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To assist with neccessary communications during fieldwork I created the following device in order to allow such missives to be sent through the aether to be received instantaneously by others.


Another photoCollapse )

(In response to many questions, yes it does work :) )
Steam powered sonic wave modulating screwdriver

Steam powered sonic wave modulating screwdriver (steam screwdriver)

Not the worlds greatest picture I'm afraid. Hope to get better ones soon. Though the crystal transmitter end, pistons, and advanced steam fluid bottle are all visible. More pictures of this and other creations at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sadeian/
Pulling hard on the rope before me released the guillotine, which came down through the air shrieking like a banshee, to be met with only a dull thud as it struck the alien armour. I sighed and wrote in my test log, "...sharpened cavalry sword dropped from height of 48 inches - effect on armour unnoticeable". "Damn!" I muttered in an ill-tempered manner. Since returning from the seabed, I had eaten lunch rapidly before retiring to my laboratory aboard our craft. I had then spent the last hour exerting various attacks upon a piece of one of the alien uniforms. So far a range of weaponry dropped at various speeds had done naught to effect damage upon the strange grey substance before me. Study under a microscope had revealed a crystalline structure, but this was of no more use to me than letting an infant see the inside of a computational engine and then asking him to replicate it. Walking to the bridge I stood watching Will glide us through the clouds, the steady growl of the engines driving us ever onward. Taking to my seat I drew out a pad and pencil and began to sketch random bits of ideas and innovations. This was often my way of getting the correct mindset for invention.

It had occured to me that so far the only way I had found of breaking through materials consistently was by immense heat, as Will had found when using my gas torch on the pipes. Anything, it seemed, could be melted given sufficient temperatures. I sketched out various heat sources that sprung to mind, none of which seemed of any use for now as a weapon. I had decided that it would be necessary for us to develop some form of hand to hand combat weaponry for use against the invaders. Though my Nex Eversor had proved a formidable weapon for now, I knew that in combat more often than not ranges would be closed, and the bayonet or sword would come into use once more as in the battles of old. "Inventors block Cap?" inquired Will light heartedly. I merely smiled grimly and nodded before heading back to my laboratory. I decided to look at my research up until this juncture, from a logical stand point. So far, I knew that I needed large amounts of heat to be focused into a weapon somewhat like a gas torch. I knew that taking the entire torch into combat was not the solution. Flicking through my fathers notebook I came across a section on what he called "extranaturally agitated aether states". I remembered the tests we had done on this phenomenon and at once I felt the resistant cogs in my mind turning - this was the key I felt sure. I heard Will rush into the room as I threw around materials and tools in my rush to cobble together a working aether exciter for testing. "New idea Cap? Time for an Earl Grey I'll venture!" he departed from the room as I pulled down my goggles and fired up the gas torch.

After quite some time had passed I called Will into the lab for a demonstration of my new device. It was a marvellous piece of engineering though I say it myself. A pair of small pressurised canisters when activated released two gases. The first gas issued from a ring shaped outlet, followed by the second gas, which issued from a hole in the middle of the ring, making the first gas shield it from outside influences. In the center of the outlet for the second gas protruded a small metal spike. "Well Cap, it certainly looks interesting but it doesn't quite seem to have the beef of your torch". Will flipped down his goggles and passed the torch slowly through a corner of the steel plate making it drop off. "Appearances can however be deceiving Will my boy. Observe..." I adjusted my goggles and pulled the trigger on the device in my hand. Slowly I brought it into contact with steel plate's center, grinning with joy as the EAAS device almost instantly melted most of the center of the plate away to a smoking molten slag. "That Will, is power, and now I just need to find a way to harness it fully".

I spent the long hours of the night drilling, filing and welding - the metal sword I began with now becoming unrecognisable. A cheap infantry sabre, I had brought it with me purely for sword practise and yet now under my hand and with the application of science it had turned into something far more than the sum of its parts. I hung a piece of one of the alien unforms on a piece of wood that I had propped against a metal pole. I first struck at the armour with another sword and noted that as expected there was no damage whatsoever. I put down the basic and now old fashioned looking sword. Reaching for the new weapon I clasped it in my hand, swung the sword at the target and pulled the trigger just before impact. A strange noise issued from the weapon like a dragon gasping for breath, a hot crackling noise that sounded as if it came from down a deep well, before the weapons agitated aether spat forth its firey stream. The target, part sliced and part melted, fell clattering to the floor. I whistled between my teeth, put down the sword carefully in its stand and walked into the cockpit. The cockpit was empty, the craft drifting silently through the dark hours before the dawn. Watching the passage of the water below us, the moon far above and feeling for the first time a wish for home. I suddenly felt tired and knowing that in a short few hours we would be arriving in India I decided to retire to my sleeping quarters.
27 August 2008 @ 10:41 am
The wheel steadfastly refused to budge. I moved my lantern around so as to better illuminate the source of my frustration. Its light was beginning to flicker; I needed to finish this quickly. Wiping my hands clean, I wedged an iron bar into the handle of the stopcock and lifted my hammer. In the cramped confines amongst the gears of the starboard wing compartment, this felt like an achievement in itself. I brought the hammer down with all my strength on the bar, cursing the wheel's existence. Finally, the seal broke with an ill-tempered hiss and the wheel rotated slightly, releasing the remaining pressure. Now I could repair the pipe and get us back underway. I had spent what seemed like hours effecting repairs to the outer skin, which had been fractured by an alien blast. It had in reality been minutes rather than hours, for we had designed the external scales in such a way that fresh plates could be slid in, clipped and sealed. Our craft could still not retain enough pressure to fully propel us and I had tracked this down to the split pipe before me. I pulled the darkened goggles down over my eyes and nervously turned one of two dials on the metallic vessel in my hands, which no emitted a whisper of released gas. Turning the dial next to it sent out a spark that ignited the gas with a brilliant blue flame. I wasn’t entirely sure the captain's directions would work but I held the flame at the specified distance and melted the length of modified brass, which I held in my other hand into the split. This done, I reversed the dials and put out the flame, watching in amazement as the mixture cooled, hardened and formed a seamless repair. Whistling with pleasure, I wiggled back along the wing and emerged into the fuselage of our craft, blinking as my eyes adjusted to the brighter surroundings.

I glanced to the left and saw an illuminated display on the bridge. The captain had finished his underwater excursion it seemed. He had insisted upon searching for debris from the alien vessel for scrutiny and I was unable to persuade him otherwise. I was very keen to witness foreign shores and to follow the path revealed to me by that small pile of documents that had been pushed under my door. The captain, bemused but pleased by my enthusiasm had patiently explained the importance of gathering as much information as possible of our would-be invaders, and I had to eventually concede that he was right - the cause of humanity would have to take precedence over my own concerns. I walked to the port wall and lifted the lever, feeling the mechanism strain and begin winding up the heavy cord to which the captain was attached and its accompanying airline. I manually pushed open the floor hatch to view its progress. The waves were thankfully calm and eventually the shining brass helmet of the captain’s diving suit broke through the murky waters below. He gestured happily towards me and I observed that the pack he had taken to store his findings was positively bulging with artifacts.

I grasped his hand and helped him back into the craft, water still running from his artificial skin to pool briefly on the brass floor before running off and falling from the open hatchway. The maiden use of his self designed and crafted diving suit had been a success, with only a small dribble of water having seeped inside the helmet. I grasped it with both hands and twisted, removing it from the captain’s head. "Have a nice swim old chap?" I enquired with a grin. "Now that my boy, was a journey worth making - you must try it next time!" he exclaimed. He hurriedly imparted the tale of his dive. He had been delighted as much by the natural wonders he had witnessed as by the salvage he had recovered from the seabed. I noted once more just how boyish and genial he could be made by the fruition of one of his many ideas. We moved the recovered items onto the workbench in his cabin study and returned to the bridge were I informed him of the rather more mundane but no less satisfying events of my repairs. Back at the controls, we slowly built up the pressure from the engine, gently testing my repairs. When we were satisfied, the captain collapsed the great balloon above us, which slid back into its storage area, and we sped off, darting once towards the destination, which the Captain now revealed - Calcutta.
12 August 2008 @ 04:41 pm
We arose early the next morning, hovering in roughly the same place we had been the night before following the battle over the seas. I was glad to see we had avoided any undue attention and so my day could continue on its course unheeded. I called William to the charts table for a confab over coffee. After a little while I had explained to William the thoughts that had occupied my over excited mind the as I lay abed the previous night. "The only way to beat an enemy Will" I said pacing the length of one side of the table "is to understand them". Will nodded quietly and I pointed to a location on the chart between us. "This is where their craft crashed. Today I wish to mount an expedition in order to recover from their craft any material, technology, information that I can". Will looked at me with a grin "and who will aid you in this Cap? A passing friendly school of dolphins perhaps?". I grinned back and approached one of the wall lockers "no, this!". I tugged open the door to reveal a rudimentary subaquatic exploration suit made of rubber and canvas, complete with a spherical brass helmet with thick glass forming a trio of portholes to allow vision from the front and sides. "Good lord Cap, a navy diving suit," exclaimed Will

After further conversation, it was agreed that I would first teach Will the use of some tools I had designed to allow him to repair the ship. I would then embark on my planned dive. So, after a brief training session showing Will the tools necessary for him to effect repairs, I donned my suit, checking my linkages to both my airline and lowering line and stepped onto the drop hatch that would be my exit. I looked to Will and gave the all fine sign, to which he opened the hatch and I felt the tension wire suspend me above the hundred foot drop into the water below. My heart leapt as I experienced the feeling of weightlessness and I was suddenly glad that my bulky suit made it impossible to look down. I felt a jerk and the lowering began.

Finally, after what seemed an age, I crashed through the surface of the water and began to sink. The suit stayed watertight as I went lower and I gave Will the two tugs on the line, which we had agreed as a signal that all was well. My mind had originally been totally focused on the task at hand but as I sank into that twilight world and lit the two chemical lanterns I had mounted on the helmet, I gasped in fascination at this strange world, which had previously been foreign to me. Now it majestically opened up its treasures to my avid gaze. I looked in wonder upon all manner of fish, some of which seemed to have been forgotten by time, strange throwbacks to an age before humans. Finally reaching the seabed I looked upon bizarre rock formations, corals and creatures scuttling along the crags before me. I realised that this was another world, of which we knew so little. My light caught something in its beam and there, looming out of the darkness before me, was the wreck of the enemy ship.

I approached the craft and managed to gain entry through what I assumed to be the hole our projectile had ripped in the ship. I knew I had to work quickly for our journey had to continue. I took samples of the inner and outer walls before approaching the cockpit. I met a grizzly sight; as for the first time I saw two of our invaders close up, dead at the controls. I tried to remove their helmets so I could behold some part of the anatomy of those we faced, but there seemed to be no movement in them. Conceding defeat I tried instead to cut some of the materials from their suits but this too I found impossible. I was ready to leave when I noticed one of the lockers in the cockpit was open showing uniform armour as worn by the other two. I quickly loaded it into a bag and was surprised to find how light such a durable armoured suit could be. I took a final look around and picked up a few pieces of equipment that were loose around the cabin, loading them into a bag. Turning to leave I paused once more at the door and looked upon the scene before me. There was something horrifying yet serene about the view, these creatures so far from home and entombed down here where perhaps no one would ever look upon them again. Then I remembered the men that we too had left behind dead on the cold surface of the moon and my resolve strengthened once more, this was proof that they could be stopped and I now had the materials to find out how best to do just that.
07 August 2008 @ 10:47 am
I admit that I must bow to William's memory of the events after my firefight, for I have very little recollection of it. However, I remember the smoothness of our trip to the flying craft, along with the ease of loading up all our goods with the help of Fred and his associates. Once Will and I were alone in the craft we ran through the same checks and take off procedure as before and I was delighted to find that Will was a little easier on the controls this time, as we took off loudly into the pre-dawn sky. I sat back in one of the leather crew chairs behind William as he lazily piloted the flying machine through the open skies. In front of me on the table I had laid out one of our maps and was busily plotting the course whilst eating the delightful breakfast Annie had prepared for us, pausing occasionally to sip one of Wills excellent cups of Earl Grey tea. The hum of the engines was now a familiar and soothing noise. Will and I were trading a few of our usual in jokes when I heard a strange whooping noise from the control panel "What on earth is that noise Will?". He looked to me with a tinge of fear in his eyes. "Its the proximity sensor, it would appear we have something approaching us at a fair old speed - may I suggest we ready the cannons Cap?".The look in his eyes told me all I needed to know about the seriousness of the situation; in a second I was on my feet and running towards the nearest cannonport.

My heart was starting to pound as I cast loose the gun from its holding ropes and pulled the great brass lever that pushed the cannon forward through the skin of the craft and engaged its aiming gears. I climbed into the leather seat next to the gun and strapped myself into the harness in preperation for the fight. My gaze drifted to the front window and I observed a familiar and terrible sight looming in the distance - we had chanced upon an alien vessel. I watched in fascination, unable to tear myself away from the alien craft as it dived towards us. I had never seen one this close before and what appeared from ground level as quite a sleek vehicle, now showed its true colours; the red slits that made its windows, the gilded nozzles that stuck like fangs from its front, which I had seen fired as some kind of energy weapon in my last encounter with these monsters, and its wings with their reinforcing bars running their width giving the enemy vehicle the look of a giant bat. The fight began in earnest as Will spun the steering column making us curve away from the first blast from the enemy ship, though we had avoided the shot we felt the heat even as we dived away to pick up speed. My eyes fixed on the targeting reticle in front of me as we dived, feeling our ship bank and awaiting the moment when the other ship crossed my line of fire. Then there it was, my first shot, I took my time and eased back the handle feeling the recoil as the cannon beside me fired with a tremendous boom. The shell flew through the air and missed the other craft by a good yard, I couldn't believe my eyes, they had simply sped up to outrun my shot. Their rate of acceleration shook me and made me realise just how fast human technology would have to advance in order to catch our foes. I was drawn from my moments reverie however by a shockwave passing through the ship. "We're hit Cap. We need to get out of this fight and soon - I won't be able to keep her up if we're hit again" My mind raced with a jumble of thoughts, we needed a way out and fast. I swung the gun as far as I could and caught sight of the enemy coming in for a second attack to finish us off. The sweat beaded on my forehead and holding the reticle at its extreme range I lit my pipe and clenched it between my teeth. They finally began to edge into the firing range, my hands shaking as I gave them a fair bit of leading and unleashed the shell. Almost instantly I felt the rising excitment as instinctively I knew the shot was on target. The enemy ship lurched as the shot struck and then after what seemed to be a moments hesitation it began to fall; no explosion, no great fuss, it simply plumetted from the air and crashed into the water hundreds of feet below.

Unstrapping myself from the aiming rig I hurried back to Will and looked over my instruments, scanning them for some idea of the damage that had been done by the shot. All seemed ok until I gasped and swore as my eyes fell on the steam pressure gauge which was rapidly falling."We're losing height Captain, we need to make repairs but I cant see anywhere to land that wont get our feet wet...". "Well Will, its not always necessary to land. I did make one alteration to your design just in case we needed to use this old crate as a base". Leaning forward I pulled open a panel on the desk and pulled a knife switch around. A strange grinding noise issued from above us and Will looked at me questioningly before running to one of the observation windows. Taking a key from my chatelaine I placed it into an otherwise unremarkable hole nestled amongst my instruments and turned it, immediately a loud hissing noise could be heard echoing through the cabin. I walked over to join Will and we both watched as above us a great balloon drifted out from the top of the craft. Unfolding as it filled with gas, hovering in the winds above billowing like a giant jellyfish in the sky. The balloon finally inflated, stabilising the ships dropping altitude, turning our craft into an airship. We were safe for now floating gently above the Ocean, with time to make our repairs before continuing our journey. I turned to Will and smiled, "tragedy averted old chap. Time for a spot of Brandy I think?" Will grinned and nodded. We filled our glasses, sat in our leather chairs at the bridge and struck a toast as we glided quietly through the air watching the sun dip below the horizon and spread its hazy orange glow over the ocean below us.
05 August 2008 @ 02:26 am
I staggered through the door of the inn and was immediately ushered into the kitchens by a disapproving looking Annie. The tap room was mercifully devoid of prying eyes and showed signs of having been unceremoniously cleared, with unfinished meals still adorning some tables. "First decent turnout we've had in weeks too you buggers..." Annie mumbled under her breath. I entered the kitchen to find the Captain reclined on a seat next to an immense, well used but immaculately clean kitchen table, with his leg up on an adjacent seat looking ruefully at his exposed right knee whilst a grinning Fred examined and bandaged it. "Its not funny Fred, look at the state of this one, I hope it’s not your doing!!" Annie exclaimed. Their expressions changed as they observed me sitting heavily in the chair Annie offered. I confess I must have looked rather worse than I felt - my burned shoulder, dusty clothing and bruised face gave me something of a disheveled appearance. "Good lord my boy, what happened?" The Captain and Fred enquired in unison, in the manner of companions who have spent a great deal of time together. I tried to speak but couldn’t seem to complete the process, my mouth working uncertainly and fruitlessly. The enormity of my actions suddenly dawned on me - I had killed a man and still had to come to terms with this. The Captain nodded in realisation and understanding. "Rather him than you my boy, and if you hadn’t, it would have been you." Fred poured a brandy and handed it to me whilst Annie busily cleaned and dressed my wounds, fussing over me in motherly fashion. The brandy was of good vintage and brought me back to my senses.

I imparted my tale of events since we last spoke, excluding the documents left at my door, to the Captain who listened attentively, nodding gravely at the deadly events in the abandoned building's attic. "I fear we must depart sooner than we intended Fred, we must prepare and load our cargo before the end of the day. A terrific banging then emanated from the front door with harsh voices demanding entry. "Or perhaps sooner." hissed Fred followed by a curse that made even Annie blush, and headed for the door, glancing at her and inclining his head towards the far end of the room. She beckoned us to the corner and expertly, and with surprising strength, lifted a wood panel from the wall, ushering us in. I nodded in understanding. It was an old monk's hole, which in years gone by would have sheltered Catholic monks from the Protestant witch hunt - now they would shelter myself and the Captain from what was undoubtedly the local magistrate outside. It was a tight squeeze and it was indeed fortunate that the Captain and I were friends; otherwise it would have been a most uncomfortable stay. Annie re-sealed the wall and we waited silently, standing stock still in the near darkness, our ears straining for any sound of what was going on in the building.

We heard many pairs of heavy booted feet pounding the floorboards of the inn, and there were sounds of furniture being roughly moved around in various rooms both above and around us. Our pursuers were performing a most thorough search of the premises and appeared rather determined to find any trace of us. After what seemed like an interminable period, the noises abated and silence returned. The panel through which we had crawled was suddenly removed and we squinted into the light, trying to make out the features of the person who had removed it. We breathed a sigh of relief as our eyes eventually focused on Fred's weatherworn features. "Out you come lads, fortunately for us that lot don’t get any brighter!" he chuckled as we emerged into a dramatically re-arranged kitchen, replacing the panel after us. "If they come back, they’re going get my broom up their arses!" Annie angrily announced. "Indeed..." Sadeian smiled at her fondly. "They seemed uncommonly motivated for the local authorities" mused the captain and I nodded in agreement, for they had displayed far greater organisation than I had witnessed in my previous brushes with such people. "They certainly seemed to find us awfully quickly, perhaps all is not quite what is seems here, once more...." I replied drifting into thought. Sadeian raised an eyebrow but said nothing more on my cryptic response. "Well then Fred, let us get organised" the captain said brusquely, lighting his pipe...

We spent the rest of the afternoon packing our belongings and going through a plan of attack with Fred for the evening's activity. We couldn’t transport our cargo to the ship without raising suspicion and we also judged it prudent to avoid showing our faces in town again after the morning’s events. Fred had a solution to our problems. As dusk was beginning to settle sleepily on the town, Fred led us to the tap room and pulled on two candlesticks above the fireplace, which caused a portion of the wall to slide aside. This revealed a darkened and well-used looking stairway, which led downwards out of view. The captain winked at me, amused by my astonished expression and gestured to Fred to lead the way. We headed down until we alighted in a store room, which was a veritable Aladdin's cave of treasures and unusual items from all around the world. It was now obvious why the captain had brought us here; Fred was obviously a most resourceful and enterprising individual. Fred walked over to the far wall and pressed in a number of bricks in sequence, humming a nameless tune as he did so. A series of creaks and the sound of moving gears filled the room and the wall before Fred’s slowly raised up into an almost invisible gash in the ceiling. Oh yes, a very resourceful man indeed. Fred strolled over to a large flag, the design of which I did not recognise, and produced three black, hooded cloaks which we all donned and began a further descent, via the sloping tunnel before us, into what I assumed was the bowels of the cliff face below the Inn. We continued our descent for some time, unspeaking, focused on our task. Eventually the sounds of the sea punctuated the silence, and the waves lapping on the sands roused us from our reverie. We emerged into the elements and were greeted by number of loaded rowing boats, manned by associates of Fred, awaiting us. We each boarded a separate boat and rowed a mile or so up the coast until we reach a cut in the cliff face which would allow us to ascend and make our way back through the countryside to our craft.

The ascent proved to be thankfully straightforward with nature providing us with an excellent stairway to the summit. We made our way carefully upward, being as gentle as possible with our cargo, with only an occasional slip on the rough surface to trouble us. Things became much easier having reached a more even surface and we soon neared our destination and I spotted the familiar tree line, which concealed our vessel in the distance, through the twilight gloom. I was immensely pleased to see her and eager to depart. Our many hands made light work of storing the cargo in our adapted hold, and the Captain and I soon surveyed with considerable satisfaction that we had a goodly amount and variety of goods to trade. Just where Fred had acquired such a myriad of items still escapes me to this day. We descended the stairs back to the outside and bade Fred & Annie farewell, thanking them for their many kindnesses during our stay. The captain pressed some coins into Fred's hand "For any inconvenience we may have caused" he said "And god willing, we will return with more". "Good luck lads, I wish I was coming with yer - Godspeed" He said fondly and began leading his followers away. Annie gave us each a bear hug telling us to be careful, and with a parting peck on the cheek, turned and was gone. I & the Captain watch them disappear into the night and then, nodding to each other climbed the stairway into the craft and made ready to take off.
04 August 2008 @ 03:24 pm
The town was quiet the next day and the coastal wind was biting through my clothes as I headed back towards the Inn. I had risen early and skipped breakfast to make my way back to our ship. I felt an urgency to make sense of exactly what was unfolding around me and I had returned there to look for the book which had so tantalisingly lay before me two mornings ago - the tome relating the captains lineage. A thorough search had revealed nothing but a stowaway pigeon caught in the cargo nets which was enduring most reluctant stay in its enforced home. It had taken a great deal of coaxing in its distressed state before it would allow me to free it. It was comforting to handle a bird again, even if it was a less majestic example than I would have preferred. I had taken a wrong turn on my way back to the Inn and was pondering where to go next when I jumped at the sound of a shot ring out, then another, reverberating around the buildings around me. It is a curious habit of the young that one instinctively heads towards the sound of danger. We are driven by the urge of knowledge when the more sensible option would be to run the other way, and it was an instinct that fuelled my actions that morning. Perhaps it was the events of the previous night which prompted me, for I produced my own pistol and headed towards the where the noise had come from. I strode cautiously but purposefully forward, heading down a winding alleyway when what sounded like a volley of shots rang out and footsteps echoed on the cobbles ahead. I cocked my pistol as a now familiar form dived headlong into the alleyway, landing heavily with a gasp and then, clutching his knee came slowly but painfully to his feet - the captain.

I lowered my weapon and ran to his aid. It seemed that he had injured himself in the fall. "A most timely appearance Will" He uttered through gritted teeth, "It appears that our appearance has been anticipated, I rather fancy a retreat to the Inn is in order before whats left of my pursuer is found", he said, forcing a grin. I suggested he make his way back to the inn while I ensure that his hasty exit was not being followed. I must confess that my suggestions were not 100% noble. I wanted answers and I wanted them there and then. "Its an exposed square, be careful Will", the captain breathed, "Let me help you - its the building with the black frontage". The captain fired some distracting shots and I charged across the square to pause in the doorway of the specified building. Glancing back across the square, I saw that the captain had now left to tend his wounds at the inn. Nodding, I turned and kicked down the door before me inwards, splintering the frame. I was now emboldened by youthful impulse and it felt good to be taking matters into my own hands.

I systematically searched each room in sequence, making my way methodically through the building, finding nothing and heading ever upwards. The house was uninhabited and the dusty furniture betrayed the fact that it had been for some time. As I headed up the spiral staircase to the top floor I heard a creaking from the floorboards above. The door to the attic was ajar and I slowly pushed it open with the tip of my pistol, grimacing as it creaked gently while swinging open. "...I'll get him, and if I don’t one of the others will Charles - hang in there." I heard whispered from behind a small pile of ruined furniture ahead of me. I could hear small groans and ragged breathing from there also, mixed in with some footsteps, I had two targets to deal with.

Staying low, I crept painstakingly into the room, the sound of my pulse pounding in my ears. I suddenly realised that I was in a very dangerous scenario with no military training to fall back on. I mused that I would have to see if the captain could help me remedy that - if I got out of the room alive that was. I then learned my first lesson of warfare, concentrate on what you’re doing and the terrain around you. I stepped on a fragment of china which cracked underfoot, betraying my position. I froze momentarily in panic, unsure of my next move before throwing myself forward into a roll, which proved to be not a moment too soon as lead shot zipped through the air and left a large hole in the wall behind where I had been standing. I heard a curse and instinctively hurled myself blindly towards it, hoping to surprise my assailant. Crashing through the furniture, which was thankfully brittle, I connected forcefully with a heavy set individual and sent us both crashing to the floor, hearing his breath exploding from his lungs as we landed. My head spun and I attempted to blink the dust from my eyes following its collision with the floor, fumbling around unsuccessfully for my dropped pistol. My vision finally cleared to focus on a boot making its way with alarming speed towards my face whilst its owner fumbled with a rifle. He was obviously a more seasoned brawler than I, and had recovered quickly. I rolled to my right and succeeded in deflecting the blow with a shoulder. "Time's up for you, kite boy" hissed my attacker lowering his rifle at me. The next few moments seemed to stretch out forever, in the manner that near death experiences seem to. My roll had sent me sliding into a now inert body propped up against a wall, his weapon by his side. It was cocked and ready to fire, which I owe to my continued survival. I desperately angled it upwards over my shoulder from my sideways on position and squeezed the trigger. If I close my eyes I can still recall the sickening sounds that followed now, the sounds of death. I have heard them many times since but the first occasion that I was the cause of them has stayed with me. The sound of tearing flesh and splintering bone mingled with a surprised pained gasp filled the air. I turned to see what was left of my counterparts face locked in a bloodied rictus of surprise as his knees failed and he slumped to the floor, his gasp turning to a pitiful gurgling attempt to continue to breathe, his rifle falling to the floor. Blood poured from the mangled mess of his mouth as his eyes glazed over and he expired.

I sat for several moments, horrified by the sight before me, unable to move. I was dragged back to rational thought by a severe pain in my left shoulder and the smell of seared flesh. I looked down to observe an impressive powder burn due to my unorthodox firing position. Containing my growing nausea, I looked around and focussed on the task in hand. I wanted answers and performed a hurried search of my attacker, taking some scraps of paper and a purse from his pockets. I had no time to scrutinise these now and realised I must leave this place immediately. Turning to leave, I recovered my pistol from the feet of the second inert body, which stared up at me with sightless eyes. This I assumed was the Captain's attacker who had an evil looking wound to his shoulder, which had a crude and ineffectual blood-soaked bandage pressed to it. I scooped up a plumed, wide brimmed hat from the floor which would help obscure my features during my flight. I left both bodies where they lay and exited the building by its rear door. Feeling shocked to the core by what had just transpired I unsteadily followed the most darkened, narrow, alleyways I could back to the Inn. It was time to leave this place.
I climbed the stairs bristling with new hope and excitement at Freds agreement to join our little venture but was quickly deflated by the fact Will was not in the bar waiting for my arrival. I shrugged and decided to work on the assumption that he had already retired to bed. Fred soon arrived from the basement and spent a little time explaining who I was to Annie, his wife. After the exclamations of how much I had apparently grown, the three of us spent the rest of the evening in Fred and Annies private dining room. As we sat eating, drinking and catching up, my mind was cast back to the days when my father must have sat in this self same place. Our little celebration continued until the small hours when I wearily went to my bed.

I awoke the next morning and breakfasted in the bustle of Annies kitchen, when I was approached by a young errand boy wearing a railway badge. I couldn't supress a smile as he asked for me by a pseudonym I had used whilst in the army under the tutelage of my fomer companion Old Tom. As the boy walked from the room I unwrapped the brown paper parcel and was shocked to find my original Nex Eversor Handgun in a black leather holster along with a note written in Tom's cramped copperplate handwriting.

"Thought you might have use for this on your adventures, hope you like the holster I appropriated for you. Good luck and god speed my boy. Tom"

Sitting back, I was delighted to find that Tom had included the reusable magazines I had created for the device. Then, after spending awhile going over its mechanisims and making sure that no damage had been done to the piece, I strapped it to my hip ready for whenever I might need it.

It was mid-day before I sat in a comfy armchair in the bar of the inn, reading a book which Fred had loaned me, which detailed the trading customs of some foreign countries. It was a fascintating read and though it was indeed research for the forthcoming mission, I could not help but enjoy some of the more intriguing traditions. The clock by the bar struck half past two. It had been far too long since I had last seen Will and therefore I decided a brief walk along to our craft was in order, to search for any sign of him which would alleviate some of my nervous energy. Perhaps it could also shed some light upon where he had gone. Exiting the inn I walked along the main street. Even at this time of day the thoroughfares of this little town were quiet, and so it was not too hard for me to become aware of a person following me. I used every trick I knew to try and see who it could be but these proved fruitless. I must have been considering the problem far too hard for my army training alerted me too late to the fact I had walked into a wide square with no cover; there was a moment of silence where I cursed my temporary lapse of judgement before the first shot rang out.

I dived into an alleyway and swore as my knee connected heavily with a loose cobble. Running was out of the question - that much I could tell as I felt pain spread through the joint. I pulled my Nex Eversor Pistol from its holster and extended its optical sighting apparatus. I checked the winder on the magazine and then finally flicked its fire selector to the single high accuracy firing setting. I was also painfully aware that this would be my first field test of the gun's capabilities. I looked into the square partly with my own eyes and partly making use of a reflection from a window in a derelict shop. There had to be a way of finding the unseen gunman. Geometric calculations flashed through my head and I guessed a rough location. Crawling to the walls end I poked the scope around the corner and scanned the top row of windows of a building, there was no sign of anyone. My breath caught in my throat as I felt that familiar feeling of impending death that I had felt in many a cold night in the ranks. Then finally my luck seemed to catch and hold like a falling climbers last grasp for a handhold and I saw the gunman almost totally concealed by a half closed sash window. I could not get a clear line at first to any target, I wiped my brow and looked again into the shadows beyond the window, where I spotted his shoulder held too high and exposed to my searching telescopic sight. I took a half breath, relaxed and fired. The shot's report cracked like a whip around the confined square and I was rewarded with a spray of blood and a half muffled cry of pain. Seizing my chance I flicked the fire selector to the full expeditious clockwork firing setting. I made myself ready before taking my chance and began to move as fast as I could through the shadows at the side of the square. Stepping into the open, I raised my mechanized pistol and fired, noting with grim satisfaction how rapidly it spat bullet after bullet at the concealed enemy. As the magazine ended I ducked into a nearby alley and made my escape in the direction of the inn.
17 July 2008 @ 02:05 pm
I was tempted to squeeze the trigger at that point of course, the hastily repaired door would have offered limited resistance to the lead shot. With growing anticipation I pulled the door towards me whilst still concealing my weapon behind it, not quite sure if I was ready to use it. My eyes searched the darkened corridor, expecting to gaze into the eyes of an aggressor but found only the shadow of my candlelit form against the adjacent wall. Nothing... Except that is, for a small bundle of official looking papers placed upon the floor tied with string. As I bent to retrieve them I noticed a small, weathered piece of parchment tucked into them. I returned to my room, locking the door behind me and sat at the desk with my newly acquired bedtime reading. I cut the string with a bone handled envelope knife that lay on the slightly battered desk at which I now sat at. It seemed that the door was not the only furnishing to have disagreed with the previous occupant, I mused. I laid the papers out before me. The initial set of sheets I perused seemed to be an incomplete set of accounts and then shipping notes relating to goods from india. They did not make happy reading, a gradually increasing debt with an unfortunate series of lost shipments failing to arrive from various ports. It was at this point that I recognised a number of the details as relating to my father's business and they hinted at the figure I would need to provide to secure my family's release. My anger rising, I plunged the knife I still held deep into the desk, causing it shift slightly.

My attention was then captured by the small note floating side to side in a feather-like motion before gently alighting on the floor. In my eagerness to read the offical documents, I had overlooked it. It was a hastily written missive in an untidy hand, the forming of the letters almost childlike. The author either had little experience with the pen or it had been written whilst in motion. I still have it to this day, it read:


You do not know me but I am well acquainted with your circumstances. You are embroiled in a scheme of which you know little but I plan to enlighten you. To tell all now would put you in danger, so I will give you further details when it is safe to do so.

To assure you my intentions are honourable, I leave details of your father's accounts which I have acquired at considerable risk to my own safety. Study them closely and you will observe that all is not as it seems.

Finally, be wary of your companion, Captain Sadeian. He is not who he seems and cannot be trusted - he is using you to his own ends and values you not. If you doubt my words then I entreat you to look into his past deeds and find the proof therein.

Yours earnestly,


I quietly placed it atop the jumble of papers before me, my eyes not focusing on the pale faced, agonised visage of my reflection staring back at me from the mirror facing me. My head was spinning with a maelstrom of unanswered questions and suspicions as I struggled to order my thoughts. The words I had just read poured water on the seeds of doubt I already had in my mind regarding the Captain and they began to sprout deeper roots as a result. I desperately wanted to disregard the words but found I could not, I had to find what the captain was about and as soon as possible.

The turmoil I felt abruptly drained me of my remaining reserves of energy. Recognising this, I resolved to sleep on the problem and consider my options in the morning. I snuffed out my candle and retired to my bed for what was a most unsettled night.