Temerday 40th of Isallin Year of Sola 1342
It was chill and lightly breezy as the party laid in wait, hidden amongst the rocks on the cliff. They had been holed up on this gods-forsaken, tiny island for hours longer than anticipated. Lissa had come to them days previous with an interesting proposition for plunder. For some, the interest lay in the prospect of rich loot; for others, it was the promise of the new shiny machinery that had been seen being loaded aboard. For Senka, well, she had an issue to settle with the Captain.
Gear had been prepped, pick up had been arranged, and so they waited.
Finally, The Triton glided into view around the side of the island, lower than they had been hoping, but at least it was still beneath them. Hyper as always, Lissa jumped up tugging on Beryl’s hand.
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” Lissa squeaked in excitement. She tugged on each person as she floated past reiterating the demand until she drifted over the cliff edge toward the ship. Beryl following close behind.
Taking a moment to assess the situation below, Bhilu noted the patchy clouds below and opted to use them like steps down to the ship with Senka hopping on her board and following close after. Klem, in an unusual bout of cautiousness, held back viewing the scene from the edge of the island.
Lissa, being the first off the island, made it over to The Triton first landing unseen among the rigging. Beryl gliding to the ship in her mech suit landed heavily near mid ship. The impact of the landing alerting the crewmen of her presence; they turned as one to face her.
Bhilu leapt from cloud to cloud descending toward the ship, making a final jump onto the side of the ship. Clinging to the side as only she could, Bhilu started making her way around The Triton looking for a window to slip in through.
Surfing through the clouds Senka was making her way towards the ship atop her board when shot pellets burst through the clouds narrowly missing her. Quickly deciding to head straight towards the nearest part of the ship she descended straight into the next volley. Taking the brunt of it with her board she landed heavily on the crewman manning the gun.
Above the ship, Klem begins chanting as he opens one of his Hexed Canopic Jars, from which a Zombie emerges. Climbing into the Zombie’s arms Klem instructs it to jump down to the stern of the ship. Falling with a force that only the Earth-blessed can achieve.
The cloud-blessed nearest to Beryl raises a glowing hand preparing to attack. Shocked, by this turn of events Beryl takes aim and fires her energy cannon, but only grazes him as Klem lands on the upper deck with a loud thump. The injured crewman appears eerily unfazed by the wound and turns toward the noise in sync with the others.
As he stands and repairs his Zombie, Klem notes the strange behavior of the crew. While not of necromantic origins it is obvious to him that there is some other force in control of their brains.
“Do not harm the crew, they are being controlled,” he shouts down to the others, “Look for a magician or some controlling device!”
Quickly, while the crew is still distracted by Klem, Senka walks up and punches the cloud-blessed with the glowing hand in the back of his head. As he crumples to the deck, unconscious, the power in his hand dissipates with a wisp of smoke.
Lissa taking advantage of the distraction slips through a small door to below deck. She is immediately brought up short running into another crewman. Seeing the small jelly he prepares to throw his net only to have her dart quickly between his legs and down the stairs hiding behind the first crate big enough to conceal her. The cloud-blessed turns to follow.
Back on deck, Klem is surrounded by the pilot and several other mindless crewmembers. Commanding his Zombie to fight them Klem heads below deck
The remaining crewman on the mid deck raises a dagger and runs towards Beryl. Beryl quickly raises her suit’s pincers and severs the arm holding the dagger. Momentum continues carrying the man into Beryl blood spurting all over her suit.
Klem heads through the same door Lissa slipped through and on seeing the crewman drops into a slide about as well as a falling brick. Taking advantage of his prone form the crewman throws his weighted net over Klem pinning him to the floor.
Seeing Klem go down Lissa takes aim with her bow from behind the crates and shoots the crewman in the shoulder blade, then quickly moves to a new hiding place, distracting the man back to his previous search.
Slowly working his hands together, Klem slits his palm while muttering under his breath, casting a curse to cloud the man’s sight.
Senka, noting that all members of the crew that were an immediate danger have been dealt with heads below deck intent on finding the Captain and figuring out what was going on with the crew. However, upon seeing Klem entangled at the bottom of the stairs she changes direction, pulling out her knife to cut him loose.
Beryl, not liking the look of the crewmen left fighting Klem’s Zombie, fires her energy cannon at them killing all including the pilot. Then heads below deck to find the shiny machinery.
Around the stern of the ship, there is a small balcony and a glass door with a few more of the small windows. Peeking through the glass Bhilu sees two people, a tall rain-blessed woman with a very large hat and a smaller bronze skinned, earth-blessed man with a slightly smaller hat that appeared to be having an argument. Bhilu pulled back from the window to contemplate her options.
Climbing back up the stairs Senka heads toward the sounds of muffled voices. As she gets closer she hears a few broken phrases.
“…didn’t know there would be side effects…”
“…we need it to stay in the air…”
Pausing to listen at the door and try to discern what exactly the argument is about, the woman suddenly hears rapid footsteps and the door opens inward tumbling her to the floor and bringing Captain Linarin and her First Mate up short.
Rolling to her feet Senka glares at the Captain. “What is going on with your crew?”
“I think the better question here, is what are you doing on my ship Senka?”
As Senka continues to glare there is a sudden whooshing sound as a strong draft enters the room along with Bhilu. Captain Linarin and FM Harun both turn and are surprised to find yet another intruder.
Upon entering the door to the decks, Beryl espies both the confrontation in the Captain’s Quarters and the crew member stumbling around the deck below. Quickly deciding that Bhilu and Senka are more than capable of handling two people themselves, she descends the stairs to the hold.
Confronting the mostly blind crewman Beryl raises her suits pincer and cuts him in two. Assessing that everyone is now safe she briefly heads back on deck to make sure the ship is not in any immediate danger of crashing.
Freed of the threat from the crewman Lissa floats around the hold looking for any indication of where the shiny equipment might be.
Klem, meanwhile, calls his Zombie down to join him and makes quick work of splitting open the skull of the recently deceased and devouring the brain it contained with the help of his Zombie.
The crewman is helping to carry heavy machinery below deck. All the way down to the lower hold. He has no idea what it is for or how it works. Others are putting the machine together in the hold.
Lissa doing her best to ignore the awful sounds coming from Klem’s direction has found a dark staircase wafting warm air. Wanting to explore, but afraid of more hostile crew members she decides to go find anther person – other than Klem – to help her explore.
Beryl returns to the upper hold just in time to meet Lissa at the stairs.
“Come on! I found some stairs down! But it’s dark and I don’t want to explore alone….”
Having come out of his trance-like state and overhearing the comment Klem interjects with the information he gleaned from the crewman’s brain about the location of the machine they are searching for.
The further down the dark staircase the trio progressed the warmer it became until it was downright sweltering.
Now, normally airships are powered by floating crystals that have been found to have similar properties to the sky islands, and while this ship had them, the hold was mostly filled with a large mechanical machine. The machine that Klem had seen being assembled through the brain of the crewmember. Everything was covered in a layer of what appeared to be fine. red dust.
Fascinated by the machine Beryl immediately began examining it with her scanners; while Lissa circled from a distance hesitant to get too close to the machine even as shiny as it was.
Klem, left to his own devices and seeing that there was nothing else of interest in the hold headed back toward the upper hold.
As if by reflex Harun started reaching for the weapon at his side.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Bhilu threatened, pulling out her spear and leveling it at the man.
Taking advantage of their distraction Senka pulled her daggers pulsing her electricity through them until they were glowing. Prodding one towards the Captains back as she attempted to step back.
Bhilu continued, “Now let’s have your weapons off you.”
“Now, I’m sure we can all just put our weapons away and have a civilized conversation here,” The Captain stated smoothly, with a pointed glance toward Senka.
“Sure, you just hand over your weapons and I can put mine away.” Bhilu gestured to the mate with her spear. With a glance at the captain, he reluctantly took off his weapon belt and handed it over.
Taking the gun belt Bhilu gestured him toward the nearby closet. “In you go.”
Bhilu secures the Mate in the closet pushing a heavy desk in front of it to keep him trapped and begins exploring the room for valuables, while Senka patted down Captain Linarin for possibly hidden weapons before questioning her further about the ship.
Suddenly, the ship listed dramatically to port. The table slid away from the closet slamming into Bhilu, who just managed to maintain her balance and not get pinned against the wall. However, the impact sent drawers flying open and expelling their fragile contents onto the floor.
As the desk moved the door of the closet burst open and Harun slid out immediately scrambling towards the door, muttering.
“What in Sola’s name is that pilot doing‽”
Senka looks to the Mate briefly before deciding that the Captain poses the bigger threat currently and delivers a punch, hearing the satisfying crunch of bone and cartilage breaking.
As the ship lists the Zombie is unable to maintain its balance and slides toward the wall. Klem following discovers a door.
In the bowels of The Triton gear grind and the heat intensifies.
“What is the pilot doing?” Lissa questioned in alarm.
“Oh, Shit!…. He’s dead. I killed him,” Beryl exclaimed. “There isn’t anyone flying the ship.”
As the ship rights itself, the gears grind harder and some begin stopping. The ship starts to shudder sporadically with the strain.
Lissa immediately leaves the room to find someone to tell that there is no pilot, while Beryl taking note of the stress on the engine begins scanning to see if there is any hope of repairing it.
“Tie up the captain,” Senka shouts to Bhilu as she sprints out of the room after the escaped Mate, up onto the upper deck. Upon seeing the bodies all around and that Harun is now occupied attempting to steer the shuddering ship heads down to see if the others are okay.
Klem enters the door onto the galley. At one end there is a pile of pans and other kitchen accouterments with legs visible underneath. With assistance from his Zombie, Klem cleared the detritus enough to see that it was, in fact, his old childhood friend Randy, the ships cook, knocked unconscious. Wasting no time Klem cuts open Randy’s skull and consumed his brain….
Randy was making dinner for the crew. Standard galley fare. Nothing fancy. He also prepared a large bowl of old, rotting meats. He wasn’t sure why, but it was to be fed to something in the engine.
Also his much-coveted recipe for quiche.
Lissa made it to the door of the room at about this time, made a disgusted sound, utterly ignored by Klem, and turned to look for someone else. Before she got very far from the door Senka came jogging into view.
“Is everyone down here alright?” the woman inquired.
“We’re all fine, but there’s no one flying the ship! And Klem is doing his icky thing again.” Lissa nearly shouted.
“The First Mate has the ship under control now, he’s at the helm….. Klem is doing what?”
“His icky thing! with the brain….. over there.”
Lissa pointed back through the door without looking. Before leaving to escape topside.
Senka walked over to the galley, where Klem was now engrossed in the process of making quiche.
“Klem! …. Klem!” Senka shouts trying to grab his attention. “Klem, have you found out anything about the machine?”
“Huh… oh…. it’s down that-a-way. Beryl’s down there still. And… uhh… it eats meat.”
“Eats meat. Rotten meat.”
“Why does it eat meat?”
“Dunno….. or Randy didn’t know.” Klem gestures over to Randy’s body while stirring his quiche. “Do you need meat? I have a body here…”
But Senka doesn’t hear the end as she was already running but upstairs to question the only living – and conscious – member of the crew remaining.
I the hot pit of the lower hold, Beryl had come to the conclusion that the engine was now beyond repair with the little time and supplies on board. Opening a small hatch she has found it emits a low growling noise and the grinding of gears becomes worse yet along with the shudders of the ship which is now losing altitude at a noticeable rate.
The opening is small and she can’t get a decent look inside it but is just able to make out a moving figure….
Senka rushed to the upper deck and confronted First Mate Harun. “What is going on with the crew? Why does your engine get fed meat?”
“I don’t know….. It’s some new technology. I don’t know how it works……… We didn’t know there would be side effects. We didn’t know. I tried… I tried to destroy it, but they stopped me… Probably for the best as we’d likely fall out of the sky without it. But you should really talk to the Captain… if she’s still alive….”
“Are you capable of piloting this ship?”
“More or less. Not that there seems to be much left to pilot.”
Giving up on the engine, as well as being able to see into the engine’s inner room, as a lost cause Beryl supercharges her energy cannon and begins to try and cut open the hole wider. As the only thing of value left to her is whatever the mystery creature inside the engine is.
Having recovered from her closer acquaintance with the desk, Bhilu was just finishing tying up the still unconscious Captain Linarin with some rope she had found in the cupboard when Senka came skidding back into the room.
Crouching in front of the Captain’s still form, Senka tapped her cheeks allowing a smidge of electricity into the touch in an attempt to bring her around.
Egg slops out of the mixing bowl in Klem’s arms as the ship shudders and lists. Disgustedly giving up on his quiche making in these conditions, he uncorks on of his empty jars which he magics Randy into and heads out of the Galley to inform Beryl of this engine’s particular oddity.
Not much can be heard over the sound of the engine ripping itself apart as he descends the narrow stairs. At the bottom, he finds Beryl with her cannon blasting having cut about halfway into the inner room.
“Beryl! Beryl, Stop!” Klem has to shout to be heard over the noise of the gears and the violent growling.
“Stop! The engine eats meat.”
Beryl slowed and stopped her energy cannon and Klem edge carefully toward the opening, pulled out the bottle containing Randy and emptied it through the hole. The growling suddenly ceased and the shuddering of the ship became calmer.
Then came the sound of flesh ripping and noisy eating.
Beryl turned to Klem, “The engine is beyond our ability to repair in the air. The only thing worth anything on this ship is the Creature! You have to help me get it!”
Klem stepped further back from the engine so Beryl could resume cutting the hole wide enough to retrieve the creature, whatever it might be.
Captain Linarin was starting to wake up, Senka tapped her a few more times for good measure.
“Wha…. uhh….” The Captain groaned in pain.
“What is going on with your crew members? Why does the engine get fed meat?”
“There’s…. creature…makes it go…. faster…”
“How does it make the ship go faster?”
“…dunno…. don’t know the science. We were just….. transporting….”
“To where? Who’s it for?”
“Now… I can’t tell you that….” With another groan, Captain Linarin slips back into unconsciousness.
Giving the woman up as a lost cause Senka heads back towards the deck to see just how dire their situation has become.
With a resounding BOOM, the last bit of the engine wall gave way, and a flaming canine-type creature pushed down the wall and emerged in all its glory.
Beryl’s cannon was unfortunately depleted, though the creature gave her no time to fire before breaking a hole in the side of the ship and jumping out.
The ship, which had been steadily losing altitude previously now went into free fall.
Barely looking at each other Klem and Beryl booked it towards the stairs up.
On their frantic scramble toward the upper deck, Klem noticed Bhilu with the unconscious Captain. Still curious about the oddly controlled crew he decided he needed her brain for enlightenment.
More interested in getting off the falling ship, but feeling the need to repay Klem for attempting to help her capture the creature Beryl slices off Captain Linarin’s head so Klem can bring it with them for future consumption.
Wasting now time now that they are once again all above deck Klem ripped the arm off his Zombie and throws it overboard, as the prearranged signal dictated.
Quickly thereafter Captain Elma of The Topaz Star came alongside. As the party started to board one by one.
Harun seeing a chance for rescue attempted to join them. Klem still on deck and deciding he could use another brain pulled his knife and started toward the mate. Seeing this, Harun ran off preferring to take his chances with the ship. Another brain not being worth the chase Klem boarded the rescue ship and they departed.
Leaving the wreck of The Triton falling through the air.