"Ho! Ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust! <<SPROINGGG>> "-- Daffy Duck
The servants - and that includes Samantha's - will take turns keeping watch. Two men per watch, in case some one falls asleep. Can't be too careful, what with all the slavers and cannibals.
Dr. Jurgen: <to Sam> "This must be something of an ordeal for you. Can I bring you something to help you sleep? Laudanum, perhaps?" What the heck is that? Samantha: "I feel much better now that we're with your party. I don't think it will be necessary, but thank you." The tent she's sleeping in will be in a spot where the helpless female can be protected from the natives, and the servants. Kaeth figures that's a good idea, lest Samantha break one of the servants.
Including Geoff, Robert, and Kaeth, plus the Count's five servants, there are eight people to take watch. That's enough people so that each watch will only be a couple of hours long. Geoff will take the fourth watch, as that's the one where a person is most likely to nod off. The count and the doctor see to their specimens. They have several chests of dried flowers and plants, furs, etc.
The only excitement occurs on Geoff's watch. A bright light streaks through the sky like a meteorite. Heading to the south, and producing the sonic booms of re-entry, it's quite a sight. Servant: "Oh look, a shooting star. That's good luck." For him maybe. Is Ariana trying to come to Robert's rescue? If so, how the hell is the party going to get off planet??
Once the rest of the party arises, Geoff goes to have a bit of a chat with Robert. Geoff: "Robert, do you have nav?" Robert: "Yes, why?" Geoff: "Last night, about 4 a.m., I saw a ship coming in along this vector." He indicates the direction. Robert: "What?!?" Geoff: "Fireball in the sky, sonic booms, etc., etc." Robert: "Shit. I hope Ariana didn't panic and try to come after us." The Count motions to them. Franz: "We're attempting to identify our position. I thought you might be able to help us out with these maps." Geoff: "Sure. And Robert has navigational experience." Franz: "Excellent."
The maps may not be all that helpful. They show a long stretch of coastline, then inland a bit, then UNKNOWN. To the south are some islands, and the Golden Sea is marked. The sextant was damaged in the crash, meaning the Count and his people don't know where they are exactly. They'll have to hope for a recognizable landmark. Franz: "Shall we head south and hope for the best, or do you have another idea?" Geoff: "No, that sounds good." Robert is very motivated to go south. Very motivated.
The fifty native bearers, under the command of Mustaffa, show up at the appointed time. Geoff reminds them of their dietary agreement, but for rifles and knives, and mirrors and shiny beads? Hell, they'll pretend to be vegetarians if that's what it takes! The Count promises to provide meat for the bearers as well as the rest of the party.
When Samantha joins the party, the men all stand. Robert is making notations on a borrowed sketchbook, about landmarks, etc. Franz: "Ah, a cartographer as well as a navigator." Robert: "Huh?" Geoff & Kaeth: "Mapmaker." Robert: "Oh." The doctor is making careful notes as well, but it's notes with little drawings of birds and animals.
After a good hardy breakfast, Heinrich lays everything out very efficiently. A chair and parasol is fixed onto a carry palette of sorts, so the fragile female doesn't have to walk. Robert: <to Samantha> "Don't bury yourself in the part..." Samantha: "I've no intention to bury myself, anywhere." Franz holds out his hand. Franz: "Milady?" Samantha goes along with this, for the moment. No sense in disillusioning them as to her helplessness just yet.
The party moves out, with Robert getting time checks from Dr. Jurgen and Franz occasionally, for navigation reasons. They walk until tea time (4:00 p.m., locally). Robert may be emotionally motivated to get to the south, but physically is another matter; he's Navy, and the Navy doesn't walk. His feet are really sore. Geoff and Kaeth are doing much better, being Marines. The only part of Samantha that might be sore is her rump, but she walked the really easy sections with the count, chatting amiably. Kaeth has been listening to the natives talk, and he figures it's a drifted form of Galanglic. Hmm, interesting.
Franz: "Well, Major, would you care to join me and see if we can find something for dinner?" Geoff: "Sure." Dr. Jurgen: "If you could find me a really excellent Crested Thrasher, that would be lovely." Geoff will leave that to the Count. Robert goes off to draw in the sand, and the doctor will keep the lady company. Kaeth goes along with the hunters.
Good thing too. They're walking along, looking at the trees and mosses, etc., when Kaeth sees a lump of moss spring at Geoff. Geoff has that bad feeling, turns, and snaps off a shot (good thing he sighted that rifle in), hitting the animal in the paw. Kaeth swings his newly acquired rifle at the animal, and hits it in the hip. This ticks off the feline, and it takes a swipe at Geoff, raking his arm. Franz can't get a good shot, so he doesn't risk it. Kaeth whacks the cat, hitting it solidly in the side, then Geoff gut shoots it. The feline decides to get the hell out of the area, through Franz. There's a very loud boom!, the cat is shot in the heart, and Franz is hit when the animal thrashes around in it's death throws. Geoff drags the animal off and puts it out of it's misery. Kaeth checks out the unconscious count. Deep lacerations along the rib cage and lots of blood. Heinrich: "You must save him! He cannot die!!" Kaeth asks to see the dead feline's paws, and yes it has nasty stuff under it's claws. He surreptitiously hits the count with a shot of broadband antibiotic. Heinrich: "We must get him back to camp, where the doctor is." Franz regains consciousness en route back to camp. Franz: "Was the animal put down?" Geoff: "Yes. And nice shot, by the way." Franz: "Not nice enough." He wants to walk, but is convinced otherwise. Once at the camp, the doctor tends to the count, and sedates him. Then he takes care of scrubbing out Geoff's wounds. Since they've brought back the animal, Geoff and Kaeth inquire as to whether the doctor has seen one of the creatures before. Dr. Jurgen: "Yes, we have two actually. But not of this size. Usually they're about the size of a small dog. This one is the size of a female lion." Such luck.
After he's patched up, Geoff and Kaeth go back out in search of dinner. After a while, Geoff locates a clearing with animals grazing. Now this is more like it - herbivores! As Geoff checks them out, one of the animals looks directly at him and starts making "Urh! Urrrrh!!" noises. The other animals lift their heads up, look to Geoff's direction, and they Urrrh! Geoff decides to shoot the ringleader. He hits the animal and it stumbles, but the moment the gunshot is fired all the animals panic and charge the direction they were facing. Right at Geoff.
No big trees, no rocks, no buildings to hide behind. Geoff turns and runs for it, but he's not that quick. Kaeth, who's about a hundred yards away from Geoff, hears and feels a large group of something heading his way, and climbs one of the skinny trees (you work with what you've got). Geoff, meanwhile, is hit and spun to the ground, then thunder passes over him, followed by dust. Further down the trail, Kaeth now knows what an antenna ball in a tornado feels like. The herd finally passes by. Kaeth goes back and finds the wounded animal struggling to get up. He shoots it in the head, but it doesn't go down. Geoff arrives and shoots it in the head, and it still doesn't go down. It takes a couple more shots before the damn thing dies. The natives emerge once the animal is dead, and descend on the body like a Denzetti pit crew. (Well, if a Denzetti pit crew were inclined to butcher, dress, and part up the car.) Geoff and Kaeth check out the animal to see if they can find out how to do this more efficiently next time. Big, heavy skull, little tiny brain. There's a very large heart, big huge lungs; maybe a lung shot next time.
A large amount of meat is brought back to the camp, and the preparations are made. Geoff goes back to see the doctor. Just massive bruising this time. He'll be really unhappy tomorrow. He goes for a swim in the cool water.
Dr. Jurgen has very efficiently skinned the big feline, and is eager to show the others something. All the green has come off. The pelt is of white and grey mottled fur, as soft as Rex Rabbit. The moss is a commensal. Dr. Jurgen: "A little alcohol and a brush and the moss comes right off." Robert: "What would a pelt like that be worth?" Geoff: "A lot, to Franz."
Dinner consists of wild game with mushrooms, wild onions, and wine - sort of a safari beef bougonion. The count misses dinner. Robert starts mapping out stars. Kaeth's wounds are healing up nicely, although the stitches are rather dramatic, and the injuries are healing faster than they should be. Robert asks to see the remains of the broken sextant, and boy is it crunched.
Dr. Jurgen asks questions about the herbivores, and takes notes. Dr. Jurgen: "Was it a male or female?" Geoff: "I don't know, but it had big hurkin' horns protecting a really thick skull and a tiny brain." Dr. Jurgen: "Ah. A male then." He asks other questions about the animals' behavior, and gets the story of the stampede.
The subject eventually gets redirected to more important issues, like where they hell they are, and if there's any chance of finding civilization. Dr. Jurgen: "If we get down to the Horn, there is a large colony there. I've been there before. The Count will be able to tell you if we're at all close to it." Kaeth: "Are there other settlements along the way to the Horn?" Dr. Jurgen: "Yes, but we should avoid several of them, as they're ports frequented by the slavers." Kaeth: "And if we can reach a settlement, then what?" Dr. Jurgen: "Then we can get passage to continue on our journey, and for you to return to your home. We must be careful on our journey, however. The Hinterlands are fraught with danger, and one of the Emperor's ships may be in the area." The doctor and the Count speak a variant of Galanglic, but both have accents that are different from each other.
Robert has been looking at the stars, trying to get a position or direction, or something that might prove useful later on. Dr. Jurgen: "Legend has it that's where we come from." Oh really? Hard to figure out which star exactly he's indicating, but interesting. The doctor relates the tale of how, many years ago the ancestors of the people of this world traveled from afar. Sounds like this happened during or just before the Long Night - at least a thousand years ago, probably more. The doctor isn't into the legends and mythology though. Supposedly there was an argument between the gods, which probably means the settlers argued and fractionalized.
Geoff will be excused from guard duty tonight. He requests to be awoken for the fourth watch, just to provide an extra gun. The doctor agrees, gives him a shot, and Geoff will wake up in the morning.
Dr. Jurgen informs the others that he's sedated the major. Dr. Jurgen: "He's like the Count, I believe. Likely to leap up and announce he's fine when he's not." Too true.
The day is spent in travel until tea time again. Franz is feverish, but denying he's not doing well. In the early evening, Robert spots a glint on the water that doesn't move. A vessel of some sort, when he checks it with his spyglass, a ways off. Robert points this out to the party. The ship has apparently also spotted the people on the beach, and it changes course. Geoff checks it out with his binocs, and it's still not close enough to see colors or insignias, but it is a steam powered vessel.
Geoff is eventually able to make out a blue flag with a diagonal white line, with a diagonal red line. That would be the flag of Albion, the "homeland" of Lady Samantha and her party. This is good, right? It's a 150' ship, riveted armor, and it has guns. Geoff: <to Dr. Jurgen> "You're our prisoners, right? If you're our prisoners, you're under our protection." Dr. Jurgen: "I suppose I don't have a choice." True, not a good one any way. One of the guns on the ship is fired, but apparently no projectile. Geoff fires off a shot into the air, then boats are let down. As the men approach, one of them calls out. Voice: "Ahoy on the beach! Who are you? Do you require assistance?" Geoff: "Yes please!" The boat pulls into shore, and a sailor and an officer get off.
Officer: "We caught your signal, are you in distress?" Geoff: "Yes we are. We have two parties traveling together, as a result of two shipwrecks." Officer: <looking at Sam> "You know sir, this is dangerous parts to bring your...wife. There are cannibals here." He looks at the natives. Several of the natives are running off with the party's goods. Geoff: "Mustaffa!" He's one of the ones running off. Damn his eyes! Geoff raises his rifle, but the sailors take exception to this. Geoff: "I was trying to keep the natives from running off with our supplies." Officer: "Yes, quite right. Can't trust the beggars." Geoff: "You're from Albion, are you?" Officer: "Yes, and you are?" Geoff: "Geoff Thompson." Officer: "Geoff Thompson of...?" Geoff: "Uh, Canada." [He panicked.] Geoff: "And these others who are traveling with use, are from Fredonia." Officer: "The Fredonian Empire?" Geoff: "Yes. However, they behaved well." Officer: <to Sam> "You were not injured, madame? They did not harm you?" Sam: "No. They were perfect gentlemen." Geoff introduces Lady Telford and her party. Officer: "Ensign Charles Taylor, of the Royal Albion Navy. We must get you out of here, in case those natives come back. The captain will have to decide, but the least we can do is drop you off at the nearest port." The party's goods are gathered up, and the guns are disassembled. Geoff: "These men helped us. I consider them my prisoners, and if any of them are mistreated, you'll answer to me." Taylor: "Yes, well, the captain will have to decide. I'm not sure what he'll decide."
Geoff comes over to the others in his party. Geoff: <to Dr. Jurgen> "I've told them that our party is from Canada." Dr. Jurgen "Is that one of the smaller duchies to the west?" Geoff: <pause> "Yes. It's better, due to treaties, for you to have surrendered to us. That way they won't want to do anything that might cause an incident. Understood?" Dr. Jurgen: "Yes, of course." He's really confused, and thinking "I've fallen in with spies?" Poor man.
The party is taken by boat to the HMS Intrepid. It's a small, single stack, iron ship. Geoff tries to not think about the boiler blowing up. The ship is neat as a pin and very clean. There's a rotund gentleman with a bright red face, in a white uniform. The captain. Captain: "What's this, Mr. Taylor?" Taylor: "A rescue sir. Apparently, a group of people from Kanada, who found themselves.." Captain: "Kanada, Mr. Taylor?" Taylor: "Yes sir, and -" Captain: "Those men are Fredonian." Geoff: "And they're under my protection." Captain: <to Geoff> "And who are you sir?" Geoff: "Geoffrey Taylor." Captain: "I'm not aware of any treaties with Kanada." Geoff: "And if you want to have any you'll keep that in mind." Captain: "Very well. <to Taylor> Take them to the brig, but there is no need for irons. <to Sam> I don't believe I've had the pleasure?" Samantha: "Samantha Telford." Captain: "Edmund Heathton. Allow me to congratulate you on surviving a horrible ordeal. Please allow me to offer you the hospitality of my vessel, such as it is." Sam: "Thank you. We're very grateful." Captain: "Taylor! Show Miss Telford...Miss?" Kaeth: Lady." Edmund: "Show Lady Telford to my cabin, and see that she has whatever she needs. Once we're able, we'll set you ashore where you can make contact with your people at home. I'm certain that Lord Telford will be happy to know his wife is safe." Robert: "I'm sure he'll be very happy that his granddaughter is safe." Ah! Hope springs eternal. Edmund: "Have our guests fitted in somewhere. <to Geoff> You'll understand that we were not expecting guests, and are not set up for it." Geoff: "Of course."
They're taken on board the ship. Robert asks the ensign their location. Taylor: "we're about six hundred miles from the Horn." Okay, that would have been a long way to walk. Taylor: "The ship has been sent to investigate an atmospheric occurrence; the second one in the last week." Captain: "Ensign!" Taylor: "I shouldn't say anything else really." The men are shown to small officers' quarters, but it's better than swinging on hammocks.
Geoff and Kaeth go to check on the Fredonians. Dr. Jurgen has had to give Franz another injection, but the fever has broken. Dr. Jurgen: "Please, my thanks to the captain for providing medical equipment." They're set up in a storage room, not a cell, and have been made as comfortable as possible. Taylor: "I will have to confiscate these as items of war." He's referring to the rifles, machineguns, and the field gun. Geoff: "If you can make use of them, that's fine by me." The captain sends his compliments and invites the party to dinner. Until then Ensign Taylor will take care of the party, along with his other duties. Poor harassed man. They've been at sea since the night of that second "flare". The second one in the last few days, the third in the last couple of months. Taylor: "I'm sorry that I can't say more, but until we know what exactly our political position with regard to Kanada is, well, you understand. The captain is consulting the Guide Diplomatique. With three hundred odd countries, duchies, principalities, and the like, it's difficult to keep track." The big ones like Albion and Fredonia are easy, but all the others, well, what can you expect?
Time for din-din. It's a bit crowded in the wardroom, but everyone is used to that. The captain proposes a toast to their king, and since it's the Navy, it can be done seated (so people don't knock themselves out on the beams). The captain's first officer, Lt. Kerrie is introduced. He's a serious young man, but seems brighter than the captain. Kerrie: "If you'll forgive my asking, where is Kanada, exactly?" Geoff: "North." Kerrie: "North. You'll have to forgive me, that is a part of the continent I'm not familiar with." The captain takes a big swig of wine any time there's an awkward pause. Geoff asks if the captain plays cards, and he does. Lots of food, lots of wine, many courses. Robert is just interested in who is trying to gather the most information from the party. The first officer is mostly quiet, until he needs to make up for the captain's lack of um, control. Edmund has a tendency to go on about the claret when he can't think of what else to say. Edmund: "I really am surprised that your grandfather permitted you to go on a journey such as this, my lady. Far too dangerous." Geoff: "In our country the women have to be tougher. That doesn't mean they aren't ladies, but they have to be able to assist the wounded." Captain: "But surely, the flagrant display of flesh could only serve to inflame -" Geoff: "I believe you are going down a bad path, sir." Edmund: "Excellent claret!"
The captain eventually is happy enough to be led off by the first officer. Geoff goes down to the kitchen and confuses the cook. He wants to get some of the good food for the prisoners, who were fed the same as the regular crew, but this doesn't go well. Geoff finally borrows a couple of pie plates and fixes up some MRE's. When he gets there, he finds that the count and the doctor were fed the same as the officers, so he takes the food to the Count's servants. Geoff: "It tastes better than it looks." He leaves it, just in case.
The party has the run of the ship, pretty much, but the first officer asks that they not interfere with the crew. Kerrie: "I'll alert you should we run into pirates or slavers, who are known to operate in these waters." The party goes up on the wheelhouse deck. It's very nice out here. The sun is just setting, and the sea to the south really does look golden. The night is balmy, but with a cool breeze, and there's a pleasant scent drifting in from the coast. Very nice. Pity no one is on a romantic vacation or whatever.
Geoff makes sure he knows where the ladders and lifeboats are. Kaeth and Geoff will pack their gear for wet travel again, just in case. Lt. Kerrie comes up to check on "her ladyship". Kerrie: "Is there anything you require?" Samantha: " No, but thank you for asking." Kerrie: "I thought perhaps you would like some hot tea." Samantha: "That sounds lovely, thank you." He's had tea brought up on deck for them. Kerrie: "I hope we are able to help you continue with your voyage home; I'm sure there is at least one gentleman who will be awaiting your return with anticipation." Samantha: "There's no one special, actually. What about yourself?" Kerrie: <blushing slightly> "Well, life at sea isn't really conducive to a relationship, as I'm sure you understand." Samantha: "Yes, I do." It's not hard to get Kerrie talking about himself, and that way Samantha doesn't have to answer questions about Canada. He's from a good, if not wealthy family, and the Navy is a good career.
To aft and left, there's the sound of someone dropping something metallic, then a muffled "Damn it". The fog is coming up thicker. Kaeth heard this, and tells Kerrie. Kerrie: "What sort of sounds?" Kaeth: "Metal on metal, then words I didn't understand." Kerrie has some men sent for, and the search light turned on. Kaeth heads for the left aft rail; it looks fine. The light is turned outward on to the fog. Nothing but water and fog.
Kerrie: "Drop searchlight, Mr. Jeffers." Jeffers: "Yes sir." Kerrie: "Don't be concerned. The ship makes a lot of noise. I'm sure it was just some one dropping a tool." Robert follows the railing around back to the wheelhouse.
Geoff is in the cabin he's sharing with Kaeth and Robert. He's a bit cranky and worn out after everything. He takes the hammock, since he's used to sleeping in one, leaving the bunks for the other two.
Kerrie returns to the wheelhouse deck, to make sure the lady is alright. Kaeth is still trying to find something wrong, but isn't able to. Once Robert gets back to the other side, and makes notes. Kerrie escorts Samantha back to her cabin, passing one from which comes stentorian snoring. Either the captain or Geoff.
Robert suddenly sees a huge dark shape loom up to the stern and port-side. Out of nowhere, and absolutely silent. A big ship, dropping a boarding plank. Robert: "Ship! Port and aft!! Boarders!!!" Robert starts to draw his gun from his full flap holster. As soon as Robert yells, the boarders yell, shots are fired by Kaeth (who was just waiting for something bad to happen), and all hell breaks loose.
Geoff wakes with a start, rolls off his bed, and is dumped onto the floor by the hammock. Ow. He arms himself with his cutlass and ACR, and goes to the brig to unlock the door. He tells the doctor he doesn't know exactly what's going on, but just in case he didn't want them to be locked in. Samantha has just gotten out of the damn long skirt when the gun fire starts. Samantha: "Oh, crap." She puts in hearing protection, and gets her handgun and spare mags; she was wearing pants and concealment armor already. She dons the stupid skirt again, since she doesn't want to distract the good guys.
Up on deck, much mayhem. Screaming and yelling, lines thrown from the big ship onto the Intrepid, Robert and Kaeth firing into the mob. There's way too many of them. Geoff goes to exit onto the deck when he's grabbed from behind. It's Franz, who's either telling Geoff he's got his back covered, or pushing him forward, or whatever. Geoff heads outside. More shooting and yelling. Robert yells "Hard port!!" And reloads.
Geoff fires full auto into the bad guys. Four or five men go down. This causes a short hesitation in the wave of people breaking onto the boat. Sailors are starting to get outside now. Took them long enough. Kaeth fires and another man falls. It's like stopping an avalanche with a squirt gun. There's a load boom from the boarding vessel, a smell of rotting eggs, and the wheelhouse explodes in splinters.
Samantha emerges, gun in hand. Just ahead of her is a man in a dark suit that looks familiar. It's Franz, and he's removing the canvas from something. Robert is heading for the deck gun, as he has gunnery. Not 19th century gunnery, but it's what he wants to do. He does put in hearing protection, in case he does get the big gun to work.
Franz: <glancing back> "Ah, Lady Telford. The gun won't come to bear. Give me a hand, will you?" She helps him pick it up and they head for Geoff's position. A man with a machete tries to decapitate Geoff, but only hits the teak beam. The blade sticks. Oh-oh. Kaeth is leapt upon, and as he steps back he's hit in the hip with some sort of edged weapon. Geoff takes exception to the man with the big knife and shoots him, and a couple of guys behind him. And now there's a cool machete stuck in the wall.
As she and Franz round the corner, Samantha can see the fantail, and it's crawling with people. Not their people. They need more people. Samantha has never done this before, but what the hell. Franz is looking for something to put the gun on, but there's nothing. Samantha: "Franz! Drop and hold on!" He does, she fires into the crowd of bad guys. From behind him, Geoff hears the bap-bap-bap-bap of the full size machinegun and dives for cover, crawling towards the gun.
Robert gets into the gun turret. Hmmm, it's not a meson gun, or a laser turret. Hey, wait a sec, it's sort of like a really big rifle! He gets it turned, with the big wheels, loads a big bullet, and pushes down on the pedal. The round shoots out, going through the air and then the side of the big ship (well above the water line) with little effect. Well, that was anticlimactic. Robert examines the next round, and sees it needs to be armed first. Oooh! He does what's necessary (as far as he can tell), and fires again. It's hard to miss the other ship, it's very big and very close.
Kaeth sees something sail through the air near him, towards the other ship. Grenade? Small bang, huge BOOM! That grenade was more powerful than Kaeth expected. He soars through the air, over the fantail, into the superstructure. Ow.
Eventually the shrapnel and dust and water clear, and everyone comes back to their senses enough to look towards the pirate ship.
There are people sprawled all over the deck when the crew comes out with their guns. Finally. The remaining pirates are rounded up without too much ado. The gun crew arrives to relieve Robert. Robert: "There is an armed charge in the tube." Sailor: "We'll take care of it, sir."
The doctor and ship's pharmacist mate come out to tend to the wounded. This includes Sam, who has been hit by oaken shrapnel. Damn. Franz tries to distract Samantha, telling her what a brave thing she did. Doctor: "We'll have to get her to surgery, there's been some penetration. You there! Help me with this woman." Robert is one of the men dragooned into helping carry her below.
Unfortunately, the captain was lost. The second round went through the cabins, at just about hammock height. It's a slaughterhouse down there. First Officer Kerrie is now acting as captain, and he's doing a fine job. Robert volunteers to help, and is sent to help the men digging for survivors in the wreckage. It's not pretty.
By the time the sun comes up, they've made crude repairs, cleaned up the deck, and removed the dead. There are twenty men wrapped in sailcloth. The heathens will not be wrapped up; their live brethren will be set to throwing the bodies overboard, much to the delight of the several pairs of double fins.
Perhaps they thought to take advantage of the troubles, maybe make an alliance with the Fredonians. We're certainly the biggest ship in the area, the others have been recalled." There is a short service. Kerrie: "Yes, we're definitely short handed now. Fortunately we're near a heliograph station, and I can radio for instructions." Geoff tells Kerrie that Franz helped wield the machinegun. Kerrie: "Yes, I am aware of that. "
The doctor is confused when he tries to cut through Samantha's "undergarment". That would be because it's TL 15 concealment armor. She doesn't mention that, just opens it for him. After the surgery (nothing too serious, and he does have drugs), the doctor has a rather quizzical look on his face. Dr. Jurgen: "You'll forgive me for being forward, but....You're from some place other than Kanada, are you not? Some place much further away? The legends of course say that we came from another world. I'm a scientist. It is -" Samantha: "Doctor patient confidentiality?" Dr. Jurgen: "My word is enough. But the fabric, your weapons..." Samantha: "We're not from around here." Dr. Jurgen: "Is it possible? Can such things be true? You realize that this could have profound effect on our civilization, our beliefs!" Samantha: "We're trying to keep that sort of impact down to a minimum. We're just looking for something that was lost here recently." Dr. Jurgen: "Is that why you're interested in going south? Does it have something to do with the meteors?" Samantha: "Yes." Dr. Jurgen: "I suggest that you tell no one else. May I ask, is this your normal appearance, or is it a form of disguise?" Samantha: <smiling> "I can assure you, this is how we really look. We're human. Well, except for Kaeth, who's a Vargr." Dr. Jurgen: "Do your ships travel upon the ether, or do your ships travel using the force of electricity, which the ancient texts describe, but does not exist here?" Samantha: "A little of both, I suppose." Dr. Jurgen: "Well, I must not tire you, you need rest. I will have some of the sailors take you back to your cabin." She's taken out on a litter back to the captain's cabin, which is intact.
Kerrie: "We've heliographed with an update on our situation. My orders are to proceed to my original objective with all speed. I can put you off along the coast..." Kaeth: "No, we'll go with you. The coast isn't too friendly." Kerrie: "Good. Heaven knows we can use all the help we can get. However if your allegiance to Kanada..." Geoff: "No, I believe we should have no problems. What will you do next?" Kerrie: "It is my intention to come within sight of the shore and put off my piratical brethren. My first thought is to feed them to the maxim guns. But that wouldn't be efficient, I suppose." Geoff: "Waste of ammo." True.
The lieutenant and the ensign are the only surviving officers. The rest were killed. Kerrie: "I've spoken to Count Von Hollenstein, and he has thoughtfully volunteered his two maxim guns, which we will mount on deck." Robert: "Of course. May I also suggest they be crewed at all times? Just in case." Kerrie had already thought of that, so yes. Robert: "We're going to the area where the meteors went down, aren't we? Over the Golden Sea? It was pretty hard to miss, what with the light show." Kerrie: "Which makes me wonder if we're not the only ones steaming south in search of this phenomenon. When we put off the pirates we will have to take on fresh water, at the same time. Unfortunately I cannot think of anywhere safe to leave her ladyship. I'm hoping that one of you gentlemen will be able to explain..." Kaeth: "She is a very independent woman, and would not like to be set off somewhere safe." Robert: "I'm sure her grandfather would prefer her safety be secured by competent people. And he is prime minister of Kanada, after all." Geoff glares at him. Kaeth: "And a few maxim guns." Kerrie: "Ah." It's obvious he's of two minds, and isn't really that unhappy about Samantha staying on board.
After meeting with the "Kanadians", Kerrie meets with Count Von Hollenstein. The door opens some time later, the Count emerges and shakes hands with Kerrie. Civilized men, behaving in a civilized manner.
Robert, Kaeth, and Geoff help out in their various ways as the crew makes impressive headway in their repairs. As the evening is coming on, the ship anchors near an estuary. Franz takes Geoff and Kaeth, and goes on a hunting expedition. The count is right on the money this time, and is able to fill the boat up with game. They return, the pirates are taken out and dumped there, then the ship steams off into the night, leaving the bastards in the dark.
Back on the Intrepid, Lt. Kerrie has the party, Franz, and Dr. Jurgen join him for dinner, and he informs them of what's going on. Kerrie: "The current plan is to steam ahead at top speed. We will stop at the port of Brazzaville to take on supplies, and perhaps find a ship there so her ladyship can continue homeward. For now we have the count to thank for the meal, and the wine from his private cellar." It's a day's travel to the port city. Kerrie: "So it appears now that we and the crew will be making up the expedition." Kaeth: " What can you tell us about the South?" Kerrie: "It's certainly a dangerous place where I would not want a lady to venture. There are slave markets there." Robert: 'Then I certainly wouldn't want to venture there." Kerrie is worried about Samantha, but the Count makes a comment about how well she wields a maxim gun. Both the Count and the lieutenant keep sneaking glances at Samantha. Rather appreciative glances. Now if they'd just stop acting like she was deaf or not there.
Kerrie is cautious, as he does have to be careful what details he tells the group; he is after all an officer in the Albion Royal Navy, but he admits to being somewhat confused by the orders he received by heliograph. He doesn't have the sealed orders the late captain received, as they were on his person when he was killed. Oops. Kerrie: "I hope we will all bear up under this. I have no desire to inconvenience her ladyship, but we find ourselves in a rather unusual situation."
Robert volunteers to take a watch as nav, and is given the instructions necessary to do so.
Lt. Kerrie and the count keep checking on Samantha, separately of course, to find out if she's all right, if she needs anything. There are repaired officers' quarters for Geoff, Robert, and Kaeth to share, the count has a cabin, Kerrie has a cabin, and the poor ensign is shunted further down the chain. Robert and Kaeth offer the captain the opinion that the ensign deserves better treatment. Robert will share a cabin with him. Kaeth tries to find out as much as he can about the local medicines. Their antibiotic medication is based on a protozoa that has antibacterial properties - it secretes some sort of toxin. The almost Regen medicine is the extract of a berry.
Arrival at the port.