TKoT 1-3: Dunkir

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12: Night Chats

Upgrades!


The new replacement planks had been ordered and should be at the hanger within a few days. Rolland had been busy working with Reese’s two dwarves as they worked to remove the ship’s damaged pieces. They either drive had successfully survived the fight, but several of the exhaust ports had been damaged. A pile of broken wood, iron, and broke and bent piping soon formed a heap of trash in one corner of the pad.

The sun moved slowly across the sky, nearing dusk, the crew of the Chimera had returned to the ship. Opal held her head, still hungover. The trip back to the ship was much longer than she expected, though keeping the noise lower and dimming the light around her helped. Most of those who walked near her were caught off guard as the sound and light level lowered.

Rolland assembled wooden tables and benches on the main deck for the crew. Rolland found that he could use any tool and quickly fashion parts with more precision than he could before. A single pass, what could take from hours to days for a single handcrafted piece, he was now able to do in minutes. He could repeat the process flawlessly, from building small wooden gears or forging metal into different shapes.

Kate approached Rolland, and he had already seated himself on one of the benches, “Got a moment, I want to show you something.” Her nose turned up at the smell of Dawn’s Break. The scent of that ale made her sick. “How do you drink that? It’s horrible, and the taste is repulsive. . .”

He just drank another swig, leaving a thick mustache of foam on his upper lip. “You got to live a little goddess.”

“I think I lived a little too much last night.” She unrolled a scroll. She placed the parchment down in front of him. He looked down at the parchment, quickly setting his mug down. “Ohh, what is this, a construct, gears. Weapon and arm attachments.” Reading the title, he grinned with excitement, “Jerith’s Mechanical Warrior. Wait, there’s a flaw right here in the armor. You could quickly disable the entire golem here. I can see several points where this can be improved.”

Kate again frowned; it took her months to understand the plans and work out how the golem’s essential functions. He had found the same flaw. She recalled what Mil-ike had said, and they were all being tested. The Council of Eight was reading to balance the scales. She had been pondering the question in her mind all day, and she was keeping this from Maverick. Uncle Jeri’s words came back to haunt her, the training she received. Secrets are secrets for a reason.

Landis moved over to Opal, and he took his sketchbook out. He sat next to her, and her eyes showed that the hangover was still heavy holding onto her, “What do you think of this?” He pointed out several different sigils. “The sigil pattern with the runes, creating a temporal slowing effect around the bridge.”

Opal scratched her head; her eyes flashed yellow for a moment, pulsing her power. She could use this new power to help her understand the way magic can flow. She now could see the possibility of how magic interacted with the physical world. The web of details, where the magic would alter reality and where it should not. “This almost can work.” Casting a quick cantrip, a minor spell that even the most inexperienced caster could use, allowed her to use a stick or something similar to write with. She pulled her fire wand out, scratched out some of his runes in the sigil construct, and rewrote a few of his scripts. “This should work now. Bridging this rune and this one will get the results you are looking for. You want to use this one on the ship’s bridge?”

Landis nodded, “Yes, this way, I can speed up Maverick’s perception in a fight. Time slows on the bridge allowing Maverick more time to react to what is happening around him. Also, Rolland has a way of creating a compression tank for the rear exhaust ports, combining his new reinforcement technic and my temporal spells. We have an idea of creating a speed burst as well, and he wants to call it Rolland’s Compression Speed Booster. I think the term Afterburner is a better name, easier to say.”

Yawning, Opal pulled, flipped the parchment over, and began scribbling her ideas for the ship’s upgrades. Landis watches as she quickly scratched out the design. “My shield spell, we could have done something similar. I preposed these upgrades to Shaitar a while ago, but he said with the cost, we could have bought a new ship instead.”

Landis studied the device and mage scripts, “Yes, a full barrier shield around the entire vessel, interesting idea. Hmm, constantly drawing from the source will burn out the sigil; if you add a slower refresh rate, you can keep the shield up longer. Here, let me see. How about this.” He took Opal’s wand and added more scripts. “Also, we would need something to prevent us from suffocating. This is a sealed bubble, nothing in and nothing out.” Handing Opal back her wand while looking over his work.

Reeva pushed herself between the two. “I think I could help you with that.”

Opal felt something like a tug, and she had been having this feeling ever since Kate had awoken her power. When another Blooded used their power, she felt a tug on her perception. Reeva had pulsed her grace, and her eyes flashed yellow with response.

Reeva pointed at Opal’s wand. “May I?”

Opal nodded, and Reeva to the wand and began scribbling more runes and sigils to Opals scripts.

Landis turned to Reeva, “You are not a caster? How do you know how to do mage script?”

Reeva shook her head, “I don’t, I just thought about what I want, and this comes to my head. The magic that deals with healing and life preservation I can understand.” Finishing up the runes and handing back the wand to Opal. “They’re all done.”

As assembled, a chill went over the group felt the presence of had become accustomed to Arima; her new undead body sent chills up and down the spines of the living when she came close. “You should also adjust the living conditions inside the bubble. Gas’s can build up that are toxic to the living.” The group parted to let her pale body between them. Pulling a bone quill, she added more scripts to Opals shield scripts. “These are some of the common toxic gas’s I know of that can cause harm to the living.”

Rolland could not resist. He had started overhearing about the idea of the new armor Opal is designing. “You also want to consider pressure on the inside and outside of the shield. That is also important.”

Opal looked at the new sigils and runes, and she made some corrections. “Gotcha, yes, this would work as well. A few corrections and improvements to the structure, all three of you added a bit.”

A thought of concern formed across his face as he realized a new possibility of the shield bubble. “You know we could take the Chimera underwater with that bubble, but how would the either drive work? If the ship is completely encased in a shield? The drive would not be able to provide thrust to move us. We also drop like a rock without the thrusters.”

Opal made a quick note and scribbled more runes into the mage scripts. “This should allow for the exhaust ports to work. Maybe our chink in the armor, but should hold.”

Rolland nodded in agreement.

Opal reviewed the requirements to build this device, this new armor for the ship. “This would of taken us years to build. We can have this ready in a few days, with a fraction of the materials needed. I can see how gods cheat so much.”

Maverick’s Query


Maverick finally made his way back up to the main deck approaching Kate, “Hello there, Horns.”

Kate narrowed her eyes; his term of affection was also a jab. “Desire.” She leaned into him, placing her head into his chest.

Maverick said painfully, “Horns.”

Kate answered, “Yes?”

Maverick said quickly, “No, your horns are digging into my chest.”

Kate, pulling back smiling, “Yes.”

Maverick replied, rubbing where her horns dug into his chest, “Do you want me to poke you with something pointy.” He realized what he had just said, and he blushed a bit.

Kate continued smiling, “Yes.”

He quickly pulled her to his lips and kissed her. She paused for a moment, savoring his taste, then pulled back when she realized he had just drunk a draft of Dawn’s Break; the flavor of the foul ale was on his lips. “Gross!” She quickly spat out the flavor and wipped her mouth on her arm in an attempt to remove the awful taste. “You are evil. I think I will”, she paused and then went quiet.

Maverick paused; he had noticed that she had been quieter ever since she came back to the ship, not as talkative. He grabbed her shoulders and looked into her red eyes. He was projecting to her, “What’s wrong? Something is a matter. You are more guarded than usual.

She looked back, returning his gaze projecting her thoughts to him, “Yes, I met with the Mil-ike this afternoon. I know why the gods avoid the city and Gul the Watcher. I have to watch what I say; if I make a promise or tell somebody, I will do something I have to do it. I was almost going to punish you in jesting because of that foul ale you like so much. I would have to go through the task and punishment you or be punished myself. Mil-ike told me the gods don’t like to be forced into keeping promises they make.

He asked, “Did you find out anything about what we are supposed to do?

Yes, I am to escort the crew of the Chimera to The Temple of Ascendance.

I thought we are escorting you there.

You are; we are escorting each other.

Maverick felt something she was holding back, “You have something else you want to tell me.

After a moment, she continued. “Mil-ike asked me to serve the Council of Eight directly, not to be part of the Throne of the Spire.

He slid back against the railing of the ship, pulling her with him. He continued to gaze into her eyes. “That would make you an enemy of the Spire. I got a feeling you already are. What did you tell him?

She turned her back to him, sliding back against him as he wrapped his arms around her. “I told him I would think on it. He told me I could give him a decision at the Temple of Ascension in Durith. Had I said yes then and there, I would have been bound by Gul the Watcher and the contract I made. That’s before I found out the restrictions. The stories I have read about the Council of Eight can be very manipulative. I do not know how or if I should warn Shaitar about the council’s manipulation.

Maverick projected to her, “We should warn him; he makes his best judgments when he is well informed. The more information about a situation, the more choices he has.

Placing her hand on Maverick’s shoulder, she nods, “You are right.” She left him and climbed the steps to the upper deck where Shaitar leaned on the balcony with his arms folded. He watched his crew.

Mathew had returned to spend time with his old friends and catch up. “Well, I need to get home; I have an early shift. His attention focused on the black-haired infernal climbing the stairs. “She’s cute. I have seen her hanging all over Maverick.”

Shaitar shook his head, “Don’t even think about it.”

Mathew looked into her red eyes as she approached, “Hello, I am Mathew.” He reached out and took her hand. Kissing the top, he then smiled, being romantic. Her thin smile went to a frown, and she flipped her hand around, gripping his wrist tightly. He tried to pull back, “Hey, your grip is hurting me.”

Shaitar face went to one of concern. “Kate, what is going on.”

Mathew continued to struggle with her vice-like grip, and she was much stronger than he is.

Kate placed her other hand out toward Shaitar, “I need to show you something.”

Shaitar looked down at her hand, placed his hand in hers. He felt a sudden rush as the sabuci shared Mathews memories, his meeting with Lord Shithen just before he came here tonight. Mathew told everything he had knew about Shaitar and the crew of the Chimera. He had been paid forty pieces of silver for the information and another forty for tonight’s report as well.

Kate released them both.

Mathew looked back at the infernal, “Sabuci? You went into my head!”

Shaitar pulled back his arm, formed his hand into a fist, and punched Mathew’s jaw hard. Mathew flipped over the upper deck railing and landed on the main deck. “Mathew, get off my ship.” Shaitar moved down the steps and helped Mathew up by the back of his shirt. All heads turned to the fallen man and went quiet. Rolland and Maverick readied themselves if their captain called for action.

“Shaitar, she’s lying; she made that up. I would never betray you! I would never betray the Chimera! Landis, tell him that she is lying. She’s a succubus!” Mathew whined as Shaitar led him down the walkway to the port hull. “Rolland, you got, believe me, that succubus is a threat to you all!” He turned around loosely, “It’s not what you think! Bitch tell him you just made that up!”

Shaitar spoke to his former friend, “No, you are a fool. You broke our trust, the trust of brothers and sisters. I do my duty now. If it were anyone else, I would have killed you on the deck.” He shoved him off the side of the ship, and he landed hard on the floor of the hanger.

Mathew looked up to see the calm eyes of Shaitar and the sabuci leaning over the deck, looking down at him. He turned and hobbled away to the main hanger doors.

Shaitar spoke one more time, “Go away, and I never want to see you again.” Dusting his hands off, he straightenedd his blue cobalt jacket by the collar and returned to his quarters. All who stood outside the cabin heard a loud crash as something hard hit a wall inside.

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