Session #4: Badlands
The Oaken let out of Landfall sans Professor Pressmore. As a token of appreciation, and a discount on his bill of sale, he traded his last three Health Potions for a price reduction. While in Landfall searching for work, Eliza had taken a notice from the Trades Board.
Crew Wanted For Remnants Run
Experienced skyship crew wanted for an exploratory dig on Piltdown within the Remnants region. Crew must have experience in navigating the hazardous region of the Remnants known as the Badlands. Client would appreciate accommodations to be reasonably clean. Client is willing to pay 3/4's wages in advance.
Standing in their messhall and common room was a woman named Julia Redding. Human, with a touch of Elven features and fawn tan skin set against dark red hair. Her eyes were deep forest green, sparkling like polished emerald under the soft electrotech lights. She had an erect carriage that Eliza attempted to match by standing straighter with a slight arch to her back. Glenna, Eliza cursed silently, had no trouble competing in such assets. She caught the Dwarf's eye and noticed the way Glenna would smirk at how funny the situation was.
Julia drew a cigarello from her kit and asked, "Is it alright if I smoke?"
"You're welcome to, Miss Redding, but please keep it to this deck or your cabin. I hope our accommodations are satisfactory," Eliza said. She had put Redding in the room that Pressmore had occupied.
"They are, Captain, thank-you. I have to say, whoever stayed their previously was quite fastidious. My compliments," Redding beamed and offered a nod of respect to the Captain as a thin line of gray smoke trailed from the cigarello. The air was filled with the bittersweet taste of cherry and tobacco. The mention of quarters reminded Eliza of Pressmore. And though she accepted the respect with a brief nod of her own, a touch of sadness lingered on her. She missed the Professor.
"I'll be below if you need me," Glenna said and turned away. Her workman's boots clomped on the metal floor and echoed with each step she made down the stairwell to the engine room.
"Would you like to follow me to the chart room? I can show you what we have about the Remnants and you can fill me in on what you have in mind when we get to this planet of yours," Eliza stepped aside as she spoke to let Redding pass. Her words were part request with an edge of insistence as she was truly curious what someone wanted to do in the Remnants.
<Charm check Stillwater (4D+1) vs. Redding (4D). Results are: 23 vs. 17>
Redding's eyes may have had a touch of chill in them as far as Eliza could see, but after a puff from her cigarello, the lady snuffed the rest into a nearby brass tray and accepted the invitation. Walking up the stairs with Eliza close behind. The chart room already had their best maps of the Remnants set both on the center table as well as a second chart hanging behind the Captain's chair. Eliza had purchased the charts while she was at the Imperial Capital on Ilysium. Unfortunately for pilots on the Imperial side, most of the charts were pre-war charts. The area known as The Remnants was generally closed off to official cartographers since the end of the Free World Revolt.
"This here is Piltdown. It's an arid class world within a particular region of the Remnants known as the Badlands. Have you ever seen the badlands?"
<Has Eliza ever sailed the badlands region? 85% Yes. Result is: 43%>
"I have delivered supplies to the region. Planets with names such Alexandria, Memphis, and Timor. I've yet to have seen this Piltdown," Eliza took a seat in her chair and began to plot a course. It would take nearly a week to reach the outer markers of the Remnants. The hairs on her neck stood up as she recalled the hazards of the Remnants. Skysquids and pirate territory.
"My interest on Piltdown has to do with some ruins I have learned about while studying at Landfall University. Tell me, Captain, besides hard currency, how would you like to possess some buried treasure?"
"If it's legally obtained, I have no objections. If we're grave robbing..." Specifically, in her mind, if they were grave robbing people or creatures that could either hex them, hunt them, or sue them in an Imperial court.
"Well, there may be crypts involved, but I can assure you, the owners of these treasures have long past from the world..."
<Random Encounter check 2-in-6 with a result of: 1>
The ship's klaxons wailed and Tosk's voice cut in through the speaking tube. "We have contact with a ship! Captain to the bridge."
At the bridge, Eliza directed Julia to a nearby chair as she walked over to where Tosk stood, which was not at the helm, but by one of the periscopes. He relinquished the scope to her as he returned to his chair. She rose the scope to her level and asked over her shoulder, "What do we have?"
"Long range sonar spotted them, but now I've gotten a look," Tosk said as he fitted a gray headphone to hear ear. The phone was connected to the Oaken's wireless transceiver. A soft electric whine hummed in large floppy ear, picking up the constant dots and dashes of wireless code.
<Eliza's Search check 3D vs. TN: 12. Result is: 10>
She squinted and peered, seeing nothing but vague shapes lurking within the dark blue haze of Skyspace. The haze was caused by the breathable gas that emanated throughout the crystal sphere. At times, the gas was thin that one could see constant day unless they were in the shadow of a planet. At other times, the gas became thicker and created a world of zone of dim light or a raging storm where rain, hail, and the occasional gremlin lurked in. It was one of those times they operated in a level of shadow.
"I can't see anything, what do we show on sonar?" Eliza asked.
Tosk looked over and noted the two blips splashed across the black glass. Etched into a sheet above were several interconnected concentric circles that served as a rangefinder. The blips were on the distant rings.
"The blips are drawing closer. I have one short ping and one longer ping. The longer is slower moving," Tosk said.
"What does that mean?" Julia asked. From her seat she felt a little helpless. She knew her way around dockside bars and archaeological digs, she had only rarely sat in a skyship and in those times never had encountered a true emergency.
"It means one of the ships is smaller, probably a freighter class like ours," Tosk explained, "The other one is something larger."
"Keep to the haze. I want to provide as much cover as possible. Hopefully they aren't after us."
<Is the Oaken one of the targets? 75% Yes with a result of: 47%>
<The Capital Ship's Warning Shot of Command 5D vs. Tosk's Pilot skill of 6D+1. Results are: 36 vs. 23>
The fiery cannon shot streamed across the haze, burning away the excess gas like a fiery sword cutting through a veil. Eliza could clearly spot the dreadnought firing both at the lingering freighter as well as the oaken. Tosk looked up and said, his voice heavy with defeat.
"They want us and the other freighter to come about and wait for them. If not they'll continue firing at us." Tosk continued to stare after Eliza for sometime, waiting on her decision.
"Come about, Mr. Snaptongue," She said as her order and then turned to walk back down to the chart room.