Our story begins here...
[some inspirational music]
Captain Richard Styles sat at his desk, sipping his coffee. He recently retired after an 'incident' aboard the U.S.A.S. Alcatraz. "Damn Felix to hell!" He yelled as he threw his scotch glass.
There was a knock on the door. His servant entered and handed him some mail. "Thanks Reginald," Styles mumbled as he yanked the letter from Reginald's hand. He looked it over and noticed the only thing written on it was Captain Richard Styles.
He opened the letter:
Dear Captain Styles,
I invite you to join us for an Airship Battle Royale. Enclosed are the coordinates. You never know who you might run into, maybe even a thorn in your side.
The Sky Captain
He fumbled for the other piece of paper, it was a small map with an X on it. "Reginald, ready the ship."
"The Alcatraz mk II, sir?"
"Yes, we are going to the Flying City."
Styles began to gather his bag.
Isabella sat at her local bar in Barcelona. She was living it up with massive amounts of alcohol. Her new cabin boy, Stevens, came running in holding a piece of paper. "Captain! We need to ready the ship! We have the coordinates to Avalon, the Flying City!"
Isabella knocked over the table as she ran for the door! "Lets go you crusty scallowags!" She yelled at her crew.
The Sky Captain sat at The Rotunda, the control tower for Avalon.
He peered down to the Marblegate docks.
"You know Airship battles are a great idea." He said
"Considering we have some of the best shipyards and mechanics, I figured why not?" The masked on said.
"I'm glad you invited me here." Felix said as he walked along the circular room to look at the Ironmage district.
"Well with someone of you expertise, there should be no be no question as to having you here." The masked one replied walking with The sky Captain.
"I hope to see great and many a battle here."
The masked walked to the elevator, "Captain if you don't mind I am going to retire."
"Enjoy yourself" Felix said as he stepped out to the catwalk. He climbed the railing and jumped.
The masked one reached their room. They looked to the mirror as they took off their reflective chrome. Her auburn hair fell down to her waist. She smiled as she poured a cup of tea.
On the outskirts of London, in his makeshift hanger bay, Tim was working away. The sound of metal on metal could be heard from the outside. In the engineering room, he was piling some of the conduit damages in the cannon test a few days prior. The walls contained dual power lines running about where single lines of conduit once hung. After tying up the bad conduit, he picked it up and slung it over his shoulder, walked down the hall and out of ship and threw it out on to the dirt floor below. He pulled a bandanna out of his back pocket and wiped the sweat from his brown and heading back in.
"Well, that should take care of any overloading now, I think, well as long as she's under primary propulsion. Should probably heck the energy barrier projections but that can wait."
Tim took off his grey, tweed vest, hat, and shirt and walked over to the kitchen area and washed up in the sink a bit, grabbed a towel to dry off and turned to the small dresser behind him. He opened a drawer and pulled out a clean shirt, put it on and replaced his suspenders, grabbed his black, double breasted pinstripe vest and threw it on along with a green tie from another drawer. He grabbed an envelope and headed towards the cockpit.
There was a new backed stool with a collapsible seat and foot restraints at the command console. He walked over and sat, twirled the envelope in his hands and opened it, the light shined in from the open roof of the warehouse.
"Avalon....", Tim said to himself. Looking at the simply worded invitation in his hand. "Gotta to love the fact that I get an invite the day of the second flight and first primary testing" he chuckled to himself "Someone must like my work. So, Archy, what do you say? I think it's about time field trip"
Tim threw the invite on the console and buttoned up his vest, turned and walked back in to engineering and flipped the main power to the AER and the ship sprang to life. The high pressure boiler soon hissed to life and Tim make a quick once over on the gauges before walking out of the room and sealing the door.
He walked back o the command console and hit a button on the propulsion panel, the mechanical sound of the pods rotating could be heard and Tim throttled the ship, the props roared, pushing the steam exhaust down while pulling the ship up. Once clear of the hanger, throttled down and hit the button again, the props rotated to their natural position and he slid the throttle to 50%.
Tim took another look at the invitation and adjusted his heading to the coordinates on the paper and took a seat, pulling a cigar out of the case in his boot and lighting it.
"Always a good end to the day, starting a new adventure, wouldn't you say, gorgeous?" He puffed on the cigar and rubbed the console.
Throttling up to 100%, the Archimedes roared off in to the horizon trailed by steam exhaust headed for the fabled city in the sky.
“A skilled forensic scientist, speaks fluent French (that won’t be useful on this vessel), very quick, stubborn, I hear you are tricky,” Captain Virote had his eyes glued to the ceiling in thought, with his legs propped up on his desk. Ara pressed her lips together to hide a smile, “I’m strict with my men, I’m strict with my women, and I’m strict with my prisoners,” He continued after a long pause. “I’ll also be strict with you. However, your captain says that people highly underestimate you,”
“Depends on the opponent. Have you heard of Felix Bellicose? He could easily take me down in under a second,” She smiled. “Unfortunately, I learned my combat skills through pure experience. I can be stupid and impulsive at times but I know what I’m doing,”
“I’ve been to your home town before,” He let his head fall back into a normal position, “Sometimes improvisation is best for survival,”
“Living in White Chapel, it was, but this is the sky. In the past few years I have not been so wise with my impulses,”
“At least you are aware,”
“Or maybe I’m in denial. Thinking that self-awareness makes it ok,” She flashed him a quick and subtle smile with her hands netted into each other behind her back. Captain Virote remained silent as he nodded slowly with his shoulders. His legs folded back before his feet planted back into the wooden floor. He smiled, amused, and his dark brow scrunched as he leaned forward on his desk.
“Do you know how to accept a compliment?”
“Yes. But I also know how to correct the misinformed,” What was she talking about? “Captain Virote, I’m so sorry, I’m not feeling like myself. This isn’t how I usually am,”
“This certainly isn’t how your captain described you.” He leaned back again in his chair,
“Well,” She started, plopping herself in the chair across from him and shrugging, “How about you tell me about yourself and maybe the real me will show,” She leaned to one side and took a deep breath to try and relax. “Where were you born?”
“I don’t know,”
“Where is this ship from in Thailand?”
“I don’t know,”
“Is “I don’t know” the name of a place or do you actually not know?”
“I have been travelling since I was conceived. My father was part of a syndicate and when he fell into a large amount of debt, he and my mother had to keep moving. I separated from them when I was twenty. The only skills they taught me were fighting, hunting, fishing, hiding, and gambling. I went from town to town, gambling my way through,”
“Not a very lucky man, are you?”
“How did you know?”
“You wouldn’t be here,” she shrugged casually,
Captain Virote gave an impressed tilt of the head as he nodded slowly again, “Anyways, this ship was the first thing I ever stole. I met a woman in these skies but she ran off with my rigger.”
“I know someone who had the same thing happen to him. Was she Suchin?”
“No, Suchin was what my mother would have named me if I was a girl. You must understand that I renamed this ship in that way because we are very alike. Did you find it easy to climb aboard?” Ara shook her head. “There is no way to get on Suchin without having to climb. In other words, I will not trust you until you prove to me that I should. The three balloons, although still visible on the sides, are not hanging above Suchin like an open target. They are in the middle and on the sides. I keep my true valuables very close to me. And words are not like arrows. They have no effect,”
“You’re a poet, aren’t you?” Arabella smirked with a raised brow,
“I am not,” Virote answered as he held up the paper from his desk. “Did Captain bennet not receive an invitation?” He asked, the corner of her mouth peaked up as she controlled her laughter through her nose.
“She got one. She’s just been in a bad mood. I feel that her precocious personality can get in the way of her having any fun sometimes.” She explained,
“She’s an exciting young thing,” Virote answered, “It’s hard to imagine her not accepting the invitation,” He scanned the paper over and smiled before shaking his head, as if dismissing an idea, and stuffed the paper back neatly into its envelope, being careful not to tear it. “Not all of my men speak English as I do so you will have to be very observant,”
“I’ll have no trouble with that,” Ara shook her head ever so slightly as she said this.
“They’re not used to having a blonde, blue eyed woman on board so if they are a bit prejudice, try not to hold it against them. They may call you Kel̆d h̄ima. And if they touch you in any way that you do not like, feel free to show them your dislike. Some of my men could use a bit of sense knocked into them,”
“Now you’re just being a kiss-ass,” she laughed as they both stood and walked to the door of his study, “What does Kel̆d h̄ima mean?” she asked, Virote returned a laugh,
“Snowflake,” He said, “Shall we to the flying city?” Ara stepped outside onto the main deck and breathed in as the ship passed through a cloud. She shook the water off of her. This was going to be quite the adventure.
"Ellie, you have alot to work on still." Felix said between sips of his whiskey.
"yes sir," the little girl said while staring into her coffee. "But teacher, why do you wear the mask in the city?"
"Because, its part of my job as the Sky Captain to do so." Felix chuckled a little.
"Well teacher..." she paused, "could I get a mask like yours?"
"In time, but fir-" the roar of engines cut him off. The two looked out to the edge of Avalon. A massive airship was cresting on the horizon.
"Captain! Avalon 1 o'clock!" the first officer yelled.
"Prepare to dock." Styles barked at his men.
"Engine speed reduced to one third!" The helmsman yelled down the tube system.
"Lt. Collins, finish the docking procedure as I get ready to present myself." Styles ordered to his first officer. The Lt. saluted and began barking orders at the crew on the bridge.
Felix looked back to Ellie, "Well that's the first of the ships, which means she should be arriving soon." He stood up and walked over to a steamcycle parked near their cafe. Ellie quickly threw on her aviator cap and googles over her blue hair as she climbed into the sidecar.
The Alcatraz had docked succssfully and Capt. Styles was in the elevator up to the rotunda.
Felix and Ellie raced trough the town on the steamcylce. He saw The Queen of the Spanish Main approaching cresting on the horizon.
Styles stood there looking around the rotunda, when he heard the ding of the elevator. He took a look at the two captains.
RAF, and Russian. Looks like we will get to prove american superiority.
The was a loud hiss of steam from the center of the room as a hole opened in the center. The masked figure rose on a platform from hole. "Greeting Captains." they said in a robotic voice. "Welcome to Avalon."
It had been a few hours since Tim and the Archimedes had left London. Archy was bellowing ahead under full steam power and Tim was sitting in his newly installed seat with his feet propped on the command console, his arms crossed with his hat over his eyes. A blip from his radar stirred him to awareness as he lowered his legs and raised his hat to his brow. Looking at the radar and then looking up, he noticed the outline of a large city as he approached.
"This has got to be it..", he said to himself taking the helm. As the city came in to view he noticed a few ships already dock, one of them being the Wyvern.
"Well all be damned...Drake's boat, and that....is that the Russian broads ship? It looks like it. I seem to be fashionably late"
Tim slowed the Archimedes and maneuvered to an open dock, guiding her in. Standing up and heading back to engineering, Tim grabbed his grey top coat off a hanger and a new device on the dresser and fastened it to his right wrist over his glove. In engineering, he flipped the main power on the AER, the ship losing power as the reactor faded to black.
He headed to the main hatch through the panty, now stocked, reviling a new locking mechanism on the main door. He hopped out on to the small deck, gave his normal gear a quick once over, and threw on his coat and looked down at the docks for a moment.
"Docking...now that's something I hadn't thought about. I should get some rope.. Oh well, I'll make due."
Tim jumped over the side of the ship and a few feet down to the docks, lifted his right sleeve and hit a button on the new device. The main hatch clanged as the new locking mechanism engaged.
He headed down the docks to the rotunda elevator, passing some familiar ships and some unfamiliar ones; he then stopped at one in particular and laughed.
"Alcatraz…. That son of a bitch, Styles. Oh I can’t wait to see his face. I’m probably the last person he thought he’d see here." He said smirking and pulled a cigar out of the case in his boot and lit it before continuing on down the docks.
After passing another ship he was cut off by a tall brunette, long bouncy hair, in heeled boots, tight leather pants and a military style coat.
He stopped in his tracks before running in to her. “Woah there darlin, you should take a look before you round a corner like that. I damn near slammed you off the dock.” Tim said taking a few puffs off his cigar.
"Mr. Harrison. Looks like youve stepped up in the world from working with that charming Felix." Isabella batted her eyes at him as she ran her hand across his shoulder. "This will be fun." She just winked and gave him a playful shove before hitting the button for the elevator. The button was not lighting up.
Up in the rotunda the Figure continued to speak. "I'm glad you could make it. Your ships will be moved to the Ironmage docks to be adapted for Avalon."
Foot steps filled the air as the Sky Captain walked in from the catwalk outside. "Welcome my fellow captains!" [*note Felix is dressed up as the sky captain, and not recognized as Felix.] "I am the Sky Captain and helping host this glorius event, the elevators on the far end will take you down to the station. From there you should board the train to Ironmage. Your ships will be waiting at the docks near the station for you." He pulled out three cards, "These are your access cards, they will allow you to access all parts of the Ironmage district, along with the Captain's cafe."
He handed the small cards to each captain. Each card was clear and had the word avalon and a gear engraved on the back. "Try not to lose these. they show your wins and losses. They also state that you are allowed to be here. Now I'll let you guys go get settled and check up on your ships." He said as the elevator on the far side of the room opened up.
Tim smirked as the woman turned and spoke. Taking the cigar out of his mouth, "Well, if it isn't Miss Isabella. It's always a pleasure having you and your....assets around" he said with a wink. "I'm curious as to who else will be here. Hell, I'm surprised I'm here. I hadn't even run Archy through her preliminary testings before I was handed an envelope." Tim reached around her and pushed the button again with the same results and put the cigar back in his mouth and crossed his arms.
"It's one thing to be late, but a damned malfunctioning elevator holding up two more than competent engineers, that's just embarrassing."
Virote jumped off the side of the ship and landed swiftly on his feet, the
soles planting quietly on the docks followed by his heels. “You are in charge
while I am away. If my crew has anything to say about it,” He looked up at
Arabella, “I grant you permission to be rough,” He walked off through the crowd
without even a wave. When he reached the elevator, he pressed the button and
waited. He hadn’t recognized any of the docked ships. “New friends to hack
down,” He said out loud to himself as he waited.