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[AVD] Oasis of Opportunities

Posted on 19 Jun 2012 @ 12:16pm by Captain Caleb Virgil & Lieutenant Tin Sel Granth & Lieutenant Commander Brul Unger

Mission: Linearity
Location: A few miles from Lead-town, Barren Struts
Timeline: Day Eight, Early


"Good, I will send out an encrypted message immediately," Tin Sel grinned at C'leb, he had not seen a smile from his adopted brother since Mar Mon's death. It was good to see once again, "Hopefully we will get a warm welcome. For now, I need all hands on deck. But I need someone to keep an eye on Gro Zat. Paru Ner, will you tend to him for now?"

As everyone set off to their duties, the Captain took his first mate aside, "Thank you for that," he said, "Your support is just what I need right now. Things will be tough but I'm glad I have someone I can trust completely by my side."

He gave C'leb a firm but friendly pat on the back before heading off.


The freezing coldness of the Verosian night was passing quickly as the light of the Felk star was rising over the horizon. All of the machinery that pummelled ceaselessly to keep The Peacemaker afloat in the winds could be heard working all about, the only sound in the otherwise empty stretching and endless desert. A great yellow light was gripping the Barren Struts - so named for their distinct absence of any water (which, on Veros, meant no water underground - and lighting the way for the one man upon the flight deck.

First Mate C'leb of Granth rested his organic and artificial hands upon the 'Maker's controls, his remaining violet eye scanning the distance for their destination. For the past two days, he and the crew of the late Captain Mar Mon's airship had been expertly dodging and evading pursuit from both their fellow pirates and Soviun patrols, which had been no easy thing around the Hollow Mountains. Already branded outlaws by the planet's largest government, and now also exiles to the largest group of outlaws about, there was small chance of survival, let alone any form of success in the mission they had taken upon themselves.

Much of the crew still thought Captain Tin Sel's plan was a ridiculous one, that instead of seeking to strengthen the once-great-but-now-pitiful Free Radnos Movement, they should simply take revenge on those that wronged them, and perhaps then seek to make peace with pirate Overseer Smit. All C'leb truly cared about was getting one back against the Realm of Sovia for Mar Mon's death, but he was loyal, and happy to help his adopted brother do his father proud by honouring his life's work and wishes.

C'leb pulled his eyescope from within his leather jacket, and looked into the distance. With the sun rising, it was plain to see that they were almost there: a settlement little more than a shanty town, built from the remains of ships, technology and other devices left littered across the nearby wastes following the Soviun wars for dominance in recent decades (hence the name 'Lead-town'). It was where a smattering of exiles, outlaws and farmers resided, living off rationed supplies that were often gifted to them by the kindly, as they were beyond the official reach of any tribe, but not enough of a problem or a promise to truly take an interest in.

It was where the leader of the Radnos Tribe, Grand Minister Ni Vel Gin, was going to meet them.

Jumping down from the controls to the door of the captain's cabin (everyone still found it strange to think it was now Tin Sel's, rather than Mar Mon's), C'leb knocked heavily upon it. "Cap'n Tinsel," he barked, "almost at Lead-town. Gotta get the boys up!"

The Captain promptly burst out of the cabin, "Mornin' C'leb!" he beamed with a strange cheeriness, "Thanks for the notice, I'll rouse the men."

He shot to the helm and barked into the communication pipe running down into the Crew's quarters, "Up and at em' people. We're nearing our destination. Today we begin setting things right."

C'leb joined him at the helm - he was intrigued by Tin Sel's sudden high spirits.

"I'll take the helm now, thank you for looking after the ship last night. You can rest when we get into town. I don't think the Lead-town is renowned for it's entertainment sector but I give you leave to make use of whatever you can find."

The captain, now with a firm hold on the helm, began to steer the ship towards the makeshift docks at the edge of the settlement. The town was now clearly in sight - there were a few stone settlements here and there but it was clear that most settlers made do with tents and makeshift homes from the hulls of old ships.

His adopted brother did not move far away, and instead leant back casually, a rough 'n' ready grin on his face as he looked over Tin Sel. "What's got you all perky today, Tinsel?" C'leb asked with a slight tilt of the head. "You're also normally the one preaching against my habits in the... 'entertainment sector'." He leant forward, smile still present. "What gives, Cap?"

"I've just had some time to think last night, s'all" Tin Sel began with a more-reserved smile, "And I'm now thinking that we're on the right track now. My father always fought for what he believed in - he resisted the Soveys in Radnos City even though it got him cast out into the wilderness and he supported the resistance even though it got him killed by some scumbag. It's not about self-preservation, like Smit and so many other pirates, it's about doing the right thing. Besides, in this case, doing the right thing and getting back at the Soveys are one and the same. Don't you agree?"

Not too far from the Peacemaker, few kilometers back, Brul Unger, mercenary and assassin, observed his targets with ease. He had come to Veros with his own flying machine. The Deadly Kite was way more advanced from those air ships the Verosian had, being from Angosia design. But, it was only a transport shuttle, without weapons. Unger considered himself the weapon, not his flying machine. He preferred doing his job at close and personal.

The Bounty Hunter touched his console. It was early, but he didn't mind bothering that scum Lord-General with the news.

C'leb and the others had no awareness of any observations other than the exiles of workers and scavengers that were growling, mumbling and moaning about them as they went along with their business. The Xenexian found himself brushing the pommel of his rapier as they passed by a motley crew standing about some crates. They had all stopped talking at the sight of the 'Maker crewmates, and were now glaring; particularly at the alien within the group.

Each of the buildings was clearly fashioned from old downed airships, with some even made from even older pieces. One shoddily-built hovel (for there was no better description) had some markings along the side that were Kessal in origin. C'leb only knew that from an old piece he had salvaged (and pawned) himself some years back. Most were rusting, letters on signs were missing, people living in them were not friendly, and most machinery and instruments were stuck in place. A small windmill was turning upon the furthest border of the settlement, but Lead-town was exactly what everyone knew it to be:

A shit hole.

"This is the place he said he'd meet us," the first mate said, pointing at the largest building - actually an old Radnos gunboat from the Soviun war of expansion welded into some misshapen metal sheets. "Local government building," C'leb said with mirth, "watering hole and bawdyhouse." Captain Tin Sel was walking alongside his Xenexian brother with just a couple of other of the crew. The rest were guarding the Peacemaker from where it was docked (if that was truly how it could be termed).

"Well business is never far away from a drink in this place." Tin Sel remarked raising an eyebrow, "I'd say most of these folks need a couple of bottles of sand spirit down them before they can get up in the morning..."

The group carried on into the battered wreck where they were stopped by a gruff-looking Verosian. He wore a military jacket with the sleeves torn off, revealing his huge arms, brown veins bulging. "What do you want?" he grunted plainly.

Tin Sel drew himself up and replied, "I am Captain Tin Sel of the Peacemaker. My crew and I are here to see..."

Tin Sel paused as he tried to remember Gin's code name..."...uh...Gold Mule?"

C'leb's eyebrow shot up at the last word, and he seemed to suppress a chuckle, the meaning of which was entirely lost on all of the natives of mule-less Veros.

The guard gave Tin Sel a confused glare. He didn't appear too bright, "You mean Gold Mole?" he queried.

"Yes, that was it. He should be expecting us..."

Suddenly a figure appeared from behind the brute, "It's OK Hol Kar, they can come in," it was the Grand Minister. He walked up to Tin Sel and stood elegantly with his arms behind his back, "You had best hurry inside, you're attracting attention with your crew," he glanced at C'leb before ushering them all inside.

"...we can help the resistance. I know we can - that's what we've been fighting to do this whole time!" Tin Sel was eagerly arguing his case to the Resistance leader.

Gin frowned, "I'll admit, it is a rather spectacular tale and it leaves no doubt that you are a very capable crew but I am concerned that you have attracted too much attention. Mar Mon's assassination was a disturbing sign of just how close the Soviuns are to finding us. I'm still very concerned about meeting you here today. I'm taking a risk."

"I understand that sir," Tin Sel countered respectfully, "But you must realise that we have come too far now - we are willing to risk it. We want the Soviuns to know we're coming - to know that someone is fighting back."

A few murmurs of agreement spread through the crew.

"But what I have to lose is so much greater!" Gin cut through, "If the Soviuns get even a whiff of my involvement, they'll be down on the Radnos faster than an Ecula to temple! What will happen then? No supplies, no truce - they would even wipe us all out."

He paused - looking straight at Tin Sel for several moments, "If you do this... you must work alone. I cannot give you any support and any supplies must be dropped off at secure locations..."

The Captain smiled, "So you agree then?"

The High Minister pulled away a curtain revealing a gaping hole in the hull looking out onto the streets of Lead-Town. He stared out, "We cannot meet again. Not for a long time...but yes, you can help us...There's a regular Soviun supply ship that runs from Great Icess on the Kessel water plains to Yamas. The route runs along the Soviun border. We've been planning a hijacking but none of my crews are up to the task. Think you can manage it?"



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