Two and a half hours ago.
Location: 60 kilometers west of the Maelstrom, Frigate Caedus.
It had all been going to plan. Yulgar's Inn, at 6. He'd have gotten there an hour or two early, found a nice spot to sit. Had a drink or two. Read a book. Then gone to meet their decrepit contact when it had been time. Tabs would've been able to meet up later, once she'd finally woke up.
Sleeping in was one thing, but sleeping in until 3:30 in the afternoon was a bit odd. And incredibly lazy.
That aside, it was the whole sleeping in thing that caused this whole mess.
Well. Not really. It was the whole 'staying-up-late-and-telling-the-navigation-crew-the-wrong-destination-in-her-haste-to-get-some-sleep' thing that had ruined everything. Well, probably. There was a good chance it was something else, but it was probably Fatality's fault and it was probably because of something dumb.
It wasn't the crew's fault, far from it. Vox probably should've checked whether they knew where to go, to be honest. Or made sure Tabs had told them the right destination. Or maybe he should've checked to see where they were sooner.
Sure, everything did look about the same from several thousand feet in the air, within the clouds. But even so, there were some landmarks you'd normally be able to see. Or not see, as the case were.
About 2 minutes ago, he'd stuck his head over the edge of the airship to have a quick look and had seen greenness, trees.... Coast. Battleon wasn't near a coast. And Yulgar's Inn was in Battleon, meaning that they were in the wrong place. Or Battleon had been moved by some super teleporter or mega dragon. As cool as that would've been, he doubted very much that had been the case.
As a matter of fact, they had been over water. And heading towards a bloody huge whirlpool. If he listened, Vox could make out the sound it was making over the thrum of the airship's engines and the rushing wind.
So yeah, that had been a bit of a shock. Not the worse one he'd ever had, definitely not. It was an impressive mistake though. Most importantly, not his mistake. Of that he was certain. It was rarely his fault, and he had no doubt that this time was no different from the others.
So after he'd pulled his head back on board, he'd gone through their options as he strode to the bridge.
Option number one. Call it off.
Less than an hour and a half to the meeting? With an old lady we can contact with.... maybe pigeon? Or letters wrapped around rocks? No calling that off.
Option number two. High tail it to the right coords. That was pretty much their only option.
Vox strode into the bridge. A few of the navigation crew turned around to see what was happening, then turned back to what they were doing. A few snapped off salutes, though most didn't. A couple of the non-vital posts had snoozing men in them. Vox didn't mind. He didn't exactly run the tightest of ship or care if people slacked off occasionally. It was only when they didn't follow orders, that was when he had a problem. If he did ever have a problem with incompetency, it was either when people were being dumb while being in the thick of it, really.
He walked up to the man at the helm and tapped him on the shoulder.
The man turned around.
"Yessir?" The helmsman's name was.... unimportant. Vox rarely remembered names.
"So, Mr. Helm."
"It's Leonards, sir. Corporal Walter Leonards," the helmsman said, pointing to the name tag on his breast.
Why does he have a name tag?
"Whatever," Vox continued, ignoring him. "So our destination. Where are we heading exactly?"
The Corporal made a strange face. "Uh, the El Tee said that we were heading for Paxia.”
“Did she say anything else? Did she seem to know what she was doing?”
“Nope. And as much as she normally did, I guess.”
Vox stared at the man for a bit while he processed the entire ordeal.
Paxia doesn’t even sound like Battleon.
There were a few moments of staring, during which the Corporal waited and blinked. Vox looked snapped out of it so suddenly that he flinched.
"Uh. Did I receive a promotion, sir?"
"Even if I could, I never would!" Vox said cheerily, titling his head to the side.
"Fair enough. Um, anyway, sir?"
"We have a new, -correct- destination that we need to reach by 5:50 at the latest," Vox said, walking over to the map display.
He tapped his hand on a spot several times. A marker appeared, in the shape of a building. An inn, perhaps.
"There," he said, tapping the spot a few more times. Arrows appeared around the spot, more appearing each time he tapped.
The corporal examined the spot.
"Hmm, and that would be 5:50 in the morning, roughly 14 hours from now?"
Vox tilted his head again, his version of a cheerful-yet-not-cheerful smile.
"No, that would be 5:50, exactly 2 hours, uh," he paused, checking a clock on the wall and continued, "16 minutes and 12 seconds from now."
The corporal didn't say anything. A few other members of the crew had been listening in and were either making adjustments to the instrument panels at their stations or looking at the two men. Not one wore the bored or carefree expression they had had several moments ago.
Neither Vox or the corporal had moved, when Vox put a hand on the man's shoulder and gestured to the nav crew.
"Well, it's on you lot now. We probably shouldn't be late, so I'd get a move on," Vox said, his tone somehow even more cheerful than before.
"Um. And just, uh. How are we supposed to-"
"Firstly, I'd say we turn the ship around," Vox suggested, taking hitting a button on the side of the helm.
A loud, blaring siren blared throughout the ship. The warning for a course change or sharp, banking turn.
There was silence, save the thrum of the engines. Then activity burst around the ship as her crew leapt into action.
"Secondly, full speed. This trip might not seem that important, but it just might be. I'll be down below, seeing if there's anything else that can be done," he finished, turning and striding towards the door.
The entire ship lurched as its starboard wing rose and its port wing dipped. Caedus's engines had powered down momentarily as they changed direction.
Within a minute, they had powered up again and the thrum had risen to a high whine as they maxed their output.
The ship shuddered as it picked up speed, a roar following in her wake as she tore through the sky.
Location: 5 kilometers from Battleon, Frigate Caedus.
Their destination wasn't far now. They'd be able to make it, barely. Though they would have attracted the attention of anything or anyone within several dozen kilometers of their path here.
Vox'd ordered the nav team to bring Caedus to its closest contact range on a slower, quieter level. They didn't need all the townsfolk to be aware of their arrival, after all. Knowing Fatality, they might be well aware of their visit by the time they left.... Though hopefully not. The engines had been plenty of noise for one afternoon.
He strode down a dimly lit passageway, towards a steel door at the end.
Wonder if these lights'll be too bright as well?
Vox reached the door. It was a thick door, inset with many rivets and bolts, with a remarkably thick handle. Standard for the ship, though Fatality had taken the liberty of adding a few enchantments and things to sate her paranoia.
He rapped on it twice and waited. No response.
Two more raps.
He pressed the red gem set next to the frame, and watched it pulse for a while. Nothing from the magical doorbell either, nope.
He muttered a curse under his breath and then stood back. One foot back, heel on the floor and kicking through-
The door didn't move.
Vox stared at it for a few more seconds, and contemplating a new 'no-door' policy on the ship.
He tapped the crystal on his left shoulder.
"Uh, yeah. Natalya? You're gonna need to get us a table."
Three seconds after the clock struck 6, there was a shrill squeak followed by a thud and another squeak.
And then there were 3 crisp knocks on the door. Several more seconds passed, and then the door opened slightly. A lady with shiny, purple hair, purple glasses and a bandana around her face peeked through.
After a few seconds of assessment, the door opened fully and the purple-haired lady strode through.
The purple-haired lady walked past the bar, only stopping momentarily to nod at Yulgar, as though greeting an old friend. Ignoring the curious gazes that flickered her way, she strode on.
She continued until she reached the table at which the Madame sat, where she stopped and took out a small square of paper.
The lady appraised the paper for a few moments, occasionally glancing up at the lady seated before her.
At last, she folded the paper and tucked it away before bowing her head slightly and sitting in front of the elderly lady.
A few seconds ticked by before the purple-haired lady pulled out another square of paper.
The hastily scrawled message read:
Hello, my good Madame.
Unfortunately, our meeting will be running a few minutes late and
we my carry-on apologises profusely for this.
In the meantime, while you wait, please enjoy the company of our messenger and order whatever food or beverages you like.
P.S: Seriously, I can't get her cabin door open. You might want to start eating first, we'll be down in a bit.
The purple-haired lady sat with her back straight and hands clasped on the table, and stared straight ahead.
< Message edited by Kooroo -- 8/7/2015 15:48:54 >