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Atomic Sunrise 10: Exploration Eastward:Sand, Sea, & Stars-Rated R


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#221 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 02:41 PM

Amanda Pellew's favorite activity of all was wandering the shores of the chain of islands that made up her home...Bermuda. Although she knew that there was a huge landmass about 660 miles to the west, she herself had never left her birthplace. Her furthest journey consisted of using her tiny sailboat to traverse the waters around her home. Amanda satisfied her curiosity with reading and observing the active dockyard at the western tip of the island where the League ships, and others, docked for repairs and to deliver supplies. Her new favorite ship to explore was the under-repair, red-flag pirate ship, La Chasseur, that had been captured and brought into port.

When not what her father Commodore Horatio Pellew referred to as 'lurking' at the docks, Amanda would comb the pink sandy beaches for interesting items and treasures that the bright blue waters washed ashore from distant lands. She spent most of her time alone, just as she was this warm and sunny fall morning under a crisp blue sky. For once the tropical rain that was so common this time of year seemed to be nonexistent.

Small for her seventeen years--slightly built, short, thin--with soft white-blonde hair and surprisingly pale skin, Amanda was somewhat shy because of her mutated eyes; although there were plenty of other mutants around. Her time spent alone on the beaches made her happy even though she hadn't found much of interest lately. Even the talking dolphins hadn't visited recently.

Amanda Pellew.JPG

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 03 February 2016 - 12:24 PM.


#222 Balthamos

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 04:53 AM

Amet blinked as images flashed in to his mind. He felt a familiar touched and understood that the dolphins were following them. There seemed to be a lot of activity on deck as the pirates performed unfamiliar tasks on the ship. He stood up and stretched trying not to pull against the chains but peer over the edge to see if he could see the dolphins following the ship.

#223 Raeven

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 08:50 AM

Isabella left her cramped quarters and headed up on deck…she stretched her arms up above her head, whilst she had slept, it hadn’t been the most comfortable night, nor the quietest…Somphit had made some strange noises and Isabella wondered what she dreamt about. She took a deep breath, enjoying the clean, salty air…then she saw Sophie, she waved and headed over to her.

“Good morning….did you sleep ok?”

Rex sat on the edge of his bunk and listened to Nemo groaning, he ran his hands through his hair and sighed, it was going to be a long trip.

He pulled back the curtain to Nemos bunk “come on, rise and shine, time to leave your bunk and head topside”

Nemo curled up and groaned again….”just leave me here to die” Rex laughed…”you’re not dying, far from it…now get up and let’s see if we can’t find those sea legs of yours…I know you have some….besides it’s breakfast time”

At the thought of food Nemo’s stomach churned…”shut up Rex, just shut up and leave me be”

Exasperated Rex left the cabin, went on deck and hauled up a pail of cold seawater….it was time that Nemo pulled himself together and stopped feeling sorry for himself.

He headed back down to the cabin, dragged Nemo from his bunk and poured the cold water over his head

Nemo shrieked, spluttered and cursed…Rex grinned, turned around and headed back up to the main deck.

Nemo wiped the salty water out of his eyes, pulled on his boots and jacket and went after Rex.....he found him standing in the centre of the deck…..”Why did you do that? What’s wrong with you?”

Rex smirked...”what’s wrong with me? Nothing….I’m just giving you something else to focus on” Nemo frowned in confusion…Rex continued “look at you, standing on the deck, not clinging on for dear life, not thinking about feeling queasy, just standing…dripping a little” Nemo shook his head “you are a very strange man Agent Madsen, very strange indeed” then Rex’s words began to sink in….”Oh, I see…” he felt the ship moving and although his stomach lurched just a little, he didn’t panic, he took several deep breaths and kept his eyes fixed on Rex “I’m not going to thank you though, just so you know”

Rex clapped him on the shoulder and laughed “no thanks necessary….I’m going to hunt down some food, you can come, I think your body would appreciate it, but I’ll understand if you don’t feel  up to that right now”

#224 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:48 PM

"Ya doin' all right there, kid?"

Enoch nodded as he let his weight rest on the crosstrees. "Doing great." He let his eyes run along the yard- Cassie, he thought ruefully, would have been doing handstands on the yardarm by this point. The royal yard, at that.

"Lot of people don't make it, their first couple of times," Bocas continued. "Hell, they had to peel my fingers off the blasted mast."

Enoch looked at the able seafarer, who nodded back solemnly. They'd met when Enoch had gotten swept up in a crowd of sailors, and found himself part of the crew hauling on the fall for the main t'gallant yard before he even knew what was happening. Bocas had been behind him, and had spoken up for him when the bosun had realized there was an extra body on his crew. "The kid seems willing enough to work," he'd said, and Mr. Peabody had assigned him as Enoch's instructor.

The sound of eight bells drifted up, drawing his eyes down to the deck. He could see Rex and- to his surprise- Nemo on the deck below. The younger man must be starting to feel better. He looked back up at Bocas, expecting the order to descend, but found the older man peering intently out to sea.

"Ahoy the deck!" Bocas hailed. "Sail ho!"

"Where away?" Mr. Parno, the second mate, called back.

"Two points off the port bow."

A few moments later the third mate began ascending the port-side shrouds with a swiftness and grace Enoch could only envy. She quickly joined them at the crosstrees, entwining her leg with one of the futtock shrouds in order to provide a relatively stable base as she pulled a spyglass from her belt. Steadying the glass with both hands, she asked, "Kane?"

"There, ma'am," Bocas pointed to the smudge low down on the horizon. Being regular crew, and not an officer or a rating, Bocas was addressed by only his surname, without any honorific, while on duty.

"What news, Ms. Zheng?" Captain Ward called up.

"Looks like a snow, Captain," Zheng called back. "Likely on course for Bermuda as well."

"Thank you, Ms. Zheng."

"Aye, Captain." Zheng replaced the spyglass on her belt and began to climb back down.

"C'mon, kid," Bocas said, swinging his legs over and starting his descent. "Let's see what we're getting in the mess this morning."

Edited by Ishmael Autolycus, 10 December 2015 - 12:50 PM.


#225 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 11 December 2015 - 06:45 PM

Good morning….did you sleep ok?”

“Morning!” Sophie said to Isabella, then grabbed the railing as the ship dipped and rose. “Oops,” she laughed. “I slept okay once I got used to those damn bells,” she said in a lower voice. “I'm assuming we get used to them after awhile...then again, I suppose we need to listen for them to know the time. How about you?”

They saw Rex appear on deck, watched him haul up a pail of cold sea water then disappear quickly back down belowdecks.They stared at each other not wanting to know.

Sophie and Isabella stood for a few minutes in silence watching in awe the crew man the ship...especially Enoch up in the rigging looking excited but nervous...as well as the expanse of ocean all around them. Soon they linked arms, partly to steady each other on deck, and decided to see if there was breakfast in the wardroom. On the way they passed Rex again on the deck, this time with a damp Nemo next to him.

"Are you two headed into breakfast?" Sophie asked.

There was some sudden yelling and quick climbing around from up above them. Sophie wondered how they would ever learn to work up in the sails like that.

"Ahoy the deck! Sail ho!"

"Where away?"


"Two points off the port bow."

Captain Ward appeared and called up. "What news, Ms. Zheng?"

"Looks like a snow, Captain. Likely on course for Bermuda as well."

"Thank you, Ms. Zheng."

"Aye, Captain."


Sophie frowned. “Did they just say snow?” she asked Isabella. “Like...snow snow? It's gonna snow out here on the ocean? We're not really dressed for snow. Ishmael didn't tell us it snowed out here.”

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 11 December 2015 - 06:46 PM.


#226 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 11 December 2015 - 07:57 PM

In her cage Myka woke up dry but with salt coating her skin and now bedraggled hair, and her clothes feeling slightly stiff. After their unexpected sea water shower yesterday...and the punch in the gut from that scary dark-skinned pirate who she thought was going to kill her for sure...the four of them had been separated and tied down on deck for a few hours. After being dragged back into their cages and fed some more debatable stew-like concoction, all but one lantern had been extinguished. There'd been little to do but talk quietly and finally try to get some sleep. Ryland still hadn't said much. Myka wondered if the poor kid was even going to make it out of this alive or just fade away.

Alexander was muttering in his cage, which worried Myka. She psssttt'ed to Cassie to see if the agent was awake. Of course she was.

“What?” Cassie said in a grumpy tone. She'd been thinking about Rex, Enoch, and especially John...although the last was the worst. After all her angst over whatever possible relationship they might have had but probably wouldn't or couldn't, Cassie wondered what she'd do when she and the others had taken over the pirate ship and killed everyone aboard, then reached their friends again. Well, she could fantasize anyway. And life was too damn short to not really live it, she'd decided. What that meant in relation to John, she didn't really know yet.

Myka didn't blame Cassie for being grouchy. “Alexander is acting strange,” she whispered, pressing up against the bars to get closer to the other woman.

“Alexander always acts strange,” Cassie mumbled.

Myka had to agree. But usually it was a fun sort of strange...this time she was afraid his “juice” had run out and their Librarian was going crazy again.

Just then the hatch to the dark, stuffy hold opened with a bang and two pirates, one they hadn't seen before along with one of the men who'd kidnapped them, strode in. The leader with shaggy cut dark hair and a short beard and mustache carried some sort of long cylindrical black stick. He slapped it in the palm of one calloused hand.

“Youse four better keep back,” he warned.

“Hey, Kralen!” the other said, “Where's that trunk with the booze in it...Cap'n wanted two bottles o'the good stuff.”

Kralen mumbled something about too drinking too early in the morning that sounded to Myka like an insult to their pirate Captain, but he jingled a set of keys and tossed them to the other man to fetch the bottles. As he walked past Myka's cage she caught a whiff of his body odor and nearly gagged. Pirates sure were nasty.

Alexander suddenly approached the bars of his cage and Kralen was on him before any of them knew what was happening. He jabbed the black stick thing right into Alexander's chest and pressed a button. An arc of blue electricity shot from two metal prongs right into the robed Librarian.

“Ah said to keep back, mutie!” the mustached pirate yelled.

He let off the button and pulled the stick back as Alexander slumped to the floor of his cage.

The pirates retrieved the spirits and left their mutant slaves alone again.

“Cool!” Myka exclaimed. “That should help.”

Cassie stood watching Alexander, a half smile on her face. “Let's not thank them for that,” she suggested. “They don't have to know how they just helped us. Although...hopefully it wasn't too much of a jolt to the poor man's system.”

* * * * * *

"Hey there, ya' stupid giant!" Demon yelled as the mutant stood up and stretched against the chains to peer over the edge of the undulating ship.

Sandbar, his bald head covered by a stained bandana, stalked across the deck with a crowbar in hand.

"Wot's he doing?" he asked Demon, sneering in disgust.

"Tryin' to escape or somethin'...I say we teach 'im a lesson." Demon unclipped the cat-o'nine-tails that he kept attached to his belt. He snapped the whip against the railing of Freedom's Ghost.

As they bore down on Amet, the giant backed away as best he could despite being chained up. The pirates thought he was afraid. They laughed. But their faces gave way to fear when suddenly the chains gave way from the deck and the giant was jolted over the side of the ship. The two pirates tried to grab the flailing chains but were whacked with them instead, bloodying their faces and hands.

Both men swore as the giant plunged down into the ocean. His weight and the force of the fall propelled him deeper into the water as the pirate ship sailed past him at a fast clip. Having caught a brisk wind the ship was moving quickly and soon was some distance away heading east.

The dolphins acted quickly when Amet fell into the water. While he was under they dragged and pushed him as far as they could. As he rose to the surface they began to leap around him, splashing and churning up the water.

On the ship the two pirates who were certain to receive a beating, saw nothing through their spyglasses except dolphins playing. They had to assume that the giant had drowned. They argued about who's fault it was and who was not going to tell the Captain.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 13 December 2015 - 04:51 PM.


#227 RJDiogenes

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 02:44 PM

“Cool!” Myka exclaimed. “That should help.”

Cassie stood watching Alexander, a half smile on her face. “Let's not thank them for that,” she suggested. “They don't have to know how they just helped us. Although...hopefully it wasn't too much of a jolt to the poor man's system.”

"Well," said Alexander, rising to a sitting position and blinking his eyes, "it was quite a strange mix of pain and pleasure, but the afterglow is quite refreshing. My head feels very clear. In fact, I've just thought of an excellent book that I read about seventeen years ago. It was called Handcuff Secrets, by a man named Harry Houdini, who was quite a celebrity in his own time. The original publication date was 1907, but the copy we had in the Library was an edition from 1932. I think his insights into the workings of tumbler locks could probably be made applicable to the simple locking mechanisms in these cages."

Alexander crawled around in circles on his hands and knees for a few moments until he found a large splinter peeling off from one of the floorboards. "This may do the trick," he said, twisting it off.  Moving to the cage door, he inserted it into the keyhole of the lock, probing around inside, a look of concentration on his face, the tip of his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth.

There was a metallic clunk and the door popped open.

"Not very challenging at all, actually," said Alexander.  Then he closed the door again. "However, we must not be hasty, given the ratio of pirates to us. We must carefully think through our next actions before revealing to them that we can come and go as we please.  As George Washington once said, 'Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.' Wow, that was a lot of voltage."

#228 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 14 December 2015 - 10:55 PM

“Did they just say snow? Like...snow snow? It's gonna snow out here on the ocean? We're not really dressed for snow. Ishmael didn't tell us it snowed out here.”

Ishmael laughed. "Not very often at these latitudes. A snow is a type of ship," he explained. "I think the name was originally a Dutch word. Oh, before I forget, Isabella, Dr. Tavus asked if you and Somphit had breakfasted yet. He was just on his way to the wardroom when we spoke, so he's probably just started if you wanted to join him. Sophie, you and I have been invited to dine with the Captain." As usual with League ships, the Captain lived and dined separately from the officers and crew, a practice that was supposed to denote and reinforce her position as the supreme authority aboard ship. Surprisingly, Ishmael found he didn't miss that style of leadership as much as he might have, having seen the benefits of the more collegial style Sophie employed.

"A snow looks very similar to a brig, like Freedom's Ghost," Ishmael continued, "except the spanker is mounted on a separate snow mast, instead of on the main, and the bow tends to be sharper. Still, the fact that they do look so much alike is probably the reason we're changing course."

"Aye," Captain Ward said as she joined them. "It wouldn't be the first time a pirate's changed his rig to throw us off his trail. There are a number of snows sailing these waters though, so that's probably all it is. Still, there's a chance her crew might have seen something that could help you find the Ghost."

"How soon before we catch up to her?" Ishmael asked.

"Normally, a couple hours. With this," Ward grimaced, gesturing toward the truncated foremast, "mid-afternoon, at the earliest."

#229 Raeven

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 09:33 AM

"Are you two headed into breakfast?"

Rex nodded..”I am, not sure about Nemo, I told him he should, but…”

Nemo sighed….”ok, ok, yes, I’m going to have breakfast…..if someone will just tell me where I can find it”

Before Isabella had a chance to tell him that they were heading to the wardroom she got side-tracked by the thought of snow..then she heard Ishmael laughing, she looked at him quizzically waiting for a suitably nautical explanation for snow at sea….she smiled and shook her head….”silly name for a type of ship if you ask me, which you didn’t”

“ Dr. Tavus asked if you and Somphit had breakfasted yet”

Isabella shook her head “we were just discussing breakfast……Somphit wasn’t quite ready when I left, rather than keep Dr. Tavus waiting any longer, I’ll go ahead and join him, perhaps someone could relay the message to Somphit?”

“Sophie, you and I have been invited to dine with the Captain."

Rex looked at Nemo and shrugged……”no breakfast invites for us so I guess I’ll play messenger and then head to the wardroom too….Nemo go with Isabella, you should be safe enough with two doctors keeping an eye on you”

Nemo had the urge to actually roll his eyes….

Isabella grinned at Sophie….”I keep forgetting you and Ishmael are too fancy to eat with us now” she squeezed her friends arm as Captain Ward joined them…”have fun, I’ll catch up with you later….it seems we have some time before we catch up with the snow”

She nudged Nemo who was glaring at where Rex had been standing….”Come on, let’s go and chat to Dr Tavus…and eat..I’m starving”

Rex nodded at Captain Ward as he walked by “Morning Captain” he hurried down to Isabella and Somphits quarters – the door was ajar…”Somphit? You in there? The ships surgeon, Dr Tavus, wants you to have breakfast with him in the wardroom, Isabella is heading there now”

Isabella stepped into the wardroom…”good morning Dr. Ta…Baraz…a pleasure to see you again”

Nemo ducked to avoid hitting his head on the door frame… he kept his head lowered until he was seated, then he looked up, his eyes widened…the ships doctor had the most incredible facial hair.

#230 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 08:32 PM

Sophie laughed as Isabella called her 'fancy' about dining with the Captain...and watched her best friend leave with Rex and Nemo to have breakfast in the wardroom. She turned back to listen to Captain Ward and Ishmael discuss the merits of changing course and following the other ship—the snow—for perhaps useful information on Freedom's Ghost.

Sophie frowned slightly. This unexpected delay bothered her. It was more difficult than she'd thought it would be to turn control over to someone else. As Captain Ward led the way to breakfast, Sophie linked her arm with Ishmael's and then slowed her walk across the deck causing Ishmael to slow as well. She brushed hair out of her eyes, blown there by the wind sweeping across the deck.

She leaned toward him and said in a low voice so only he could hear, “Do we really have to delay arriving in Bermuda?” she asked in frustration. “We already know that the slaver's ship is heading for that ship-city, Varuna. And Alex promised we'd have a ship waiting for us on the island. Following this snow ship seems like a waste of valuable time.” Sophie sighed forcing away the tears of guilt, worry, and anger that threatened to fall. “I completely appreciate the ride to Bermuda, but we already have our plans, Ishmael. I just...,” she paused and looked up at him, “I just want to get there and go after that damn slaver ship as fast as we can, before....”

Sophie shook her head. She refused to allow thoughts of harm coming to their friends enter her mind. Not that refusing did much good. They tumbled their way in anyway.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 18 January 2016 - 08:41 PM.


#231 RJDiogenes

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 07:30 PM

Rex hurried down to Isabella and Somphits quarters – the door was ajar…”Somphit? You in there? The ships surgeon, Dr Tavus, wants you to have breakfast with him in the wardroom, Isabella is heading there now”

"Eep!" said Somphit, jumping in alarm at Rex's voice.  She had been lost in thought, going over in her head everything that her grandmother had taught her. Ever since meeting the ship's doctor, she had felt like she was going to get hit with a surprise quiz-- and now here it was.  "Er... thank you, Rex.  I'll get right over there. I'd love to have breakfast with Dr Tavus."

#232 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 06:08 PM

The dolphins acted quickly when Amet fell into the water. While he was under they dragged and pushed him as far as they could. As he rose to the surface they began to leap around him, splashing and churning up the water.

* * * * *

From around a small islet that made up a small, uninhabited chain...that the pirate slaver ship had recently passed and paid no attention to...an old-world fishing boat, the kind with a nearly flat rear half, sped out into the open waters. Towed by six dolphins, who actually worked with the fishermen and shared not in the fish themselves but in safe waters to live in around Bermuda, the boat headed for the splashing Evolved dolphins. The men on board had seen the giant fall from the ship and raced to help in any way they could...

#233 Balthamos

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 06:24 PM

Amet hit the water hard with a splash and air was pushed from his longs leaving him floundering from a moment until his gills caught up with everything that was going on around him. That didn't really work how he expected but when he worked out where he was he swam down towards what appeared to be a fearful depth. He could, if he allowed his eyes to be stung by the salty water, see the shadow of the ship on the surface of the water pulling away from him. When the stinging of the water became too much he allowed himself to drift up to the surface, he broke the water and took a breath somewhere between the place where his gills and his lungs were competing for the job of oxygenating him. The slaver ship didn't appear to have slowed. He bobbed in up and down rising and falling with the swell of the ocean turning himself around looking for land. The dolphins surrounded him and if sensing his distress sought to hold him steady and turn him in a particular direction. Exhausted, underfed and still carrying heavy chains he set off at a slow crawl in the direction the dolphins were encouraging.

After a few minutes he spotted something coming towards him. He slowed and prepared to dive but an image in his head stopped him. He swam slowly and cautiously and after a few minute the spot became a boat. He couldn't see anyone rowing or even anyone on board navigating. Finally he realised that more dolphins were assisting him. When it was alongside him he heaved himself with a helpful headbutt from one of his friends. The boat was large and Amet spent some moment trying not to make the boat tip over. After a moment he understood the dolphins were still pulling the boat, working as a team and there were no oars so he'd have to hope they knew where safety was.

Edited by Balthamos, 23 January 2016 - 06:36 PM.


#234 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 12:17 AM

“Do we really have to delay arriving in Bermuda? We already know that the slaver's ship is heading for that ship-city, Varuna. And Alex promised we'd have a ship waiting for us on the island. Following this snow ship seems like a waste of valuable time. I completely appreciate the ride to Bermuda, but we already have our plans, Ishmael. I just... I just want to get there and go after that damn slaver ship as fast as we can, before....”

"I know," Ishmael said, giving Sophie's arm a brief squeeze. "I know. But we are still on course for Bermuda, just a slightly different one. Believe it or not, this change of course may end up getting us there faster." At Sophie's doubtful look, he continued, "See that?" he nodded to where a pair of sailors were steadily turning a flywheel attached to a metal housing, just forward of the mainmast. "That's the main pump. Normally about fifteen to twenty minutes of pumping per watch is enough to keep the bilges dry. Now it's taking just under two hours. That's two hours of a four hour watch." Sophie's eyes widened with alarm, and Ishmael hastened to reassure her. "Everything's under control. Ms. Hechinger and her crew are sounding the well- ah, keeping a close eye on the water level." Esmerelda Hechinger was the ship's carpenter, a stocky, gray-haired woman. "There's a back-up pump mounted on the gun deck, plus enough spare parts aboard to build a third." They had reached Natasha's cabin by this point, and Ishmael knocked on the door before opening it.

Natasha turned as they entered. "Ms. Sophie Drake, may I present my First, Mr. Magnificent Boddy."

Magnificent, a tall, muscular man with glossy black hair and olive skin, smiled wryly. "No, my parents weren't drunk when they named me, unfortunately, as evidenced by my two older sisters, Superb and Exquisite. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Drake."

"Shall we?" Natasha asked, gesturing toward the table. They sat, and were quickly served by a pair of stewards.

"Sophie expressed some concern about the delay intercepting the snow might cause to our arrival in Bermuda," Ishmael said, once they had been served and the stewards had departed. "I thought you might be able to reassure her. I had to explain to her about the pump."

Natasha snorted. "I'm sure that was reassuring." She frowned momentarily as she considered the best way to explain, then continued, "Eagle's slightly faster on this point of sail, but it also puts more of a strain on the hull and rigging. Our original course would have kept that strain to a minimum until close to the end of the voyage. Changing course like this merely means that strain is applied now, with less for the latter part of our voyage." Natasha leaned forward slightly, looking Sophie directly in the eye. "Mr. Peabody and Ms. Hechinger are both highly experienced ratings whose judgments I trust, and they're both monitoring the ship closely. If either of them reports a problem, we'll break off and resume our original course."

Once they had finished their breakfast and the stewards had cleared the dishes away, Natasha rolled a large chart, or map, out on the table. "I wanted you to have some idea of where everything is," Ishmael said as he beckoned Sophie closer. "This is Bermuda, and Varuna is usually about here."

"They still are," Natasha confirmed. She and Magnificent exchanged glances, then she added, "Word has it the Senegambrians and the Orinoquians have been using Varuna as a neutral meeting place lately."

Ishmael stared at Natasha. "Bloody hell," he breathed. "The Senegambrian Empire, here in Africa," Ishmael indicated the position of the Empire on the chart, "and the Orinoquian Confederacy, here in South America, are two of the biggest slave-holding powers in the area," he explained to Sophie. "As you can imagine, they don't like the League's ban on shipping slaves by sea." He looked back at Natasha. "Keeping those two from combining forces has always been a major priority for the League."

Natasha grimaced. "It still is. But when the King of Geba River died two years ago without designating an heir, the nobles started fighting among themselves. It wasn't long before the Empire swooped in and swallowed the Kingdom whole." She shrugged. "We still have allies in the region, but none of them are too anxious to take on the Empire right now."

Ishmael stared hard at Natasha. "We just want to get our friends out."

Natasha's return stare was equally hard. "I understand that. Doesn't mean you can't keep your ears open."

Ishmael's lips thinned. "Who's on the Cabo Verde station?"

"Harrington on Constellation and van Rijn on Oosterschelde," Natasha answered.

"No promises," Ishmael said, "but if we do happen to hear anything we'll be sure to let someone know."

"Good enough," Natasha answered.

#235 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 11:17 AM

Myka whooped without thinking when Alexander picked the lock on his cage door with a splinter of wood and the door clicked open. She clamped a hand over her mouth, excitement and triumph bubbling up from her stomach. Or maybe that was hunger, she wasn't quite sure.

Cassie gripped the bars of her cage and stared at the Librarian. “I have no idea what you just said actually means, but holy crap. Alexander! You can get us out of here...at least so long as that thing works on our cages, too.”

“And maybe some of the trunks or crates in the hold?” Myka asked. “If we can search through them there might be some stuff we can use.”

Cassie and Myka watched Alexander hide the splinter of wood away safely in his robes. They assumed the jolt hadn't been too much for the large-headed man since he was looking particularly chipper and alert. Even Ryland was sitting close to the bars watching and listening. Myka smiled at the pale-skinned teenage encouragingly.

“Maybe all the pirates will get drunk and fall overboard or something,” Myka suggested hopefully.

Cassie snorted, partially in laughter and partially in disagreement. “I doubt it,” she said, “but keep those positive thoughts coming, Myka. You never know what might happen out here. Although I have a feeling those cretins know how to hold their liquor.”

The kidnapped friends stopped talking suddenly when the dirty, ragged boy from yesterday returned with more trays of mystery food and canteens of water. A slaver they'd not seen yet followed and ordered them to eat. Figuring to keep up their strength, the four did as instructed but then were surprised to find themselves shackled and being hauled up on deck again. The morning air and sun was a relief. The small crew of pirates moved about the ship doing double and triple duty to keep her moving.

“Time t'earn your keep, slaves!” the Captain himself yelled from the quarterdeck, glaring down at his prisoners.

Alexander and Ryland's shackles were lengthened as old plastic bristled push brooms were shoved into their hands. They were pushed toward buckets of sea water and sand laying next to large hand brushes. Cassie and Myka were shoved toward a pile of sails with rips and tears.

“You all work hard now and don't give my men any reason to hurt you.” Seth laughed at that amusing thought. “Don't want to end up like that freak of a giant did,” he added with a look of disgust.

He glanced lazily at Demon and Sandbar who'd been patched up by the doctor from their injuries from the giant's chains as well as his own beating of the men. Although Seth had held back somewhat, figuring the men had actually done him a favor, he'd still needed to make an example of their idiocy. The Captain had decided a giant was too much trouble to keep, much less attempt to transport and sell. He'd been going to kill the beastly thing anyway.

Amet!?” Myka began scanning the deck where she'd seen her friend yesterday. When she didn't see him she looked frantically at Cassie, who just shook her head in warning. But Myka couldn't help herself.

“Where's our friend?” she shouted angrily. “What did you do to him?"

Captain Seth frowned at the insubordination, his eyes narrowing. He nodded to Demon who had brought the horned mutant girl with the strange colored skin from the beach and up onto the deck.

Demon grinned without humor, his eyes growing wide. He backhanded the horned girl and sent her flying across the deck. She only stopped when she slammed into the bulwark, which prevented her from tumbling into the churning water.

“NO!” yelled Cassie. “Leave her alone, you bastard!”

The Captain slowly descended the few steps from the upper deck to the main deck, his boots echoing off the wood. “That thing...the giant couldn't be controlled. He was useless to me. He was thrown overboard last night.” The Captain shrugged. “I'd guess he's dead by now.”

From where she lay on the deck Myka struggled to sit up. “Nooooooooooooooo!” she wailed as too many emotions overwhelmed her at once...from the past and the present. It was as if the floodgates of everything she'd ever endured and suffered through and kept to herself were wrenched out. “NO NO NO!” she cried at the loss of Amet.

“Shut that thing up!” the Captain hissed.

Demon swept Myka up in his massive arms and she found herself hanging over the side of the ship. Her struggles and screams were combined with Cassie's horrified shouts. Myka grew hysterical with fear at being dropped into the churning water. Cassie's head was yanked back by Hawk as he held a knife to her throat.

“Both of ya' shut the hell up!” the Captain bellowed, his voice carrying over the sound of the ocean and creak of the sails. “I'll kill ya' both right now!”

Myka didn't want to die in the ocean. She wanted to see Nemo again...had to see Nemo again and have him hold her. Through her terror she forced herself to stop screaming and struggling, despite the fact that she was face down toward the churning waters. But she couldn't stop herself from shaking.

Hawk forced Cassie to her knees with the knife still at her throat and her head wrenched back as he stood behind her, showing her he was in control.

Once Myka was hauled back up and dumped onto the deck, the Captain walked around her. He toed her in the ribs with one boot. Myka did or said nothing despite the bruising from yesterday's punch in her stomach.She merely hung her head down...her red hair hanging over her face. Seth laughed.

“Take the mutant to my cabin, Demon,” he ordered. “Chain the thing up good. I think I want to have some fun.”

Myka was dragged away while Cassie didn't dare struggle. But she swore to herself that she was going to kill herself some pirates...and get back to Rex. She didn't see what happened to Alexander or Ryland on deck as Hawk practically pulled her by the hair back down into the hold.

Captain Seth unmistakably motioned to the two remaining slaves to get to work...or else.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 25 January 2016 - 08:39 PM.


#236 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

    Zen moment

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 11:33 AM

In the wardroom breakfast was served to Dr. Tavus, Isabella, Rex, Nemo, Somphit, and several other officers who were seated at various tables. Talk was kept light during the meal; but after the remains were cleared Ms. Fenwick entered followed by a seaman carrying a large rolled up chart. She smiled efficiently at the Doctors, then unrolled the chart on the table, a smaller version of the one in the Captain's quarters.

Captain Ward thought you all would be interested in seeing where we are...and where we are going,” she announced to the visitors.

Ms. Fenwick began to point out their approximate course at sea, the island of Bermuda, and the location of Varuna in the middle of the Sargasso sea, close enough that what used to be Africa and Europe, in the old world, could also sail to the ship-city. She motioned to several shelves of books trapped by thin rods to hold them in place that told of the islands of Bermuda. At least what it used to be like before the great war.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 24 January 2016 - 11:49 AM.


#237 RJDiogenes

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 07:35 PM

"Don't make a sound," Alexander said out of the corner of his mouth to Ryland, who was staring in horror at the screaming and violence at the other end of the deck. "Anything we do will just make it worse for them and for us. Patience. I need time to think. And they need to think we're harmless.  Get to work. Get to work."  Alexander nudged Ryland with his elbow and the boy nodded, pushing the broom aimlessly.

A walking mass of tattoos and scars strolled over to Alexander and Ryland to see what they were talking about. "Ahoy, Matey," said Alexander. "Come to watch us swab the deck?  How about if we all sing: 'Sixteen men on a dead man's chest! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!' Or is that fifteen men? And a bottle of grog?  You don't have any sheet music on this ship, by any chance, do you?"

The sunburned pile of muscles just stared grimly at him.

#238 Raeven

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 05:25 AM

Nemo leaned over the table and studied the map Ms. Fenwick had unrolled, surreptitiously glancing at Dr Tavus’s moustache….

Rex smiled and shook his head at Nemo, nodding his head towards the map….

As Nemo studied the island of Bermuda he suddenly felt sick to his stomach, he fell to his knees and pressed his hands into his middle…

Isabella hurried over to him “Nemo, what is it? do you feel sick?”

Nemo shook his head…”yes..no…it’s not sea sickness…it’s…I don’t know how to explain….it’s like I …I felt terrified, really terrified” …he stood up, “it’s passed now..I really don’t know what it was…but if I think I need some air” Rex offered to go with him, but Nemo insisted he stay below and study the map.

Isabella and Rex watched Nemo leave the wardroom ….Isabella frowned “what was that all about?” Rex shrugged “no idea whatsoever, unless his breakfast isn’t agreeing with him”

Isabella looked down at the map….”Rex, I’m going to check on him, you stay here and study our course, I’m sure the maps, charts, books will make more sense to you than me”

She bid the others farewell then went up on deck….Nemo was leaning against one of the masts, his eyes were closed…… “Nemo….are you feeling any better?”

Nemo opened his eyes and sighed….”I’m fine….now….It was so strange Isabella, I have never experienced anything like it, I was so scared, but it wasn’t me that was scared…I know it doesn’t make any sense…but….what if…this will sound stupid…but do you think it was Myka, do you think Myka is scared…what if something has happened to her, to them”

Isabella put her hand on his arm…..”that doesn’t sound stupid at all, whilst I can’t say for certain that’s what happened, I’m not going to dismiss it, you obviously felt something” she looked up at the sky….”all I know is that we have to get to our friends soon…wherever the Freedoms Ghost is we need to be there, so we need to learn to sail before we reach Bermuda so that when Ishmael procures us a ship we can leave straight away and ….”

Nemo nodded “you’re right, let’s find Ishmael, he needs to teach us stuff, now”

#239 Ishmael Autolycus

Ishmael Autolycus

    A wanderer, and a picker-up of unregarded trifles.

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 10:15 AM

"John!" Enoch called. "Abel!"

The two guards carried their trays over to the table where Enoch sat with a group of sailors, all of them eating breakfast. Enoch quickly made introductions, ending with, "And this is Bocas, who's been teaching me, well, a lot." Enoch shook his head. "It's amazing how much those old books left out. Oh, and you may know this already, but after breakfast Ishmael wants all of us to meet with the First Mate and Mr. Peabody at the mainmast, up on deck."

"That's... the one in the middle, right?" John asked.

The sailors all stopped eating and stared at John.

"Um, ah, right, the middle one. That's right," Enoch stammered.

One of the sailors shook her head sadly. "Oh, boy."

#240 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:56 PM

Hearing that they were at least still on course for Bermuda had calmed Sophie's fears somewhat, although the two hours out of every four of pumping water from the ship was a bit disconcerting...despite Ishmael's assurances that it was “under control”. Sophie hadn't realize that water was getting into the ship. Even Captain Ward hadn't been very reassuring about this pumping business, although she hadn't seem worried either.

So Sophie decided that if Ishmael wasn't worried, then she wouldn't be either...mostly. There really was an enormous amount of water surrounding them.

Breakfast was simple but filling. But now she, Ishmael, the Captain, and the First Mate, Mr. Boddy...Sophie really tried not to think about his first name so that she wouldn't giggle inappropriately...stood around the large chart on the table. It had been enlightening and a relief to have a visual as to where they were in relation to land out on the huge expanse of water. But still when Ishmael had pointed to the location of Varuna, Sophie had grimaced. That was a long way from any sort of solid land.

"Word has it the Senegambrians and the Orinoquians have been using Varuna as a neutral meeting place lately."

"Bloody hell.”

“The what?” Sophie asked at the strange sounding names.

"The Senegambrian Empire, here in Africa, and the Orinoquian Confederacy, here in South America, are two of the biggest slave-holding powers in the area. As you can imagine, they don't like the League's ban on shipping slaves by sea."

Sophie studied the two large land masses on the map. Growing up she and Isabella had studied the geography of the old world, so she was familiar with the names, but it was rare to meet people from the other parts of the world these days. Especially having lived in the very middle of what used to be the United States. Their world had been small back then, literally and figuratively...fighting marauders, surviving, and keeping their underground facility a secret. Then came the freedom the trucks provided, along with the discovery of Department 7. And now here they were on the ocean, where the horizon always appeared to lead to the end of the earth. Sophie felt herself growing smaller while her world enlarged around her. It was a confusing feeling.

How the hell had her life...as well as those originally from the settlement...become so damn complicated?

She half listened to the talk of the King of Geba River, fighting nobles, the Empire, and the Kingdom. It all sounded like those books on medieval times of old earth's history.

"We just want to get our friends out."

Ishmael's remark brought Sophie back. She loved him for putting their friends first, before the League issue he and Captain Ward were talking about.

"I understand that. Doesn't mean you can't keep your ears open."

...No promises, but if we do happen to hear anything we'll be sure to let someone know."

“Ishmael's right,” Sophie added. “We'll help where we can, Captain. It's what we do,” she added. “What we've always done...but right now we need to learn to sail.” She turned to Ishmael. “You told the others to meet at the...mainmast after breakfast,” she reminded him. In her mind she pictured the mast in the middle of the ship but refrained from saying that part out loud. “We should go. Thank you, Captain Ward, for breakfast...and for helping us like this. We appreciate everything and won't forget your assistance.”

As they headed back up on deck, Sophie asked, “Are there seriously slave holders that span the world? It's so far removed from the local marauders back around the settlement and everyone just trying to survive that it seems almost unreal.” She shook her head. “But we've read about the old history so I know slave trade on the ocean existed back then, so why not now, I guess.”

Sophie sighed, securing her hair back for the first sailing lesson, and almost smiled. “You know, I sort of miss the old days when all we had to worry about were marauders attacking the settlement, a crazy android army, and rescuing people from “local” warlords.”

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 27 January 2016 - 06:39 AM.



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