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A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

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A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:52 am

It has been quite a long time since BG dissapeared. When it shall return is uncertain. For all those who were playing in Steam London, or for myself at least, this has been incredibly frusterating. The game ended at a rather exciting part and just when we were getting new players. As of now, I am rather bored.

It is this boredom I wish to tackle. We cannot actually continue the game until the forum has returned. But I recalled some players mentioning that they intended to write stories about their characters. Perhaps this can be a chance to tell some of those stories? Consider this an invitation to do some creative writing. My idea is that we can flesh out the characters and their backstories, while simultaneously keeping from getting overly bored.

I'm not sure how this would be organized...maybe whole short stories at once or in chapters. Please tell me if you think this is a good/bad idea. Hopefully there are still people from Steam London to tell me that, of course.....
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:09 pm

Actually I have been writing in my notebook about how Emma met George. I think I will start typing it up. It may take me a bit because this is the busy season at the costume shop but I will post when I can.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:11 pm

Well, however long it takes, let this be the thread to post it. I was thinking over what I hadput down in the BG Wiki on the Steel Breeze and am considering starting with a "origin story" of sorts, similar to what you have in mind.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:31 am

Just to keep this topic up, here is the first chapter of my tale.

A Quickening Wind - A Story of Origin


Chapter One

Elisha watched with distaste as the older boy began to unwrap the parcel he had delivered. Ned Canning was brushed back his red hair and, with almost comical intentness, began placing the foul-smelling herb from the package inside his pipe. Finally he finished, lighting the pipe with much ceremony, before passing the package on to the third youth sitting at the table, J.W. Nunn, whose eyes smiled behind his thick dark glasses.

“Care for some?” asked Ned, looking out across the room. The “Raven and Girl” had started its life as an orphanage. Yet, as they are wont to do, the children grew up. In this case, under the manipulations of Ned, they had taken over when the matron died. With its new name, the building served as a bar and hotel; above the long low room they were in, was the old dormitory.

Elisha waved his hand in front of his face. “I don’t see what you get out of that….” he said, searching for a word to describe it. “What on earth is it, anyways?”

“You tell me” replied Ned. “You got it from Nat for us.”

Elisha could not find a reply to that. He admired Ned’s daring and cunning, but found him to be impossible to reason with at times. J.W. laughed at his silence. Elisha took this as his cue to leave the table. “I have to go soon. My shift at the Navigation Centre starts soon.”

“Tell them you’re going to be late” said Ned, eyes dancing through a cloud of smoke.

“What on earth is it this time?” The impatience cut clearly through Elisha’s voice, but secretly he was excited. Whenever he was told he was to be late, it was always about airships.

“I haven’t the faintest clue. It’s an experimental. Decent sized. Gus saw it yesterday. Claims it has a big steel blade on the front.”

“You believe him?”

“Gus only lies with reason. He’s a priest now, you know.”

“So he says.”

This time, all of them laughed. Ned hoisted himself onto the table.

“Anyone interested in the latest, greatest designs from the Vancouver Air Engineering Society…please feel free to follow me on our latest tour of wonderment and fanstasticalness.” With a good impersonation of pomp, he hopped lightly off the table and strode out the door, head held high, and his loyal followers behind. Elisha knew he was jesting…but the way even the people out in the street gazed at him spoke of something more. Ned led his small parade out and down the sunny street.
Later, they sat perched high in the Vancouver Air Docks. Even the older, regular docks men could not help staring at the new ship. It had an aura of deadly majesty. It’s front blade glimmered with danger. Ned’s followers were entranced. “That’s the ship I want” said Ned, he legs swinging with excitement. He was seated on a girder like a nervous bird, his hair blowing erratically.

Elisha grunted. “And how exactly do you plan that to happen?”

“Hey now! Don’t be so negative-like. He’ll think of something.” J.W. grinned at Ned.

“I’m sure he will” said Elisha, a bit wistful now. The airship was really beautiful.

“And I’m sure I will” replied Ned, jumping off the girder and running towards the ship, weaving in between crates of cargo, unnoticed by the workers and unheeding of his friend’s cries of alarm.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:26 am

-Thanks for the sticky. I will finish this off eventually with a final chapter.

Chapter Two

The guests to the inauguration of the airship Steel Breeze looked at each other with mild discomfort. None of them could have been so rude to repulse their invitation to the monumental event – but it was quite clear their host was mad.

Samuel Cox, businessman, inventor, socialite and general eccentric was leaning over the railing with his arms outstretched, giggling manically like a child with a new toy. He pulled the goggles he was wearing awkwardly over his top hat and turned to his audience, smiling widely.

“This ship surely is the fastest in the world!...at least the bits that matter. Quite exhilarating to get a taste of the wind. Any of you care to try?” The guests shook their heads, eyes showing barely repressed terror. Many of them took the opportunity to sit down – and literally hold onto their chairs and hats.

“Now, for the grand pinnacle of our performance” said Cox, winking at the silent, bearded and emotionless pilot. “I took the free liberty of placing balloon bore targets around here. Or there. Soon to be here. Anyhows, good Mr. Prawnger here will take this ship, as smooth as a fork through butter, straight into the hearts of our immobile foes! Onwards! Forward! Advance!” The guests held onto each other tightly. Some let out barely audible squeaks. Now it was fear that kept the silence, not decorum.

After the targets had been rammed and obliterated and the guests had taken a short leave to vomit over the side, Samuel began his final speech. He tried to adopt the most serious manner possible. “Friends, Romans, countrymen please lend me your attentions! Firstly, I think we should all thank Mr. Prawnger, our pilot for the superb ride. It is an amazing ship, is it not, Mr. Prawnger?”

The pilot spoke with a surprisingly heavy Russian accent. “Yes! It is quite a fine ship. Which is why I believe I will be borrowing it!” The “pilot” produced a small gleaming pistol from his coveralls, pointing it menacingly at the crowd. Women shrieked and fainted. Samuel looked confused.

“Mr. Prawnger, I do not believe this was in the program….I say are you Russian? Which part are you from?” “Mr. Prawnger”, the Russian agent, responded by fired a shot through Samuel’s top hot.

“Great Monday! My hat! Oh, you blaggard! Prepared to defense yourself!” With these words, Samuel neatly flicked his cane outwards, relieving the Russian of his pistol. A few good smacks and a judo throw later and the screams of the agent could be heard as he hurtled towards the Pacific. Samuel watched his decent with forced detachment. The ship began to drift. A guest timidly tapped him on the shoulder. “Mr. Cox? I do believe some of the ladies have gone into hysterics…perhaps you should alight the airship? Perhaps now?” Samuel turned around with a thin smile.

“I really would like to help with all that…but I truly have no idea how to fly this thing! In fact, I remember I am very afraid of heights.” He excused himself to be sick, while the guests stared numbly, preparing for an undignified death. Suddenly, from the back of the crowd, a young, red-haired man stood up. Ned had remained unnoticed through most of the flight, hiding behind a rather obese gentleman. He raised his hand politely.

“Er, excuse me sir! I do believe I have some experience with the steerage and control of airships of this variety. Do you mind if I attempt a go at the helm?”


Last edited by The V.A.P. on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:54 am

-And here is the last bit to end the story. Over all it's rather short and simplistic, but is was mainly just to get this thread going and lay things out. Hope to see some other work up here soon!

Chapter Three

Elisha had seen the ship return. However, there had been a crowd of policemen forming almost immediately after landing. No-one could tell him what their purpose or motive was. He was certain Ned had been caught. Probably thrown to rot in jail. For a moment he felt angry. He was going to have to deal with this problem all by himself. Why couldn’t Ned see the position he had been thrust into? Almost immediately afterwards he felt guilty. Ned could be in serious trouble. It was with these thoughts he took with him as he walked in the front door of the “Raven and Girl”.

To his surprise, the tavern was a hive of activity. Long lines of young people were twirling around the floor. The tables were laid out with charts and gadgets of various uses. Elisha’s eyes caught Ned standing on a table in the middle of the room. He was reading a piece of paper intently. He looked up and saw Elisha. He nodded in his direction, beckoning him over.

“Ned? What on earth happened! I never caught you coming off the ship…what’s going on here?”

“That beautiful ship…HMAS Steel Breeze is officially mine. After the owner saw my pilot it back, he was all for it. The papers are signed, the details finished. The old guy who built it has even set us up for work.”

“Work…?

“As of today, I am Captain Ned Canning, a privateer in the name of the Queen.”

Elisha started. Ned’s flippant manner was beginning to irk him. He looked around. He guessed the people around were signing up on this mad endeavor. Some were little older than he was.

“Ned…what the hell is this! You’re only nineteen! We had a business here, income! You’re going to go out and kill yourself, torn apart by pirates twice your age! And now you’re dragging these kids into it as well…!”

“Elisha…these kids are no younger than you are.”

“That’s my point! You think you can go off and mess around in whatever dangero…”

“I know you’re only fifteen. But you’re tough. I’ve seen you beat brutes twice your size in fights. These fine youth aren’t that tough, but they’ll do. I doubt we’ll do anything really dangerous ‘til we practice a little…I think we’ll know what we can handle.”

Elisha’s face fell. Like so many times around Ned, he felt the situation slipping out of control. He regained his composure and renewed his argument.

“Ned, look, this is irresponsible. I’ve worked with you on this place for…”

“I know it’s irresponsible. I fancy I’m rather irresponsible as well. That’s why I want you as my First Mate.”

“Wha..?”

“You’re good with responsible stuff. Talking to people calmly and thinking straight.” Ned smiled. “I do respect your opinion. But, look around. Most of these people are as old as younger air pirate members. Most of them are from here. I want to help them. Privateering is great cash. The “Raven and Girl” kept these kids off the street. The Steel Breeze will give them a future. They’ll become wealthier. With wealth comes respect. This is a chance of a lifetime. I’d appreciate your help on this. Please.”

Elisha paused. His tide of his thoughts slowly shifted and his anger faded away. He hated when Ned was thoughtful about something. But he at least recongnized those times.

“…Alright. I guess I’ve become rather used to you over the years. No point letting you get yourself blown up.”

They shook hands before beginning to reorganize the crew and officers.

They shook hands again the next morning, congratulating each other on their first successful take-off with their ship. The sun was rising, the air cold and crisp and the crew youthful and energetic. The bow of the Steel Breeze gleamed as it turned slowly, picking up speed as it left the city behind.


Last edited by The V.A.P. on Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:31 am

I realy liked that. I think you should come up with full stories for the events the crew Angelus mentioned. I have some rare time off in October so I am typeing up the first bit of Emma and George's story.

As I have said before I want to wright a book about them so this will be very long but I will brake it up in to little parts.


They washed on the dock like a flood, some awed with their new surroundings, some walking purposeful and aloof and others small and nervous beside the large ship that carried them across the ocean to the even bigger city. Emmaline Lightion was in the center with a hopeful dazzled expression buffered here and there by the flow of bodies. Emma darted among them used to being overlooked and occasionally trod apon being the youngest of seven children in house that could barely contain them.

Finally the crowd dispersed letting her get a better look at the towering beast that was London. It seemed to buzz with color and sound like a beehive but Emmaline had to wonder if part of her impression had to do with the fact that she had spent the last week in the dim and cramped reaches of steerage. The air was thick with the smell of city life that was both familiar and totaly alien to Emma. She had thought herself to be a sophisticated and metropolitan young lady but she gawked at the ships and and teaming throngs that swirled over the docks like a bumpkin fresh from the farm.

She leaned on a piling and looked out over the water. Somewhere across that vast expanse was her home. Emma turned her back to the view, she had come too far to go back now and besides that would mean setting foot on another boat and if she had any say in the matter that would never happen again. She loved her brother Walter but why he had ever taken a engineering position on one of those dim creaking tubs was beyond her. It was good to be back where the earth was a steady constant under her feet. Emma unfolded a piece of paper from her pocket it was a simple letter but it had lit a fire within that spurred her to leave Boston.

"Em my sweet,
London is just as glittering and wonderful as Amos described it. Barclay says that I should be having my big debut within the week. Soon my name will be up in lights, A new star will rise over England. Wright me if you happen to soar my way and I will show you all the dazzling sights of the city. Give the old birds at the cavalcade my love and tell them I am doing fine.
Your darling Cathrine."

They had both been enthralled by Amos' tales of a youth full of dance halls and glamorous young actresses. Cathrine had been older and with no family strings to bind her, made the voyage first but now with what Emma deemed as proof that the tale was true, their could be no holding her in Boston. She had done odd jobs while keeping her marks up at school for almost a year to save for the trip and now that she was here she was staring to feel a bit nervous about what would happen next.

Emma had sent Cathrine a letter that she was coming but she hadn't gotten a response back before she left. She hated to just drop in on her like this but Walter was only in Boston for a few days and she refused to wait another six months for him to come again. Emma walked on buying a paper from a scruffy looking boy who bit her coin and gave her a wink. Some things were the same the world over. Emma tucked the paper under her arm and asked the boy if he would help her find the address Cathrine's letter had come from for another coin. He drove a hard bargan but soon they were off.


Last edited by Miss Gaslight on Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:31 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos galore)
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:58 am

The first adress they made it to said she had moved out weeks ago and gave another where she could possibly be found. So Emma spent the next three hours struggling to keep up with the newsboy in and drag her luggage in the madding London trafic. They bounced from boarding house to boarding house seeming to draw no closer to her missing friend. Emma was getting worried that something horrible had happened to Cathrine. The last place had sent them to an address that made the news boy whistle and comment on how posh it was.

The Morningside inn was the most fancy place Emma had seen a blinding white among the soot streaked gray of the prior addresses. Her shoulders slumped with exhaustion but she tried to neaten herself up. Cathy must be doing well. Emma thought with a smile. The boy followed her in taking her luggage it seemed to be more of a game than a paying job now. He wanted to see if Cathrine was here as much as she did. Emma walked up to the front desk very aware of how shabby she looked compared to her soundings. She smiled at the tall impeccably dressed man behind the desk who looked down his nose at her making her feel very small indeed. "I would like to speak to Miss Cathrine Lenard please." He regarded her with stony silence and Emma quite frankly thought he was going to laugh in her face but insted he flipped a switch on a large interesting looking bord behind the counter. A bell sounded somewhere deep within the bulding.

Emma wated tensely wondering if he was calling for someone to throw her out. A raven haired young woman came to the desk dressed in a maids uniform. She looked Emma over and emma looked her over then they both nearly jumped in surprise. "Em, what on earth are you doing here?"

Emma frowned "You invited me in your letter remember?"

Cathrine looked disparagingly at her. "Well yes but I didn't think you would be fool enough to to take me up on it. Did you run away from home?"

"Oh for heavens sake Cathy you know I would never do such a thing." Emma sighed, she was seventeen and a half and everyone still treated her like a child.

The man behind the desk chuckled at them an Cathrine rolled her eyes. "Come on lets get you settled for now." She led Emma through an inconspicuous door and down in to a room full of steam and the smell of soap. "Your mad for coming all this way for a visit you know. Do your parents know where you are?"

Emma grabbed her bags and thanked the boy who had taken care of them. "Yes I came over with Walter and all the others saw us off at the docks. Father even took a half day off to say goodbye." She was a bit annoyed her friend would even think she would slip away and leave her family worried.

"Really? Isn't that a bit much for a visit tho." Cathrine said waving in greeting to the two girls running the steam press.

"It isn't a visit Cathrine. I came to become an actress and I am not leaving until I do just that." She was completely resolute.

"Emma this isn't like trying out for the cavalcade. I tried for months to get a job beyond a bit part in the chorus. I gave all my savings and more to Mr. Barclay only to have him run off in the night and leave me with nothing but broken promises." She stared at the floor in shame. He had taken so much and she had just let him.

"I am going in to this with both eyes open I promise. It will be hard work but you know that has never stopped me. Do you remember the first time I asked to go on stage and you jokingly told me I could if I polished all the brass rails in the theater?"

Cathrine smiled with nostalgia. "You vanished off with the tin of polish and the rag and we found you sleeping in the balcony hours later. I don't think the rails have ever shined as bright since then. You are the most mule headed girl I have ever met. I won't try and dissuade you, I would only be wasting my breath."

Emma grinned "Does that mean you will help me?"

"Tomorrow is my half day off. You can stay with me tonight then we can see about finding you a job and your own place in the morning." Emma through her arms around Cathrine nearly leaping for joy "London is a harsh place Em, it will eat you alive if it can. I don't want you to repeat my mistakes. I know you aren't one for taking advice but go back to your famliy. What you get here isn't worth what you give."

"Don't worry about me Cathrine. I can make it here, I just know it." Emma knew that her hard work would surely be rewarded in the end. Cathrine shook her head sure that Emma would see the truth in time. She left Emma in the care of the bubbly gossipy girls that ran the laundery room and went back to work.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Nigel Wetherby on Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:53 am

I've just found my way back to the forum, and I'm still rather unclear as to what we're doing steam-london wise.

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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:41 am

Well we are just sort of writing some back stories to keep us fairly amused, until BG returns. Good to see you again.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:24 am

I am glad you found your way here I really missed you. Hopefully we will be back on bg soon.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Nigel Wetherby on Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:47 pm

I doubt Patrick Had much of a background. Other than being raised in the fairly boring catholic oprhanage There isnt much else.
There is his service for a year on the Hitotsume and his meeting with Gejiro Kei, but I'm not sure what I could do with that.
Pat's service on the black might be something, But seeing as how Emma is Miss gaslight's charachter, I might need her help with the story, and it might come out a bit more like an RP than anything.

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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:12 am

I would love that. You have already helped shape Captain Black and I would like to see what kind of crew you would come up with. I try to always be a good wall to bounce ideas off of.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Dandeliondream on Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:43 am

Is steam london a roleplay game?
if so can play?
I am just starting to make up a backround for my Character so I would love to get into a RPG.

Cheers,
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:05 am

Yes it is and a good one. (I am very biased.) If you post waht you were thinking of Character wise we could think of how to fit you in the story line. An overview is here. http://editthis.info/brass_goggles/Steam_London
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Dandeliondream on Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:17 pm

Ok,great I will have to get my notes in order,and post them up. Smile
what time frame is it set if any but I tend to go for late 1800-1914ish in my style.
Thank you,
Cheers
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:57 pm

I'm glad you found the plotline decipherable Very Happy
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Sir Charles Of Tayle on Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:21 pm

Hmm...I could start writing about back when Charles was an assasin....before he was recruted into the secret sevice...interesting idea...

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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:31 am

Well, I'm bored already. Again. Rolling Eyes
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Miss Gaslight on Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:04 pm

As am I. Why does this keep happening when things are getting good?

This is what I was thinking would happen when we got to the temple. The bright ones knowing that they were running out of time sealed the codex and a partially finished weapon inside(There could be other components of it scattered around the world too). The cold ones couldn't touch it so they set up all sorts of traps so no one else could either.
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Nigel Wetherby on Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:30 pm

I rather like that idea. Here's a question: What happens after the cold ones are defeated?

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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  The V.A.P. on Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:13 am

Well, defeated where? After South America? We still have the British Secret Service to cleanse. And the entire nation of Russia is controlled by them. (We'll need some more players to fight all of Russia Wink ). Beyond that...
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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  Nigel Wetherby on Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:10 pm

Not bad not bad. Any suggestions for a little progression for cain? I feel our mechanical friend needs a bit more to add to his wiki entry.

Nigel Wetherby

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Re: A suggestion for all Steam London players who are getting bored.

Post  mwbaailey on Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:44 am



Between the Threads(WIP)


This is an effort of mine to create some kind of bridge between the old Steam London thread and the Newer Steam London: Realms of Aether thread, by telling the stories of some of the Adventures of Dreyfuss, The crew of his newly-re-acquired hybrid airship the St. Elmo, and Dreyfuss' Ward and Cousin, Irene Frost, between the defeat of the Cold One Queen and the Rescue of George Lewistine.

The first story, and originally the only one that was in this Topic for quite a long time, concerns the first mission of Dreyfuss, Jock Lough-Malley, the Elmo's Fireman (and only rank-and-file crewman for this first mission) and the St. Elmo, with Her Britannic Majesty's Secret Service. in that story, they rescue the son of a peer of the Empire from former-mercenary pirates, regain a lost article, and learn the value of a watchdog...

The second story, (as yet unstarted) Will concern the Second Mission of the St. Elmo, In which Dreyfuss, Irene, and Cleopatra are required to confront and destroy a supernatural menace on the Dartmoor Heath, which is even more frightening and dangerous than the reader is most likely already imagining, given previous literary works by other (and much more accomplished, not to mention finer) authors.

So without further ado, here are the first five chapters:

Between the Threads
-or-
what came after the Cold One Queen
And Before
The Search for George

-------------------------------------------------------------
Book 1
Shanghai Knife





Chapter1: Endings and Beginnings
Dreyfuss stood in the steering room of the St. Elmo, looking out at the Chinese countryside that he had not thought to be returning to so soon. Steering a straight (or straight as possible, anyway) course toward Shanghai, still at least two hours away, he thought back to the events leading up to this "mission,' as he supposed it would be called.

It had been a beautiful spectacle, that knighting ceremony. Exciting, even Exhilarating, to be called forward to receive a title and a medal or medallion commemorating the event. it had been beautiful, but then they had to go back to their various places where they were going to live, or at least rest up for the trip home, wherever home might be.

As they were escorted to their carriages for the ride back to Tinker's Row, Madame Arachne's for some, the Boheme for others, The St. Elmo for himself, Dreyfuss, and cousin Irene, and Abe and Rosie, who were to stay over for a few days and nights until Abe could get a good, comfortable passage back to America, Dreyfuss was handed a folded missive from a Whitehall address by a man who identified himself as Richard Tayle, saying he was a representative of "Her Majesty's Government," and then just as abruptly, disappearing into the crowd. Dreyfuss pocketed the letter, thinking no more about the matter.

That night, after Jaisen had regaled his guests and Irene with a few tunes on a new banjo, (the instrument having been popularized and sold in England under the auspices of a Mr. Sweeney, who was also considered a virtuoso on the instrument, they having become quite the rage among the performing public and their audiences) they had all finally gone to bed in their various staterooms.

After Abe fell fast asleep, exhausted as was every other human in the company of the Boheme, Rosie, his pet albino emerald asp, slithered away from his bed and stateroom, into the bowels of the boat portion of the airship, and laid a clutch of eggs right under the clinker-box of the boiler furnace, which Dreyfuss and his scant few crewmembers were destined, she felt, to always keep lit and pressured up, just in case. Which made the hold under the clinker box an excellent place for a clutch of eggs. By the Mother, she would see the old Hunter-man protected, if she had to birth an entire new generation of her kind to live on board. There were many kinds of Queens in the world, and one had chosen to keep Dreyfuss and his people safe...

Later, at the Queen's ball held in honor of the crew of the Boheme, after all of the political and societal niceties had been observed, Dreyfuss went out on the terrace all by himself, using the ancient excuse of wanting a smoke. He did light the cheroot, a wiry thing that smelled actually better than any he'd tried before, but did not puff it more than once; he did not actually smoke. He came out here not to puff on a smog-stick, but to think a bit, and that was what he did, turning over various thoughts.

When he had left with the Boheme so many months ago, he had been about at the last knot of his rope before the rather greasy several at the end; he really had not completely expected to come home alive.He realized, then, that he missed the frenetic, near-suicidal pace of life-and-battle that pervaded that kind if an existence. Thank God he accepted that Liaison job, and the reinstatement with the Republic's military, he thought. More than enough intrigue and cloak-and- slightly-bloody-dagger-ness to last a whole lifetime, or perhaps more. He took out the letter that the Tayle gentleman had handed to him at the curb and read it for the first time, in the light coming from a window to his left.



To Commodore Sir Jaisen Santiago Dreyfuss, Esq.

March the 7th, in the Year of Our Lord 1889

Dear Sir,
In light of the acceptance of your Reinstatement with the Government and Military of the Republic of Texas, and in recognition of the bonds of friendship, goodwill,and mutual aid borne between our two countries, as well as your acceptance of the position of Liaison with Her Britannic Majesty's Secret Service in matters Political, Unrestful, and Potentially Untoward in the Occult and/or Spiritual sense, I bid you welcome.

It is our fervent hope that this missive finds you in good health in both mind and body, and we likewise extend our hopes for the best of the aforementioned health in future; unfortunately for our mutual comfort, it has come to our attention that a certain peer of the realm has suffered the kidnapping of their eldest son and heir, apparently by three of your former colleagues within the now-defunct organization formerly known as the Bayou Marauders' Mercenary Company, who have now taken up the flag and penalties of Piracy. Former Admiral Murillo Dwight Tzeda has emerged as the leader of this Triumvirate of Evil.

For further Information and Instructions on how best to approach this crisis, Please stop by my office in Whitehall tomorrow morning at eight of the clock. Until then, anything you do in service of queen and country in regards to the receipt and discreet guard of this document shall be deemed acceptable, even to the point and beyond of committing breaches of the peace and pursuing unto death the miscreants responsible for spying upon your occasion to read these contents.

It is advisable that The extraordinarily deathless Miss Frost accompany you on this venture...

He folded the letter and put it in his inside greatcoat pocket, as he sensed a presence, very close, paying almost unwavering attention toward him. he glanced up and found himself face-to-face with a simian countenance, which suddenly sprang away with shocking speed and a strange cry into the shrubbery, and into the night, to escape and choose its moment. Strange, Dreyfuss thought, replacing the Webley in its shoulder holster, prior to leaping the railing and pursuing the simian miscreant, I could have sworn that was Admiral Tzedas' pet Orang...

The memory made him smile; there were so few ways to trace his old comrades-in-arms, and their pets was one that had never yet failed to bring forth fruit. A pet that required plant matter and did not hunt, such as an Orang, was relatively easy to trace by what it consumed, and thus forced its master to procure for the sake of its happiness and its survival. In Tzeda's case, Dreyfuss had only to trace purchases and shipments of a certain variety of Papaya grown only in Borneo and only in minuscule amounts. It seemed that inordinately large amounts of the fruit had been going to Shanghai, China, and that delivery crews were often surprised by a strange animal with dark orange fur and long, knuckle-dragging arms; in other words, an Orang, or Orangutan monkey.


Chapter 2: Heavy Traffic
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When the Boheme had come this way less than a month earlier, there had been very little air traffic in the area surrounding Shanghai; Now, however, more than thirty minutes outside of Metropolitan Shanghai, it was as if flocks of zeppelin-shaped birds, multiple-gasbag Russian Type airships, Underslung-boat airships, flying ironclads...name any of the myriad types of airship invented and used for trade in the world since the mid-1700s, and you'd find it in the swirling morass of air traffic surrounding the Chinese trade hub That Shanghai had come to be in such a short time.

There did not seem to be, this far out, any kind of speed regulations in effect. Tiny, slow-moving private craft mingled with giant, fast-moving cargo and military zeppelins, lots of ornithopters, and also fixed-overhead-rotor ships, some as big as the Boheme had been; and even three or four motorized hot-air balloons, barely making any headway at all against the winds and weather, and lo and behold, an expatriated Hell Galleon! --All travelled the same Headings, governed by the compass point headings drawn from the other major cities and/or destinations within the area stretching From the Hindu Kush in the South, to the far-eastern Siberian wilderness to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the East, and The Russian Steppes to the West, thus causing great, congested lines of traffic, which existed despite the fact that there was no actual ground-level network of roads for the airships to follow. Ground-level roads did exist, of course, and in many instances they were crowded by the standards of the region, but nowhere near as much as the lanes in the sky overhead

Finding these lanes of traffic was relatively simple for anyone with a little Navigational know-how; one simply dead-reckoned ones way in to one of the main compass-heading lines of traffic, aligned along one of the many conventionally agreed-upon "Great Circles" of longitude, latitude, or Spherical Triangulation, and simply followed either the other ships, or their own nose, into the even-more-chaotic mass of traffic just outside the walls of the ancient city, or in fact, any other city on the globe; it was simply a case of the lowest common denominator becoming the norm; everyone knew the Standard Compass Heading/ Great Circle System, so everyone used it, and everyone who travelled was expected to know it and use it.

Or, as in Dreyfuss' case, One simply kept ones ship between two of the major lines of traffic, in roughly the middle, and if ones ship had a very good and powerful power-to-lift-to-mass-inertia ratio, (and the St. Elmo did, in the extreme) one could roar along as fast or as slow as one wanted-- that is, provided that no one else got in the way. Unfortunately, within sight of the city's walls, Dreyfuss encountered what could have been taken for a confused melee' of gigantic proportions, but was in fact the interchange of airships arriving, leaving, and making passenger sightseeing excursions for the tourists (the tourism business having burgeoned already in the months since the destruction of the Cold Ones' nest in - or rather, under - Shanghai). Steam whistles, air horns, gongs, bells, all were used as ship seemed to jostle ship for position within the concentric lines of traffic that spiraled into and out of the city (now that they were in the traffic formation itself, the traffic patterns settled into exactly that; spiral and concentric lanes of traffic, moving in a fashion that seemed chaotic when viewed form the side or above, but actually synchronized by the necessity of mutual movement and (at least) the avoidance of collision into a massive, mechanized waltz.

The rest of the St. Elmo's arrival into Shanghai was relatively without incident, although once or twice a a zeppelin or a souped-up underslung would cut in front of them. But then they stopped to call at the headquarters of the Aether League in downtown Shanghai, and they (or Dreyfuss, at least) were there confronted by the aftermath of their own actions; or at least, Dreyfuss was himself confronted with that harsh reality of that aftermath. When the crew of the Boheme had left Shanghai on the leg of the journey that he was a much more active part of, Dreyfuss had already been at least partially responsible for the destruction of the Aether League Airdocks and departure/arrival lanes alongside the Aether League headquarters, not to mention the underground Hangar beneath those features, and much of teh Headquarters building...

Well, suffice to say that it was even now being restored, and the downward wash of The ducted fans of the St. Elmo's propulsion system drove choking clouds of dust and ash across the site, until he was able to find the signage and to decipher it, thus finding the short-term Airship storage area, and land the St. Elmo there, so that they could go and see the officials in the newly-built/restored Aether League towers and get their passports validated and their papers and letters of marque processed so that they could begin the job of finding Tzeda and his crew of flying thugs, and rescuing the peer's boy from their clutches.



Chapter 3: Regarded From Afar
As the St. Elmo settled into its temporary parking position at the Interim Headquarters of the Shanghai Aether League, the tube of a telescope protruded from the window of an eight-story hotel about eight blocks away, one of the many structures built after the depredations of the Blood Mage Brian O'Landry. many such buildings had been erected in the devastated areas, to re-attract tourism, and the gamble had worked out; many tourists had begun queuing up even before the Boheme got back to London; people wanted to see and tour the places where the battles occurred -- or, truth be told, just battles in general, Mankind's lust for vicarious thrills once again making itself evident.

The city was so popular as a travel destination, in fact, that that fact made it an Ideal place for transient criminals to congregate, perform their depredations , and then move on. That fact, in turn, made the city a perfect place in which to conceal the hideout of a group of kidnappers, and keep any authorities from catching or even keep an eye on them. It was therefore necessary to employ thief-catchers, an ancient and oft-maligned profession, but one which ultimately proved profitable for those who proved to be talented at it.

And now the lookout for the kidnapping group looked across the burnt city lots to where the St. Elmo had landed, and watched as two figures begin to descend the ladder on the side of the odd little boat portion of the zeppelin. "Aha!" cried Mortono Torquada, Former Admiral Tzeda's first officer on board the David Crockett, an underslung flying Ironclad of the first-rate variety, and the vessel which stood guard in the only underground hanger not destroyed by the fire which exploded into being the night the Boheme's crew attacked the cold ones secreted below the League buildings. The Peer's son was now being held captive in that same hangar, on a pallet in the far corner, in room off tyo the side with a metal cage hastily erected within for the purpose...Or so he had been the last time that Torquada saw him. Captain Torquada, a true "bravo," was built heavily but strongly,his muscular frame swathed in the Combat Dress uniform of a Flag -level first-officer of the now-defunct Bayou Marauder Mercenary Company. His thick black hair was slicked down on his head, forming a helmet that his ears poked out of as if by virtue of an afterthought by the armourer. "Admiral," The heavily-moustachioed man called back into the depths of the hotel suite, "they have arrived."

"Good," the man so addressed said as he entered the room in which the telescope was mounted on its tripod, "very good, and soon we will have the Saint Elmo all to ourselves, and we will be the most-feared piratical force in all of the world. No one, not even Imperial air navies, will be able to stand against us," the man said, somewhat unrealistically, as he bent slightly to look across at the airship and the man and young woman who had descended from it. "Jaisen Santiago Dreyfuss," The admiral tasted the name on his tongue, "Commodore SIR Jaisen Santiago Dreyfuss," he said, derisively. "Some sort of charmed fate seems to protect you now, Dreyfuss," the Admiral said to the image across the reconstruction site. "You survived the Boheme Affair, despite several attempts by various powerful people to dispose of you personally; Madre! Even the assassin sent to destroy your troupe from within, you managed to catch and hold at gunpoint, and then subvert to your will. And now, here she is, with you, coming after us! Too bad you must die, mi Amigo, for your secret way with dangerous people I would gladly learn."

The admiral watched the pair across the way begin to ascend the hillside stairway leading to the Interim Aether League Headquarters.

"What are you, Jaisen? Well, no matter, by tomorrow evening you will be no more, and your ship will be mine after all. NO ONE buys out Francisco Tzeda!!" Not many knew it, but the primary shareholder of the consortium that owned the debt levied upon Dreyfuss' airship while it languished in drydock was none other than Tzeda himself.

"Captain Torquada, is our assassin prepared?"
Aye, Admiral, sir.
"Then let us deploy him."
"Her, Admiral sir. It is a woman."
"Ah? The admiral said, surprised, "I do not remember being informed of this before now," his voice coiling dangerously.
"The man we had employed is dead in a tavern brawl, Admiral."
"Ah. well, good show in having a new one in place so soon, captain. My compliments."
"Thankyou sir."
"What is our 'gentle' flower's name, Captain?"
Torquada hesitated, then said the name. It did not explode in his face as he expected it to, but it was still an uncomfortable moment. "Harper-Chen, Admiral. Merovingia Harper-Chen."
"I have heard that name before, Captain. Who is she? one of ours, originally?"

"She is one of his, Admiral," Torquada said, silkily,"a former fellow junior officer, disgraced from the service. Nicely ironic, is it not?"
"Then let us hope she does not disgrace herself again! I have no use for irony when so much is at stake!" Tzeda turned back to The telescope, bumping it accidentally, and then realigning it on the target image... and received a shock when he looked at the hillside again --
Mis Irene Frost, Dreyfuss' rather deadly, notoriously-cold-blooded, and (reputedly)immortal Ward, was staring across the intervening distance, her veil apparently no hindrance whatever, straight at him!

Dreyfuss paused in his ascent of the hillside stairway, sensing...something...someone watching. Irene paused as well, seemingly lost in thought, and looked across the barren reconstruction site at a tallish hotel building, done in a rather tasteless Western imitation of a Chinese pagoda. Suddenly, there was a flash from an upper window, akin to the reflection from a telescope's objective lens.

"Sense something, Irene?"
"That hotel, over there," she pointed. "Someone is watching us. Uppermost windows, third from the left." she said, dispassionately. Dreyfuss got out his spyglass surreptitiously; then, after determining where to point it, whipped it around and into focus on the window thus indicated.

Across the way, Tzeda recoiled. "MADRE DE DIOS!" Dreyfuss' tracking skills were legendary amongst the Marauders, but this was just too uncanny!

"Aha. That's Tzeda, all right." Dreyfuss grinned suddenly and predatorially, then he slid the spyglass closed, pocketed it, settled the boat gun more comfortably across his shoulders and its strap a ross his chest, continued up the hillside. Irene followed, cursing under her breath. "Why not just go ahead and get him, Dreyfuss? Then we can go home and leave this dungheap," she said, gratingly.

"Because we don't have diplomatic grounds yet, Irene, he said, patiently. "We have to have our letters of marque approved before we can set out against our prey."

Dreyfuss pulled his Marauders' Officer's coat back together from where the wind had blown it open, revealing his saber, and the Paterson holstered on the opposite hip. He still preferred the black Marauder uniform trousers tucked into the standard Marauder buckle-boots with folded-down sides. In that, along with his wide-brimmed palm hat and the high collar on the coat, he was an odd mix of styles, an almost-romantic figure viewed against the opulent dereliction around him; in truth, he looked like what he was now in the business of rooting out and disposing of --
An air pirate...


Chapter 4: An Incomplete Binding
Timothy Lay in his cell in the basement hangar beneath the old Aether League Headquarters, which were now being used as the Interim Headquarters, The new headquarters being rebuilt by the new government of the city, which was, by all accounts friendly to Britain and her allies. All of that would have been lost on young Timothy, however, since the now-countriless Marauder Triumvirate of Admirals held him captive and hostage, not for politics or coin of the realm, but for a ship that few people had even heard of, captained by a man that almost everyone had heard of: Commodore Jaisen Santiago Dreyfuss.

The Boheme Affair, and the subsequent liaison with the Her Majesty's Service, made Dreyfruss' name a household word again, but for different reasons than the last time. The first time was because of the alleged disgrace of having survived his own ship's (The Mad Anthony Wayne, a Marauder monitor flying ironclad) demise., at the hands of a privateer zeppelin hired by a government that was mostly pirates itself. At least, that was what Timothy had surmised from reading a smattering of articles from that time, an assignment given to him by his tutor, supposedly to teach him to research things before quoting them.

Now, it seemed, Dreyfuss was famous yet again, as the man who was a commodore , yet captained a vessel and manned it all by himself, with only the help of a fireman to handle the engines, and his ward, Irene Frost, to handle the unfortunate not-so-niceties of hunting miscreants. Or so the article he'd read said was the case.

He cut again at the horsehair ropes binding his wrists, the knife held between his knees. Funny thing, he'd found the knife half-buried in the dirt in this cell about an hour after they left him in it. It had created a lump under his bedroll, the lump had worked its way into his spine, and he had dug down to the first solid object he found, and lo and behold, an old, rather huge-bladed knife, of the Texian "belly-ripper" variety, covered with rust and what looked like old blood, turned up at the bottom of the hole. It was rusted but still sharp, suggesting that it had not lain there for more than a few months, if that.

Timothy kept sawing away at the rope; he was nearly through when he heard voices coming form the other, unroofed, hangar, and quickly took the knife out from between his knees and with his bound hands still together, stuffed the knife under his bedding...
The door to the cellar (for such he believed it to be)swung open with a creak, and in walked Tzeda, Torquada, and two or three bravos from Tzeda's aerial battlecruiser.

"Ahhh, here is our little meal-ticket! " Still bound, are we? My, you Ingles are a lazy bunch! well, no mater, by tomorrow at this time, you will have lured Dreyfuss and his supposedly-immortal niece to their deaths! you, Trachmeier (he gestured to the burly b'o's'un), leave his food and, look at this my young friend, you get beer tonight! a little treat so you can be suitably well-maintained tomorrow. and now, good night, young lordling!"

Tzeda's laughter faded away down the hallway as the minions closed the cellar door and the lock creaked shut from the outside.





Chapter5: A Shock to the enemy
Dreyfuss didn't pilot the St. Elmo all by himself; True enough, there was only old Jock, the fireman for operational duty-sharing, but Dreyfuss, Jock, and Irene together managed quite well enough. The ship could be run quite effectively by one man from the bridge; the systems were not precisely automated, but their controls were all patched into the bridge, and with the addition of the new Primary Dynamo to the Whistle and Calliope Boiler, it was now possible to electrically monitor and control things that would have had poor Jock running madly around the engineering deck adjusting this, cranking this wheel, pulling this lever, pushing that one, coaling up the furnaces, and he and Irene (or Dreyfuss, they all did everything about equally, at least on this trip) loading the rocket tubes manually, replenishing the cylinders of the repeating cannons and the hoppers of the coilguns, et cetera.

There was no longer any need to stoke the furnaces; they had been converted to a single furnace, fired by liquid fuel, although it could be converted back to coal if need be, simply by somewhat laboriously removing the burner from the firebox, and setting the flue and intake shutters so that they were open enough to allow good draft for the coal fire. most of the dials and other indicators were now easily monitored by reading the gauge array at the new Engineering Duty Station, where also was located the gearing controls that ran the gigantic centrifugal ducted fans that propelled the ship. Geared such that low numbers of revolutions could be used to keep up a decent amount of thrust, they, rather than the quadruple-expansion engines that Dreyfuss had originally installed before his departure to the Eastern Seaboard (and eventually to London), effectively "souped-up" the hybrid, pocket war-zepplin such that even if the gas bag were holed and thus deflated, the St Elmo could stay in the air and still be a threat to whatever enemy they faced, simply by blasting about on the fan-thrust.

Dreyfuss had tested the thrust capability of the fans alone by taking the ship out over the Medway, opening up the expansions all the way, and vacuuming the gasbag as if for an emergency descent.
The ship had stayed at 500 feet, the down-wash burrowing first pits, then furrows, in the water's surface, as Dreyfuss powered the craft out over the Bay, and around the Isle of Sheppey, abd then back home again to Tinker's Row Airdock. There had been complaints aplenty from residents and businesspeople, and Madame Arachne herself came into the Dock, loudly demanding to see "That Tom-Fool of a Dreyfuss" and managing against all expectation to climb the ledge-ladder, slide open the ship's door in the stern-castle of the boat portion of the ship, storm from the stern cabins , across the maindeck, open on both sides beneath the envelope, and into the fore-castle, and up to the bridge, where she stormed in and gave Dreyfuss a sound helping of what-for over the dust and ash flying in through the open windows of the Bordello. Irene, dressed in her customary skirts, veil, and workaday fineries, including the Colt and the saber, had come up behind the spider-legged Madame, and drawn her revolver.

"Uncle Jaisen, let me shoot this loudmouthed virago!" She kept advancing until Arachne had to back up against the Portside wall of the bridge, or risk her brass spider's legs being trampled by Miss Fury-in-Skirts. Irene held the gun a few inches from the other woman's face, not wavering or trembling in the slightest.

Madame Arachne spoke up and stomped all over Dreyfuss' sharp attempt to prevent any further scene between the two, and said, "Well, now, Mister Dreyfuss, looks like you've picked up a lovely little pretty of a trollop, and with a gun, no less! My word, dear, with an act like yours you could tun quite a profit in my bordello! What do you say? --"

She ended up flat against the wall with Irene's gun stuck into her mouth and her head against the wall.

"What do I say? I say, 'shut up or die with your brains splashed across the wall, Virago,' and you'd better keep your smart-arsed comments to yourself when I'm around!"

"Um... Madame Arachne," he said hurriedly, using the French pronunciation of "Madame" ( Had heard her story, and like most of his generation of native Texians believed in the use of titles when addressing people), "meet my niece, and my ward and heir, Lady Irene Frost, Dame of the Empire, and a companion of the Boheme. She's in deadly earnest, I'm afraid..." Irene's love of the act of killing, coupled with her irritation at her home's noisy violation by the prostheticized madame made for an interesting few moments; It took Dreyfuss several of those minutes to convince his ward that Madame Arachne was not pistol-fodder, but in fact a valuable ally, especially considering her bordello's hospital facilities, which operated for both the legitimate and the less-than-legitimate individuals of London and it's various over and under worlds.

Dreyfuss finally breathed a sigh of relief as the two began to actually get on well together, and politely excused himself, going down the semi-secret Bridge emergency exit hatchway to the gun deck, performing the shave-and-a-haircut heel tap that told the engineering people (well, Jock, that is) that he was a member of the crew, and not an interloper to be accosted and searched. He waited until he heard the customary two-bang slap of wrench or whatever was handy against some part or other of the hull or other structural member of the ship before he proceeded downward to the engineering deck.

----------------------

The guard, one Hiram J. Lickspielter, came to check on Timothy around 10:00 and to turn out the gaslights in the makeshift cell. he walked easily through a door that should have been locked, but was not; the why of it was revealed by a lock that had, along with the hasp that it held in check, been prized from the thick beams that comprised the door itself. Inside were all of the things that had been there when Admiral Tzaeda had left, save one crucial Item:

Their HOSTAGE!

Beside the pallet where the boy was supposed to have slept the night under the influence of the beer that came with his lunch, there lay the severed bit of rope that had been intended to hold him securely. It appeared to have been cut with a knife (?!).

Ten seconds later, the entire rebuilding site had rung with the alarums of desperate men , searching for their quarry. But Timothy had already spirited himself away, to hide aboard a certain hybrid airship that flew the flags of both the proud Republic of Texas and the British Empire...


Critiques/comments/suggestions are appreciated!
PM me, or send to
mwbailey@hotmail.com
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