty. The safe containing Galshin’s orders, in case of his death, was here and not in the captain’s own cabin where a man might use his solitude to try opening it by himself. It was hardly necessary to open it, as both men knew the orders already, but Galshin was obsessive compulsive about keeping order; unusual for a man in such a profession as this.

    Shinsou poured tea whilst Galshin took his seat, lighting up a choice cigar from his overstocked collection.

    “So, what do you suppose our Castigar friends will have in store for us today?” Shinsou asked theatrically.

    “Gold, of course.” Galshin smiled.

    “Indeed.” Shinsou broke the wax seal on the envelope containing Galshin’s written directive. “So we are to proceed to the Alerarian coastline where we will intercept a bullion shipment on the merchant vessel Domine. The interception area is confined to forty square kilometers.”

    Galshin frowned. “Do I see disappointment?”

    “Shinsou shook his head, wringing his fingers through his hands. “No, not really. This will be an interesting diversion until the main shipments hit the coast.”

    Bastard, Shinsou said to himself, You knew beforehand exactly what our shipping schedule was. How were you doing it? Well, no matter.

    It was time.

    Galshin stubbed the cigar butt out, blowing away the bluish plumes of smoke, before standing. “So, again I am permitted to watch the master tactician at work befuddling a novice organisation’s supply lines.” He turned towards the door. “I think-“

    Shinsou kicked Galshin’s feet out from under him just as he was stepping away from the table. The giant fell backwards while Osiris sprang to his feet and grasped the pirate leader’s bear like head in his strong hands. The Telgradian drove his neck downward to the sharp, metal edge corner of the wardroom table, striking the point. In the same instant Shinsou pushed down on the man’s chest. An unnecessary gesture – with the sickening crackle of bones Galshin’s tree trunk like neck broke, his spine severed at the level of the second cervical vertebra; a perfect hangman’s fracture.

    Galshin had no time to react. The nerves to his body below the neck were instantly cut off from the organs and muscles they controlled. He tried to shout, to say something, but the mouth flapped open and shut without a sound except for the exhalation of his last lungful of air. He tried to gulp air down like a landed fish, but this didn’t work. Then his eyes went up to Shinsou, wide in shock – there was no pain, and no emotion but surprise.

    Shinsou laid him gently on the tile deck. He saw the face flash with recognition, then darken.

    No more than you deserve, either. Time to get the signal out.

    With a firm pull on an alarm’s bell’s cord, the Telgradian unleashed hell. The young seamen who had passed themselves off as simple career criminals, and had masterfully evaded Galshin’s extreme vetting, leapt into action under Jodin and Razel’s command, finally showing their Brotherhood colours and overpowering their Black Fist counterparts in the control room within seconds of the order. As furniture and weapons flew chaotically about the enclosed space, bones were broken and blood was drawn. Soon enough, the Brotherhood’s hired hands had full control of the ship, their Fist captives secured safely in the Phoenix’s brig.

    Moments later, Shinsou carried himself through the narrow passageway into the room to find a relatively unscathed Cain Jodin and Razel stood amongst their peers, successful in their planned mutiny. Wiping the dust from the conn chair, Shinsou nodded to his men and leaned forward.

    “Galshin is dead and his cohorts are secured in the ship’s brig, for now, so we’re taking the Phoenix to Etheria. This is a momentous day for the Brotherhood. When we get home, those of you who served all these months amongst their ranks will be duly rewarded for your efforts; the efforts that keep our supply lines safe and our people alive. Well done. One less bunch of bastards on the high seas is a good day’s work. Jodin?”

    Shinsou called to the experienced seaman, who came forward at once.

    “You have the conn, Razel to support. Wake me up when we get to Etheria. You both did well today; you’ve earned your pay.”

    Althanas Operations Administrator


  4. #4
    Member
    EXP: 11,790, Level: 4
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    jdd2035's Avatar

    Name
    Captain Cain Jodin
    Age
    27
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    Human
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    5'11
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    Merchant Sailor/ Privateer

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    For the last several weeks Cain had posed as a master’s mate and was eventually hired on the steamship the Golden Phoenix. Not too long ago, during the Corone Civil war, Cain was a smuggler and his ship the Peregrine was a hired Man O’ War for the Republic. The Peregrine and her crew had a distinguished career, taking many prizes and smuggling both supplies and troops to eventually help win the war in the republic’s favor. After the Civil war, Cain stayed on to hunt pirates and Imperial remnants that may have fled the nation. His actions during and after the Civil war had made himself a known quantity in the less savory parts of the seas.

    Because he was known, Cain did what he could to remain as inconspicuous as he could. To that end he forewent his sea coat and tricorn. Rather, he dressed in a drab brown sweater and denim jerkin, topped off with a knit cap. This was what he wore during the entire extended cutting out expedition. He spent time watching the goings on and wondered how this gaggle of black guardy inept sailors had kept from sinking their ship or being hanged from the yardarm. They had numbers, but very little in the way of practice for the great guns and little, if anything, in the way of seamanship. The crew was lucky to not have to steer, reef or haul in such a ship as this.

    That was his final thought before Osiris signaled the mutiny.

    Cain had done his part with a main gosh and his fist. But now that the black guards were below deck and clapped in irons, Cain could become himself once again. When next Cain was seen he was now more like the Captain everyone knew he was. He had donned his clean sail cloth shirt with brass buttons, tarpaulin trousers with hessian boots, his number one sea coat and a well used tricorn hat to round out his proper dress. To top things off he put on his twin cap lock pistols and a cavalry saber.

    As he stepped out the boatswain piped the hands to the quarterdeck and Cain gave a brief speech about what was to come. “Until this ship reaches her destination she is considered by law to be a prize. That means that this crew will be considered a prize crew so long as she flies under the colors of the Private Man O War Peregrine’s colors. To that end we will conduct ourselves in such a manner as befitting her.”

    At this point those in the know began to smile. They knew that the Peregrine’s crew, while worked incredibly hard, was also rewarded and treated well with more than their fare share of grog, small beer, large beer, wine and food.

    “First this ship will be made presentable. Open all shutters, grates and ports and get a party to begin holystoning the deck. All decks will be cleaned of trash and refuse and all bright works will be polished to a high shine. Finally unless you are an engineer stay out of the engine room. Leave that to those that know steamworks. You are dismissed.”

    With that the crew dispersed and the ship finally began to get into a familiar rhythm. Cain closed his eyes and gripped the helm, feeling the vibrations of the water feeding through the rudder to the wheel. Beyond the chug of the engine and the hissing of the steam pistons, he heard the wheezing of the pumps spraying water onto the decks. At the same time he heard the sawing noise of the holystones turning fresh sea water into a milky opaque mix of sand, sawdust and caulk between the deck boards with the sound of a watch bell ringing every half hour. The boatswain could be heard piping his whistle, giving orders and startling idlers with the bitter end of a rope when they were caught. Cain smelt the salt spray of the sea, with the crisp bite of the cold on his cheeks beyond the smell of burning coal.

    In spite of it all he felt as if he was a member of the old guard of sailors and seamen; his garb looked out of style compared to those that were more used to a steam ship and he wondered at it.

    Presently two kegs of freshly made grog and a mix of lime juice, rum and water were stationed at the forecastle with each seaman taking their turn at the spigot before returning to their duties. Cain filled his mug and stepped over to the starboard rail. He began a rhythmic pacing from the farthest eye bolt on the quarter deck to where the main chains would have been on a traditional ship, twenty five paces each direction, before taking a swig with each turn. He consulted the log, charts and sextant to determine the position of the ship. From time to time he would order an adjustment to the course but without sails to reef, tacks to change or lines to haul Cain felt some what redundant and so he continued his rhythmic pacing.

    An hour out of Etheria, Cain had a pot of coffee brewed and brought a mug to Osiris’ cabin. In an attempted soft voice, he spoke through the door. “Mr. Osiris, we are about an hour from Port Etheria.” With that, Cain placed the mug on the nearby stand and stepped back out to the deck.

  5. #5
    Member

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    Razel's Avatar

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    Razel
    Age
    21
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    Human
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    Female
    Hair Color
    Dark Dirty Red
    Eye Color
    Aqua Blue

    Like the falling of an executioner’s axe, it was all over in that single moment. Razel, once excited with anticipation and itching to spring into action, was now disappointed and miffed at the resolution of their greatly prepared uprising. It wasn't that it hadn't gone as planned, but that it had worked even smoother and faster than she had imagined and the expected thrill and enjoyment was over before it began.

    Razel often suffered with an overactive imagination and life wasn't always as thrilling and stimulating as her mind predicted. She had desired so much more out of life than what had been given to her and after this little boat adventure was over she would have to search for something else of interest. Living the life of a mercenary and thief was often an intriguing story in itself, but finding a place in this world for someone of her ilk was not easy; not if she wanted to have the friends and associates she desired.

    “You both did well today; you’ve earned your pay.” Shinsou had spoken with such an authoritarian manner. Granted, he was now the captain and ran his Brotherhood confidently, but Razel couldn't shake the feeling that he looked down on them like dogs.

    Now waiting alongside Shinsou in his quarters, Razel chewed lightly on her tree gum. The small sweet fruit was a tough chew, but its flavour lasted for hours provided one did not pierce it. She huffed lightly and rolled her eyes, twirling the twig-like fruit over her tongue as she moved it from one cheek to the other. The thought of the many now-mundane tasks ruined the idea of running a pirated ship. She was already surprised that the crew listened to her.

    I hope something more entertaining is going to happen... This whole job could be the most boring one yet.

    She reached back and began to re-plait her ponytail, still trying to keep her beautiful rusty red hair neat and tidy - she certainly didn't appreciate it flying into her face during a tense moment. She glanced at Jodin through the door's porthole. The sailor was a little rough around the edges, but he was alright in her books. Although, currently he seemed more of a follower than anything else. Either that or Shinsou was truly awe-inspiring to gain such loyalty from him.

    Despite being a loner and conducting herself more cautiously, Razel had been paid to protect and support Shinsou, and she was loyal to her word. What no one else knew was that she was also there to perform any specialist tasks he requested. Not that he had asked anything of great significance just yet. As far as she was concerned, as soon as the job was complete, or if the money went dry, she was out of here.

    She leaned against the doorway, watching the steaming cup as Jodin delivered it to his master. Is that scar of yours due to following someone's orders? Or was that a fate of your own choice? A small and almost timid voice called out regarding Shinsou's brew, and then Jodin left.

    Razel had no intention of getting it and hoped he didn't suggest it either. She rolled her eyes at the thought. Where's my brew? You suck up, bitch. It probably seemed odd to have her in his room, but she'd kill if someone suggested anything of it. Well, she'd hit them at least - hard. This was business, even if an attractive male and woman such as herself were left alone, it was only the thoughts of the others that crossed her mind.

    Not for the first time, the boat shuddered like a jerking tree branch slapping back into position. Being no expert didn't matter in this instance; there was definitely something unusual going on with the ship itself. An amateur could tell that they had a problem, so why she had seen no acknowledgment to it frustrated her. She would advise him herself just to be sure.

    "Shinsou," she called out to get his attention. "Has no one reported an engine problem yet? Because honestly, I've no intention of being stranded at sea on a broken vessel."

  6. #6
    The Outlaw Torn
    EXP: 57,454, Level: 10
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    Level completed: 32%,
    EXP required for next level: 7,546

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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
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    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    Shinsou took his time to consider his response to the mercenary he had hired a week ago as she stood in close proximity to him. Her comments about the engine problems weren’t exactly tantamount to questioning his fitness to command, but Razel obviously thought him naive. It was a symptom of most mercenaries; more interested in doing the job and earning the money than paying attention and learning about their employer. It hadn’t occurred to her that the Telgradian knew full well something was up, and, perhaps, that his trust in his men to resolve any technical issue meant he had no reason to yet become panicked.

    Nevertheless, as he stood, Osiris chose his words carefully.

    “Don’t worry. The reason no-one has reported a problem is because my engineers probably believe they can resolve the issue and think there is nothing yet worth reporting,” Shinsou wiped a hand through his chestnut hair as a shrieking noise squealed through the narrow pipework of the ship’s interior, “therefore, I shall leave them to do their duty. Trust and loyalty are a two way street. Without trust we cannot have synergy. Without synergy, we become individuals capable of much less than we’re worth.”

    Razel seemed mildly disinterested by his opinion; not in a particularly rude way, but in a manner which confirmed that which Shinsou already knew. Her mind was already a few days ahead; to payday, or to a time when she would have something other than sitting around the ship to do. He couldn’t really blame her, though. This was her living and she had earned it.

    As Osiris paced towards his cabin door, deciding to change subject, he motioned for the woman to follow him.

    “I would be grateful if you could assist Jodin in overseeing the bridge. I’ll be along presently.”

    Down in the depths of the engine room, a semi-formal inspection was taking place. As a timer dinged, chief engineer Malachi lifted out from a pipe one of the dozens of propulsion rods that helped to push steam into the engine of the ship, shaking it and setting it into a water filled basin. It had been over three months since a vessel he had served on had suffered from a malfunction, and he had been so bored as of late that the stubby man had prayed for a challenge to keep his mind sharp and his wits about him.

    Today, of all days, his wish had been granted.

    “Not this one…” He muttered, turning the rod in his fingers to check for warping or anything else that could have been affecting the ship’s drive functions. Men raced around him, pulling levers, venting steam and tightening bolts whilst all the while Malachi ambled from pipe to pipe in slow motion. An inspection of each of the remaining rods followed until he reached the last one.

    “Son of a bitch!” Malachi breathed as he struggled to wrangle the final rod from its iron sheath. Though only two centimeters across, the rods were Alerarian made with varying alloys and each had differing stress thresholds. This one, probably the most important component in the drive-shaft, was made from a bronze-nickel alloy and had crumpled all the way to its base. It was so bent that Malachi couldn’t even remove it from the casing.

    The engineer went back to his office, calling for one of his watch.

    “Please call Shinsou here immediately. We have a problem.”

    Shinsou Vaan Osiris took his time. He knew what the message implied and, as the Telgradian slid down a greasy metal ladder towards the engine room, was already racing through possible contingency plans in his head. Opening the door and crossing the threshold, his world suddenly became a hysteria of machinery and people.

    The engine room was quite large. It had to be to accommodate the massive, barrel shaped iron engine and drive machinery that formed the heart of the ship. Despite currently being inactive, all of the metal railings and pipework were still warm to the touch. Men and women were in every corner of the room, each surrounded by their fellow engineers as pipes were cut and systems were checked and double checked. Of all of the compartments on the Golden Phoenix, this was actually the cleanest; the deck and bulkheads were spotless, white-painted iron. The reason was that the smallest crack in any pipe had to be instantly visible.

    “Start over,” Shinsou ordered, “from the beginning.”

    Malachi, now sweating from the warm air that gathered in the compartment, nodded.

    “The majority of the Phoenix’s pipework runs away from the bulkhead. However, I believe there is one pipe that lines the tip of the ship. This line is used to expel pressure out into the open via vents located on either side of the hull.” He pointed his hands in opposite directions to flag the positions. “It would seem we hit a particularly thick layer of ice on the way out that has buckled the iron hull in such a place as to seal the vents. With nowhere else to go, the pressure has built up and travelled towards the drive shaft.”

    Walking over to the affected pipe, the chief engineer commented sourly as Shinsou’s eyes followed his gesture to the buckled rod. “Now, these propulsion rods are all built independently of each other. Each has a specific role, and are therefore made from different alloys as each is configured to handle a different level of pressure. It would seem that the blowback from the vents has destroyed this one, but not the others.”

    “What’s the prognosis?” Osiris asked grimly.

    Malachi frowned. “Bronze-nickel alloy of this density is going to be very difficult to replace. We would need at least three qualified engineers to make the repairs as well as a rod configured for that section of the engine. Currently, we only have two engineers capable of the task and none of the materials. Etheria is our best bet of being able to acquire something suitable and even then, we’d still need a third pair of experienced hands. We can run a third speed until then, but it will be pushing our limits to go any faster. ”

    Shinsou sat down in a nearby chair at once, stretching his legs to work out the knots while he thought upon their dilemma. The officers in the Brotherhood had told him how lucky he was to have an engineer like Malachi aboard. He was the best in their fleet; a man to be listened to.

    “Make it so,” Osiris said, “get us to Etheria as soon as possible. We’ll address each problem as we go. Our first priority will be finding another engineer. They aren't exactly ten a gold piece.”

    Althanas Operations Administrator


  7. #7
    Member
    EXP: 11,790, Level: 4
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    Level completed: 56%,
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    jdd2035's Avatar

    Name
    Captain Cain Jodin
    Age
    27
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Blonde
    Eye Color
    Green
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    5'11
    Job
    Merchant Sailor/ Privateer

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    On deck, Cain was looking out over the bow. The ship had her engines slowed down, and then stopped for some time because of something going wrong with the mechanical monstrosity the engineers called an engine. His dear ship, and most other ships that were not from Alerar, had at least one mast and a yard, if for no other reason than the philosophy “better safe than sorry”. But this was an Alerarian steamship, which eschewed such frivolous things as a mast on a steam ship.

    What a fascinating modern world in which we live in, Cain thought sarcastically. While the engineers were fixing the engine, he had an idea, but it would take some doing.

    Looking up at the Phoenix’s boatswain and carpenter, Cain stated, “we’ll need to rig a bowsprit. I believe that this ship's former owners had stored enough spars and sail cloth from prizes they’d taken. We can sway it up and rig ourselves a kind of sprit sail. It should give us a little better in the way of steerage. We’ll stay it by the hawse pipes and railing.” The crew snapped into movement, dropping into the hold. Minutes later, a thirty foot long piece of oak was being shipped out; the bow being held into place by an intricate cat's cradle of ropes and halyards.

    As the bowsprit was being swayed into place, the rhythmic hammering of carpenters forming cross trees and a top to brace a yard and sail came from the deck.

    Eventually, the yard was swayed up and fastened to the makeshift bowsprit, and a sail was slung under and bent. While the engineers babied the engine, coaxing her to start pushing the metal behemoth of a boat forwards, the spritsail began pulling for all its worth. This was not the stakatto tug that Cain was used to, but more of a creaking groaning pull that reminded him of an old and tired body getting out of bed after a long day and night before.

    Nevertheless, the ship was under way again under the lapping sound of the sea, and the whistle of the wind passing through the makeshift rigging. Eventually, the placidity of the ship running via wind power was broken by the sound of the engine coming back online. It coughed and belched smoke, but eventually, the low rumble of the pistons pumping in time was there once again. With the spritsail and engine both doing their part, the Phoenix was doing a little better than one third her top speed. Cain returned to his pacing on the deck, but at least now he had more of a purpose than just an advisor.
    Last edited by jdd2035; 02-05-17 at 01:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Aaron Burr, Sir
    EXP: 23,107, Level: 6
    Level completed: 45%, EXP required for next level: 3,893
    Level completed: 45%,
    EXP required for next level: 3,893

    AP
    66
    GP
    2,980
    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'3 / 115
    Job
    Mechanic

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    It was a melody that Anch-Toch had always been fond of. The creak and subsequent groan of wood beneath his feet as the ship crested each wave. The powerful flap of canvas sails as they caught and held the cool wind that rolled from the sea. The laughter and good-natured shouts of his crew. Had the mood been right, the latter might have rivaled the others for his attention. But no, the mood was not right. There was no laughter, there were no shouts. All that Anch-Toch found when he watched his companions were hard, dark eyes, and lips drawn into thin, tight lines. Despite their seemingly hard exteriors, their skin colors revealed their emotions, as was the curse of the Numantian race. The bipedal, reptilian creatures were stained light reds, faded oranges, and a dusty, sickly black. Frustration, Anch-Toch recognized. Fear. Despair. There would be no sea shanties that morning. As if Mother Nature herself shared the sentiment, a low roll of thunder murmured from the swirling clouds overhead.

    The tribe leader turned his elongated face to the sky, relishing the feel of the rumble in his chest. There was another force in him, one that rivaled the power of the winter storm. It called for revenge against those who had wronged him, and wronged his people. It was a gnawing hunger, a flame that would not be extinguished by the whipping wind, or the frigid water that peppered his catamaran. It was fueled by confusion, panic, and despair, the same emotions that his crew wore like masks. But revenge was at the heart of it. That, and an anger unlike anything he had ever experienced in his lifetime.

    At his feet rest a small, ornately carved wooden chest. It was empty, save for a swatch of fine velvet, and an indentation left by his most prized possession. His second most prized possession, a Coronian war ship, loomed up behind him. It was small, as war ships go, though it still dwarfed the fleet of catamarans that escorted it. Built masterfully of sturdy materials, and toting an impressive collection of cannons, the ship was undoubtedly intimidating. Many believed it would withstand anything, though it had never seen true combat. A purchase acquired by his ancestors, the Ethalion had existed only to provide the necessary defenses to his people. How could they have known, Anch-Toch mused humorlessly, that it would become their only hope of survival?



    From the distant pier, it was impossible to sense the negative emotions. In fact, the scene appeared quite tranquil. At least, Rayleigh Aston thought so, as she watched the thin slips of billowing sails drift lazily on the horizon. Against the dull, gray canvas of the stormy sky, the wisps of white looked a bit like birds.

    She hoped that the boats would draw nearer, so that she might study them. Though Ray disliked riding the waves herself, it was merely due to the violent seasickness that always accompanied seafaring adventures; the boats themselves fascinated her. This particular situation was no exception. The larger of the vessels was typical of a Coronian port, but there was something unusual about the smaller crafts, and she was eager to learn more. Her eyes, a vibrant green, squinted against the gloom that hung heavy around her -

    “Rayleigh?”

    - and then widened with startled surprise. “Gods,” she wheezed, a palm pressing to her galloping heart. She rounded on the pudgy man, scowling as she added, “warn me next time.”

    “I did,” he answered, frowning back at her. “I said your name. Was that not sufficient? Would you rather I say something else? Or stand back further when I speak? Or whisper, so not to scare you?”

    The hand that had lay on her chest now waved to cut the man off. “Forget it,” Rayleigh told him. Then, more curious, “what did you need anyway?”

    “Vance sent me. Apparently there is some commotion outside of the city, and there is technology involved. His friend, a Ranger, told him so.”

    This piqued Rayleigh’s interest. Without waiting for an invitation, she jogged back toward her friend’s mechanic shop; she was staying with him for a week, so they could collaborate on a project. The stranger, who she finally recognized as Vance’s neighbor, scampered after her. “What kind of technology?” she called over her shoulder. “And why not take care of it himself?” Vance was just as much the mechanic as she was.

    Her companion shook his head, huffing as she increased her pace. She moved quickly for a woman with such short legs. “I don’t know, to both questions. He asked for you. Maybe he does not know what to do with this particular problem?”

    By then, there was no trace of the scowl that had previously taken up residence. A broad smile split her freckled face. Her eyes danced with it, and it bubbled beneath each word as she announced, “I accept his challenge!”
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




  9. #9
    The Outlaw Torn
    EXP: 57,454, Level: 10
    Level completed: 32%, EXP required for next level: 7,546
    Level completed: 32%,
    EXP required for next level: 7,546

    AP
    40
    GP
    150
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Gold
    Build
    6'0", 155lbs
    Job
    "Executor" (Leader) of the Brotherhood

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    Shinsou awoke in the dark. The curtains were drawn on the cabin’s two small portholes. He shook his head a few times to clear it and began to assess what was going on around him. The Golden Phoenix was moving on the high seas towards Corone, but not as quickly as before owing to their technical difficulties.

    The Telgradian got up to look out of a porthole and saw the red glow of sunrise aft under scudding clouds. Checking the position of the sun and doing some clumsy mental arithmetic, Shinsou concluded it was about six in the evening, Coronian time. That translated to about six hours of sleep. He felt pretty good, considering. A minor headache from some brandy - so much for the theory that the good stuff doesn’t give you a hangover – and his muscles were stiff. Shinsou did a few stretches to work out the knots.

    There was a small bathroom or head, he corrected himself as he remembered Jodin’s lesson in nautical terminology, adjoining the cabin. Shinsou splashed some water on his face and washed his mouth out, not wanting to look in the mirror. He decided he had to. Counterfeit or not, he was the ship’s captain and had to look presentable. It took a minute to get his hair in place and his attire arranged properly.

    A tender rapping at the wooden cabin door broke the Telgradian off from his morning routine.

    It was Malachi.

    “Feeling better, Shinsou?” The short, stocky engineer pointed to a tray of cups. It was only tea, but it was a start.

    “Thank you. Those few hours really helped. I guess I’m up in time for the maintenance report then, if my chief engineer is now on brew duty?” Shinsou knew Malachi well enough to know that when the man bore gifts there was often bad news to follow.

    “Nothing new to report on the mechanical side, other than thanks to Jodin’s contraption we are slightly ahead of our revised schedule – a couple of hours, perhaps.” Malachi said. “However, there is something I have to show you.”

    He got up, took Shinsou’s arm, and guided him port. A couple of turns later, and one outwardly swinging door, and the pair were stood on deck looking out onto the horizon. The engineer did not need to point in the direction of the problem. Or, more accurately, three problems.

    Shinsou ran a hand over his face. “How long have those vessels been following us?”

    “About two hours now. Even on a third of our power, with the added propulsion from the sails, they’ll catch us in one more.”

    “Where are they from? They don’t look like Imperial ships,” Shinsou asked calmly as he pulled a telescopic lens from beneath his coat. His world became a dark circle with a section of sea and ship in the center. “And they don’t look Salvic. Too low key to be Alerarian, too.”

    Just what the hell are you?

    “Our advisors tell me that their movements look very much like they are in some distress.” Malachi stroked his chin, waiting for the predictable response.

    “It could also be a hostile exercise, given we are disabled and vulnerable ourselves,” Shinsou retorted, pushing the telescope into Malachi’s arms. “How are we to tell the difference?”

    The Telgradian leaned back against the wall to let that thought hang in the air for a moment. When he went on, he spoke more gently. “It’s a remote possibility, but it would be irresponsible of me to not consider it. So here’s what I want you to do. Give Jodin control of the ship and ask him to coax us a little broadside of those vessels, so that if we have to board them, we’ll be ready. I want Razel to lead a handpicked team of men to starboard and wait. From there,” Shinsou paused for a moment, “we’ll further assess their manoeuvres. Any sign of hostility and we jump aboard to do what we can. Otherwise, if it truly is some sort of emergency, we’ll be ready to meet them. From now on, you are my right hand. Convey this to the crew, and find Razel.”

    Malachi, who had found himself suddenly promoted from chief engineer to acting first mate, pondered Shinsou’s remarks. It was, he admitted, crudely shrewd to prepare for all eventualities. It was also very unlike the Telgradian to risk his crew and ship to help out someone else if it meant damaging Brotherhood interests. The same men who would be leading such an eventual rescue mission were the type who could, in the same breath, immediately turn around and order the execution or imprisonment of a hundred people without blinking. A strange collective, made stranger by their swaying morality and blurred lines, but their leaders Shinsou Vaan Osiris and Storm Veritas had too many “sharp edges”. Malachi hoped he would learn to soften them.

    Negotiating with ships of unknown origins and intentions was one thing; but doing it under the duress of mechanical problems was another one entirely.

    Althanas Operations Administrator


  10. #10
    Member

    AP
    5
    GP
    200
    Razel's Avatar

    Name
    Razel
    Age
    21
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Dark Dirty Red
    Eye Color
    Aqua Blue

    For all the exciting drama that slowly developed around them, the only thing that crossed Razel’s mind was whether or not her cards held a higher value than that of those before her. The shady room, candle lit and veiled lightly in the smoke of gamblers was full of grins, frowns and a multitude of groans and cheers. The game of cards was born of boredom, rather than that of their small victory in taking ship. The mercenaries had more than earned their pay on this journey, and from the moment that they handed the reins over to the mechanics and sailors, their time here had been tainted with a dullness that left little to comfort the short attention span of the average mercenary.

    Razel slapped a castle card face up, a novice move by appearance, but Razel had played this game many times before. Razel glanced up knowingly, trying to hide her grin as her lip trembled in resistance - she found it difficult to hide her true motives when she held a greater plan.

    “Shit card?” Lian’s brow furrowed as he peered up from his own cards.

    “Must be…” Razel replied showing that smug grin she loved to smile.

    Her blue irises were eye-catching, like bits of the summer sky brought to earth. She wanted them to focus on her eyes, and to distract them from the game they were supposed to be playing. She could win this easily; she knew that for a fact.

    “Call!” Lian called her bluff. She could play her mind games, she could try to distract him, and she could try to lie as much as she wanted - he was no fool.

    The deep tension in her breast lessened and the tough nerves that she hid so well began to show. Lian had assumed her bluff, but the double bluff hid within her cards. She smiled knowingly once more as he pushed his gold coin towards the centre pile on the table. The bets could no longer be taken out and a winner would be announced.

    Clink!

    The mechanism clicked into place as the levered door slid open, letting the cold, salty sea air quickly mix and waft away the burnt scent of the cigars that twitched in many a man’s lips. Razel, a non-smoker herself, would have appreciated the fresh air normally. This time however, the interruption could not have been timed much worse.

    A crowd of angry eyes leered at the accused as he entered, and standing a little hesitant in the entrance was Malachi. Recently promoted into an unusual position of First Mate, the Chief Engineer wasn’t used to barking orders at the paid hands before him.

    “What the fuck do you want?” Another mercenary moaned from the rear, unaware of the man’s new position.

    Razel huffed a long sigh. “Guys... Relax. It’s only Malachi.”

    “You’re wanted on deck. Starboard side, we’ve encountered a potential hostile.” Malachi requested, his soft tone enough to catch Razel’s ear without it sounding like a command - he had no desire to start an argument.

    Razel looked him up and down, the somewhat dirty dressed engineer wasn’t usually used as a lackey, and he hadn’t really conversed with the group in general; he hadn’t needed to.

    “You’ll need to be armed and ready.” He continued, staring directly at Razel. Giving commands wasn’t unusual to him but giving them to this lot was.

    Razel stood up, her demeanour somewhat arrogant as she leaned her weight to her right foot and stared skeptically at Malachi. “Fair enough.” Then, she slammed her remaining cards down to full view of Lian and the others. “Read them and weep, guys. Let’s get on with it, Malachi looks serious.”

    Waiting for no further questions, he sheepishly backed up out the room and went looking for Jodin. Meanwhile, the group mocked Lian as he dropped his half spent cigar to his gawping loss.

    “Shit, woman… King, Queen and Castle...” Lian’s eyes saddened to the pile of gold that was now making its way into Razel’s pouch. “Who the fuck put you in charge of us?” His sarcastic question filled with light-hearted exasperation.

    “Good question,” she laughed. “I’m not sure if it’s because I’m smarter than you, or because I’ve got tits. I’ll let you decide.”

    “Tits.” The group universally acknowledged as they proceeded to quickly buckle their belts, sheath their swords and load their crossbows. It was time to take things seriously once again.

    They were hardly a marching army, but they didn’t need to be. They were strong, talented individuals who were effective in ways an army of organised men could not be. Thieves, murderers, fighters, sneaks and general thugs, this group did as they pleased and got paid for doing it.

    Razel shuddered as the brunt of the cold wind blew back her hanging red bangs. She led the group to the right side of the ship and took ahold of the railing to steady herself upon the rolling waves. The deck remained relatively empty, while off the starboard side their opportunity had presented itself.

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