Sunrise on the Knyvettian Plain

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Cammytrice, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. "Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, let's get underway. We don't want to miss the sunrise..."

    The conductor gave the call, and the train blasted its whistle as the gathered crowd at Knyvettspointe Station let out a rousing cheer. The train chugged off out of the station in the early morning light, leisurely beginning its well-practiced three-day trek through Knyvettian Safari Park. As it rounded the corner and topped the rise, the passengers would be treated to the first of the park's signature views; a spectacular sunrise over the plains.

    A three-day trip through the park takes the passengers through three different terrains, each painstakingly constructed to give the most authentic view of the animals as possible. At first glimpse, the animals look authentic too, until one spots the glint of metal and the lack of colour. All the animals of Knyvettian Safari Park are mechanical. They live out in the park, through rain and shine, moving and behaving almost exactly like their living counterparts. To show how life-like, trips also include a 'hunting' safari, where passengers have the opportunity to bring down game. Specialised guns and pellets can, if they strike special plates on the body, disable the animal for an hour. Then, once the train has moved on, the animal reactivates and returns to its regular motions.

    But this was a trip like no other, for a park like no other. This was the tenth anniversary celebration of the park. Ten years ago, the most amazing man-made wonder was opened to the public. Even years later, it still holds the mystique and the wonder that it did back then. And now, to celebrate the event, the richest aristocrats in the Kingdom of Orhmere outbid all the rest for the special opportunity to be a guest on this anniversary train, and to attend an exclusive banquet on the gorgeous Knyvettian Plains with the owners of the most celebrated and unique park in the known world.

  2. The sun had passed the apex and was heading down towards the evening of the second day. The morning had been spent on safari through the Asian jungle area, and one of the ladies of the group had surprisingly downed three monkeys. A few of the men had bagged some tigers, and the party spent a good half hour getting portraits done with the temporarily disabled animals before the train rumbled on towards the banquet location.

    Now, as the plains stretched before them once more, the chairman of the board for the Park was being interviewed by one of the reporters assigned to document the momentous occasion. The pair were seated in the open caboose, taking in the fresh air and the sights as they conversed.

    "One notable thing that is always on everyone's minds, sir, is the quite public parting of ways between the park and its two top engineers a few years back."

    "Mm, yes. That was unfortunate, but you know how geniuses can be. We can never forget the fact that we couldn't have made it these ten years without their work, and for that we will always be grateful, but time does march on, and sometimes we need to head in different directions. We have made efforts to reach out to them again, and invited them to join in what is partly their accomplishment as well. Unfortunately, we only received a response from Miss del Bosque, and it was, well, not exactly a positive one."

    "May I ask what the letter contained?"

    The Chairman chuckled. "In true del Bosque style, the contents caught fire as soon as the words were exposed to light."

    "Quite the heated response, then."

    "Hah! Quite literally."
  3. The banquet had been a rousing success. The guests toasted and feasted throughout the evening, enjoying the night sky and the celebration. The banquet was held on an open car of the train, with the roars and calls of the animals echoing through the night sky.

    Now, with the banquet over, the train gave a blast and began trundling towards home. Tomorrow held the promise of one final terrain before arriving back at the station in the late evening. The guests would wake in the foothills of the park as they climbed into the hilly terrain of the Northern forest before a swift and exciting descent towards the sunset and the station.

    Up in the engine, the train engineer and his apprentice were keeping a sharp eye out for any animals wandering near the tracks. They'd be in big trouble with the bosses if they were to allow animals to wander onto the tracks. So they simply kept enough guns and pellets at the front to shoot and disable any animals that wandered too close.

    "Sir, is that a bear?"

    "Don't be stupid, boy. We're hours away from the hills. There's not a bear for miles!"

    "But sir…"

    "Didn't you hear me? I hope you weren't sneaking around the party and…"

    Suddenly, the entire engine window was covered by a huge, metallic bear, emitting an ear-splitting roar! The next second, monkeys from the Asian jungle were swinging in, crawling over every lever and surface. Just as the men managed to throw them out and shoot the bear, two elephants and a rhinoceros were ramming the coal car! They were trying to derail the train!

    "Telegraph the station! We're in trouble!" the engineer ordered frantically.

    The apprentice frantically began to tap out an S.O.S. message. Before he could finish, the engine began to tilt sideways.

    "We're going off the rails! Shut the furnace or the whole train'll go up in flames!"
  4. Camilla del Bosque stepped out of the horseless carriage, sighing to herself as she strapped her strongbox to her side and slung a work bag over each shoulder. Finally, she retrieved a small travel bag that she carried in her hand, should this take a few days. She was wearing her old safari maintenance clothes. She hadn't worn these in over five years. She still didn't know why she'd kept them. They'd been safely packed away, lest she set something on fire in rage weekly, as she'd done back them.

    But now, she needed them again. Her animals were in trouble. She'd made that quite clear to the Board member who had personally come to enlist her help. The fact that he'd shown up at her door and had been promoted to the Board after she'd left was the only reason she'd even allowed him into her house to hear his plea. As a matter of pride, and honour, to keep her animals free of blame and not smashed to pieces. However, Camilla also had the feeling they weren't completely trusting of her, or the fellow engineer they'd also enlisted on this mission: Gabriele Verrazzano.

    God, just thinking of that man made her pulse race. It had been so long. She wondered if he'd changed much over the years. She wondered if he even thought about her anymore. She wondered if she'd be able to refrain from slapping him across the face when she saw him. But as much as she tried to deny it to herself, and did deny it to everyone else, she was also doing this for him. She'd had her suspicions about him back then, but she knew there was no way on earth he could be behind this 'accident'. Not on purpose, and he was too smart to do it by accident...unless it had happened because he was too smart. He'd always been trying to tinker with the program...

    Camilla shook her head. No. There was too much unknown out there to waste her time chasing speculations. All they knew was that animals had left their terrains and converged on the train, derailing it. The engine had been destroyed enough that they could not send any more messages out. This had been found out by a small dirigible sent to find the safari party. They'd only been able to rescue most of the guests due to the size of the craft. A few Board members, one or two aristocrats, as well as the surviving staff, were still trapped with the besieged train. The safari hunt leader, the train engineer and his apprentice, all but two of the coal men, and three train stewards had been killed when the train derailed. The engine was still smouldering, and all the guns had been destroyed. The animals had somehow gone rogue. Their mission was to find out why and attempt to rescue the rest of the party.

    She looked around the station. It was quiet in the early morning light. She was the first one here. She took the quiet moment to look at the small, fast engine and two cars that would take them deep into the Park. It could travel three times the speed of the slow Safari Train, and should deliver them to the group by late afternoon. The coal men had already begun to stoke the furnace, carrying on their gruelling task in grim silence, save for the appropriate grunts of effort they made with every shovelful of coal.
  5. The train went round and round, tooting and smoking as it went along, stopping at each station to pick up imaginative passengers. The lights of the city flickered off and on now and then and the clock in the center, that towered over the town, ticked away. A hidden door opened from below the clock face, and out came a miniature train, running in circles. It made eight laps and sounded its whistle just as many times, just before disappearing back into its cubby. With a sigh the conductor switched off the lively town. Mr. Gescheit was saddened a little to see his great train city come to a halt. The lights flicked off and the train parked at the station. The only thing left was the ticking clock in the town square. At least Gescheit was able to bring a bit of it along with, stationed on his hat. With luggage in hand he left his workshop into the early day sun. Out from his coat pocket, Gescheit pulled out his trusty pipe and stuffed it with a pinch of cloves. Holding the pipe with only his mouth, he went to light it. With a simple flick of a switch his whole hat came alive. The little train perched on the upward spiraling rail began to wind up and up to the little town that sat on lid of his hat. Even with the train spiraling up, his hat did not fall nor tip; balance was key. Once the engine reached the top, the city crane began to lower. The match in its clutch stuck and was lit. And with perfect aim, the crane lowered and dropped the match right into his pipe. With a grin hidden by this mustache, he took a deep breath of fresh cloves. And exhaled a cloud of smoke much like a train.

    Arriving at the station, Mr. Gescheit was sure to keep an eye out for Miss Camilla del Bosque; the leader of this rescue crew he had joined. He was, not to be humble, the best with trains, it was only natural they would come to him. His crafts were not well know, much unlike Bosque who was famed for her work with the mechanical beasts and many advances in technology. The young were seeming to surpass Gescheit, but he was full of fresh ideas; the mind never grows old. He was fortunate to find Bosque at his arrival. He was the first to join her, hopefully the others were not far behind. But this did give him a chance to meet with the young woman, and inventor, that would be leading this group; she must have been an interesting character. "Guten Morgen, Miss Bosque!"Mr. Geschite greeted with a slight bow, not too exaggerated for fear of his hat tipping. Though he, in recent years, had become expert at not losing his hat. "Ich bin Mr. Gescheit, a pleasure to meet you," he introduced, holding out his hand. His pipe was still perched in the corner of his lip, but it didn't hinder his speech, no more than his strong accent did. This young woman was a beautiful girl, this any one could see. And the fire and life in her eyes burned with a certain passion, determination, and intelligence. She was a smart lass, and clever too. What he had head from talk about her and a little bit of research, did not seem to capture her right. But this was all his first impression, he was looking forward in truly meeting her and understanding her character.
  6. Nellie jerked the cart around, making the cages balanced on top of it jangle this way and that. She couldn't wait to dump the lot on the train. At least the Park had been willing to lend these for the trip. She couldn't imagine the hassle of bringing her own.


    "Garrett," she responded with equal enthusiasm, or at least equal until she noticed the cages start tipping. She jammed the mechanical break into the wheel to stop the cart from rolling, and darted about the cart, pushing cages back to stop them from falling.

    "Here's the rest of your equipment and some change of clothes," he said as he placed everything on the ground.

    "Thanks." Once she had the cages under control, she looked to her husband. Though she had ignored that slight tone in his voice, it was impossible to not see the disapproval in the way he carried himself.

    "Nellie, you don't have to... There's ..."

    "We've been through this," she snapped, perhaps a little more sharply than she should have. "And no one could prep for such a trip in 10 minutes time."

    "But a day would have been enough," and there was no hiding that sour note in his voice.

    With a sigh, she turned to him, taking his hands in hers before pulling him into an embrace. "Garret, love, don't make this hard. Please." And when they parted, the two didn't have another word about it as they stacked the rest of her belongings onto the cart.

    "Oh look," she exclaimed, "There's Miss del Bosque! She looks just like her portrait in the lobby. I wonder if Mr. Verrazzano looks the same, too."

    "Nellie, be safe."

    "Of course," she replied, but without any sincerity that Garrett had spoken with. She wouldn't take unnecessary risks when there were plenty to be had already, but to have the expectation that the trip could be safe was just asking for trouble. "I think I can take it from here. Garrett, don't worry about me. All right? I've been with these animals a good couple of years now, and I've seen what real animals in the wild can do, too. There's not a person better for this than I am. Plus, Miss del Bosque and Mr. Verrazzano will be there. I'm sure they'll figure out what happened to the animals in no time at all."

    "Oh, my Nellie, be safe." It was as if he had no other words. They embraced one last time before Nellie maneuvered her cart toward the train and the two waiting there. She had half a mind to head straight for the train, but to simply pass by the others who would be taking the trip with her seemed unfairly impolite, and there was hardly any room for animosity when there were already people dead and others stranded.

    The Park staff had been abuzz with the accident since it had happened. Something was wrong with the animals, and that was about as far as anyone knew. Some guests had been rescued, and their stories only fueled the wild imaginations people had. When Nellie had found out that they were putting a rescue team together, she had approached her manager and volunteered. At first, he didn't listen. She was just a staff hunter, and that just wasn't good enough for the task, but when he finally realized she had dealt with more than just pellet guns in her life time, she had become just the one he needed. And then she had found out just who else was on the trip. Wouldn't it just be something to work with the top two engineers who had created the animals at the Park! She couldn't wait to see them at work.

    "This must be our train," she interjected upon reaching Miss Camilla del Bosque and Mr. Geschite, decelerating the cart gently as to not unbalance everything on it, or even worse, onto them. "I'm Nellie Coulton," she said with a bob that more or less resembled a curtsy. "You look just like your portrait, Miss del Bosque. What is it like to be back? And you," she said turning to the older man. Her eyes followed the train on his hat up, and then trailed down to his face again, "must be the train engineer, Mister ...?"
  7. Victor stepped out of the carriage that had brought him to the train station and pulled his two large briefcases out after him. He handed the driver some money to pay for the trip, before the carriage drove off. He reached into his overcoat and pulled out his tobacco and paper, rolling himself a cigarette and lighting it, before taking a firm hold of each of the briefcases and lifting them. He started walking into the station, slightly angered that his brilliant mind hadn't managed to come up with a idea so simple as to put wheels on the damn things. But his mind was focused on far more important things most of the time, leaving little time to think about such simple tasks. Heck, without the wheels, he even got a small amount of exercise simply from walking into the station.

    Victor couldn't help but to smile as he walked along, attempting to find where he was told to meet up with the others. He was going to have a chance like no other! He was going to test the tiebreakers on the famous animals of the Knyvettepoint Park! There were quite a few pugilists who were famous for boxing with exotic animals, but none had fought robotic versions of them to the death before! If this did not help his career, what would?

    He let out a small puff of smoke as he noticed the small group that had gathered next to the train. He stared hurrying slightly towards them, now truly noticing the weight of the briefcases. He set them down with a heavy thud, as he stood next to Miss del Bosque, Mr. Geschite and Mrs. Coulton. He tipped his hat slightly at the ladies, before introducing himself. "Victor DeLoch, Pugilistic powerhouse, at your service!" He held out a large hand to anyone willing to shake it.
  8. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;width:25%;height:25%;"><img src=></div>
    The safari. It had been a long time. Five years that felt like an entire lifetime. Gabriele sighed in the intoxicating aroma of steam being cast off from the train. Even if his psyche refused to acknowledge the fact, his body knew that he had missed the safari over the five years he had spent away from it. The knots of stress in his shoulder dissipated quickly as soon as he stepped off of the cart into the station.

    He had been away for far too long. He wasn't even used to carrying around his stuff anymore. There was an audible thud as the toolbox and pack landed on the ground. He made adjustments to the mechanical arm on his back to shift some of the weight of the toolbox it was carrying more to itself. The effect was just what Gabriele desired. The load on his back lessened. He leaned down and grabbed his other stuff and walked further into the station.

    The place had changed here and there since he had last been to the safari, but it still held the spirit of the monument of wonder that he had helped build a few years ago. He would still as quickly fall in love with the automatons, the architecture, and the atmosphere, had things been different. But things weren't different. He had been called in for a few different reasons, he had concluded. But first and foremost was the fact that the safari needed his help and expertise. There would be hell to pay if this expedition failed to correct whatever was going wrong with the animals.

    The board member, a tall, well-groomed man -- he hadn't really paid attention -- had made no effort to hide the suspicion that laced nearly every word he said. An expedition into the safari had been derailed, he said. The animals had gone rogue, he said. Gabriele laughed at that. "Impossible. The animals were programmed to do one thing and one thing only. There is nothing in their programming that is even remotely near derailing a train" he said. But the board member had been adamant and Gabriele was eventually convinced.

    He hadn't learned until later that Miss Del Bosque would be part of the team that was being sent to the "rescue." The prospect made feelings he thought he had buried long ago rear their ugly heads again. He never should've let it happen. Maybe if he hadn't, things would be different. But alas, what was done was done, and all they could do was move on.

    It crossed his mind that maybe Camilla was under suspicion as well, but he knew she was too prideful in her work to do anything to compromise the system. Even if she was, he believed he was being watched more closely. He was, after all, the man who was the head of the programming team. If anyone was to blame, it would've been him. He knew he was there because they wanted to keep him close by as well.

    Gabriele walked towards the train. He saw Camilla. He froze.
  9. Camilla sighed inaudibly as the station quickly became alive with the rest of the team arriving. When she turned to the engineer, she couldn't completely hide the smirk of surprise and amusement at seeing the very elaborate hat on his head. "And good morning to you, Mr. Gescheit. It's del Bosque though, please," she politely corrected him. It was not taken in offence; she was used to people getting it wrong the first time. "I hope you've been apprised of the train's route. There are some very challenging turns, but you are aware of the urgency that we reach the party quickly," she went on. As usual, she was all business. She had not only the safari members to consider, but her own team as well. She wanted everything to run as it should.

    The hunter arrived next, and Camilla forced herself to patience as the young woman bantered on. "Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Coulton. I must admit I would've liked to return under more pleasant circumstances," she answered politely. Like an abject apology, she thought with hidden bitterness. She was careful not to let it show on her face. "This is Mr. Gescheit, our train engineer," she added, introducing the pair.

    She didn't have time to say anything else before one of the other team members arrived. One of the men the company had added to the team to assist with the heavier work. Camilla remembered calling them the 'Muscle Men', back in the creation days. "Mr. DeLoch, it's a pleasure," she said, accepting his hand and shaking it firmly. She secretly hoped he wouldn't be taking his pugilistic skills out on her animals, but from some things she'd heard about the night of the attack, she was afraid he might have to. Just the thought made her feel slightly ill.

    She turned from the group to regather her thoughts, and she saw him. He was staring at her, and her heart stopped before picking up the pace once again. "Um, if you'll all excuse me for a moment," she said softly to the group, her voice barely above a whisper, not turning back to address them properly. She forced herself to walk steadily towards him, not too slow or too fast. Be firm, be strong, be professional, she chided herself. But she couldn't stop her hands from shaking. She walked straight up to him and stopped, fidgeting with her hands for a moment. She couldn't take her eyes from him, but she couldn't think of what to do next.

    "Still using that inane back crane, I see..." she finally said with a nervous smirk. "It's good to see you again, Gabriele. It's been a long time. You're looking well..."
  10. The train went along quite swell for a clear morning. Mizierna looked quietly as she peered towards some of the people that were on her train. She was probably the leftover for the team, as her carriage ran very, very slow towards the station. Once she saw the train station, she was slow to look up. Mizierna was only too slow for the ride since she spent her time sleeping.

    Once the train stopped, she woke up and saw a blur if people, one of them having something exquisite on his head and another with a beautiful hat. Mizierna brushed her tasseled hair before stepping out of the train. She pushed her glasses to her face in worry of why there was just a few people.

    Mizierna heard Real's voice from a flashback. "Remember, look both ways before driving this thing. If I don't know it and I die, find the ones who know about the plains. Camilla del Bosque knows lots about the wonderful place. She'll be your captain, so listen to her and do what she says!"

    Mizierna nodded as she slid on her circular glasses and tried to find the group. Who was this Camilla? Why was she here? Was she here for the same reason? Mizierna decide to keep her mouth shut until a conversation went across.

    When her eyesight grew clear, she felt inclined to verify the woman's identity. Since Mizierna's master, CJ, wanted to leave back to England, Mizierna was now all alone. She had to go towards the group with marvelously-clad attire. It seemed that they were the only ones there. Mizierna also remembered that Real gave her a paper of the team and their names. When she saw them, she gave her attention to the leader of the expedition. "Aren't you Camilla del Bosque?" She asked as she was never able to know the names of the people. She was always introverted from open conversation. This was why she didn't know the group members names as soon as she got off the train.
  11. Nellie granted Miss del Bosque a sympathetic smile. It was true. This was hardly the best of times to be returning to the park, but the park was quite lucky that the lead engineers were returning. Before she could proclaim that, however, Miss del Bosque went on to introduce Mr. Gescheit, whom, as she had suspected, was the train engineer. Her smile widened with the joy of having guessed

    As Victor DeLoch introduced himself, she turned, and replied the tip of his hat by bowing her head slightly. "I'm Nellie Coulton," she replied, taking her turn to shake his hand. On the one hand, she couldn't quite say she was thrilled to meet someone who, well, punched people professionally. On the other hand, the man before her hardly fit the image of a pugilist, and to top that off, he was polite and civil, and though his face look like it had seen better days, he otherwise didn't seem too rough. But who was she to judge? Having worked as a hunter at the park, Nellie had met plenty of people who had made unnecessary assumptions about her, and there were those time she had played to it, but other times it was simply tiresome.

    When Miss del Bosque excused herself from the group, Nellie couldn't help look in the direction the woman went, and it didn't take a second look to recognize the other engineer, Mr. Verrazzano. If Miss del Bosque had moved off to greet him, Nellie could only assume that the other woman wanted to share a couple words with Mr. Verrazzano without them around. The two of them had, after all, worked together, so it was entirely reasonable that they would be familiar with one another.

    "Your hat is quite a piece of work, Mr. Gescheit" she said in praise, turning back to the train engineer and the pugilist. Personally, she could not imagine working with such a thing balanced on her head, but perhaps that was simply because she liked her life a bit more active. And thus, he was the train engineer, and she the hunter. But from what she had gathered about their task, she would not have ventured to bring such a hat even as a train engineer. There was the chance of it getting trampled, which would be such a shame.

    "Well," she continued, looking to the train and back to the other two. "I'd best be getting this stuff onto the train," she said, gesturing to her cart load of cages and other belongings. "I'd be grateful for some help if you gentlemen don't have too much to load onto the train." And with that, she gave the cart a shove toward the train. The cages and boxes jerked, threatening to topple with the sudden impulse.
  12. Mr. Gescheit greeted each of the other members with a firm handshake and a formal "hallo." "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Coulton," Mr. Gescheit said with a hidden smile. "Und danke," he added at the remark of his hat. It was his crowning achievement and he took pride in its magnificence. By all the cages and boxes he figured her to be the hunter of the group. Or maybe a zoologist, but considering they were working with metal beasts, the latter was more sensible. When Mr. Gescheit shook Mr. DeLoch's hand he could feel the rough and callused skin that came from years of work, or in his case, brawling. His grip was strong. "Und du, Mr.DeLoch."

    The two were interesting characters from first sight. A hunter and a pugilist. It was an interesting though; punching metal animals. Mr. Gescheit was curious to see how that would turn out. He was also wondering what the rest of the crew would be like. Perhaps he should have delved into the study of people, rather than trains, but then where would be be then? This was a golden opportunity to improve and practice his skills and knowledge. And a chance for adventure like this was not one you pass up, especially when specially invited. This mission was going to be a challenge, and from what he heard, the train was in grave condition.

    When the mass of cages dared to tumble over, Gescheit was able to stop them, but nearly lost his hat. He went over and stabilized the stack before the worst would happen. His hat wobble a little at the sudden movement, but managed to stay atop his head. It was a bit impractical, the hat, but it was a little bit of home, and turned many heads. Plus the children loved it. It could be compared to a little boy bringing his stuffed bear or ball along. It was his toy.

    With one arm stabilizing the cages and boxes on the cart, and the other holding his luggage, he helped Mrs. Coulton get her items to the train with out incident. Though he wondered what purpose the cages served, was she planning on capturing them? "Mrs. Coulton, what are the die cages für?" he asked with the pipe puffing with each syllable.
  13. "Oh, likewise, my friend! And it is indeed quite the hat you have there!" Victor replied. As magnificent as the hat looked, he had to admit that it looked very uncomfortable to wear, if not for it's weight, then it's stability. Still, he would want one like it, if only to show off a bit.

    "And of course, Mrs. Coulton! Let me just get my own onto the train, and I'll come right back to help you!" He exclaimed, he said, picking up his own briefcases. Yet only moments after he did, he regretted it, as she gave her cart a push, making all her things start to topple. He was about to let go of what was in his hands, before catching himself in what he was about to do. Luckily, Mr. Gescheit managed to save her things.

    He took a deep pull of his cigarette, before stepping onto the train with his things and putting them just inside the door, planning to bring them further when the rest of the things had gotten on as well.

    He quickly came back out though, and looked at all the crates and cages. "Yes, what are they for? I'm sure you could get some of the animals made for you or some such thing?" He asked, before taking his cigarette and giving it a small tap, before putting it back. Then he took a hold of one of the crates and started carrying it onto the train.
  14. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;width:25%;height:25%;"><img src=></div>
    The station was quickly coming alive with activity as the urgent mission was beginning to come together. There were supplies being packed, tools being kept away and people meeting up for the first time and making pleasant talk atop the noise of the train's fiery stomach getting fed for the journey ahead. It was all lost on Gabriele who, despite having promised to himself again and again in front of a mirror, a boiler, his pet lark and the back of the cart driver's head that he would approach Camilla del Bosque, engineer extraordinaire, with a sufficiently professional manner, had managed to get knocked speechless by the sight of her.

    The mere palpably prideful and in some ways endearing gait with which Camilla walked set off the alarm bells in his head. She was walking towards him. He bit his lip. It was all he could do to keep himself composed. Seeing her reminded him of a distant past and getting shoved up a wall. Had it not been for the menagerie of things he carried, his hands would've been visibly trembling, much like his lower lip. It had been far too long since he last exchanged words with Camilla. Even then, those words weren't exactly roses.

    "Still using that inane back crane, I see..." she said, stopping right in front of him. He had to fight the blood that was quickly rising to his face. He looked her in the eye for an instant and immediately averted his gaze. Her eyes, despite her behaviour being more coralled at the moment than usual, still held that fire that was completely and utterly Camilla del Bosque. Was there some sadness and anger too? He couldn't tell.

    "It's good to see you again, Gabriele. It's been a long time. You're looking well..."

    Gulp. Was it just him or was the station getting hot? It was probably the latter. Blasted troglodytes were probably loading too much coal into the furnaces. "Aye, Camilla. It's been... quite some time."

    "You're -- ah -- looking... quite the same. As for the crane, it helps carry my equipment. I think you'd -- ah -- know how important equipment is to me." He wasn't quite as successful with beating away the blush as he had hoped. There was a noticeable pink tinge in his cheeks. The silent moments that followed were unbearable. Hoping to break the awkward silence, he playfully -- at least he hoped he sounded playful -- said "I hope no one brought any wine on this expedition..."
  15. She visibly stiffened at that comment. Of all the things he could say, he had to bring that up. But before she could open her mouth to spit a word at him, she was interrupted by another arrival. Smoothing her features, she turned to the girl."Ah, you must be Ms. Leipzig, correct? A pleasure. If you'd like to get yourself settled in the train with the rest of the group, we'll be with you all in a few moments." She turned her head slightly to watch the assembling group out of the corner of her eye. She wouldn't put it past the company to send someone to spy on them. Maybe this girl here? Was she an ambitious, naïve, young apprentice? She turned back to Gabriele, all former attempts at social banter now gone. She was all business again as she pulled him farther to the side and safely out of earshot.

    "I'm going to be blunt, so do try to pay attention. I can tell what the company is thinking of us, especially of you. We did not part under any illusion of ideal or civil circumstances, but I know the kind of man you are, Gabriele. I know you wouldn't purposely sabotage your own work. For any one or any reason. But I do know that you have a tendency to be too smart for your own good. If it is because of a malfunction due to your endless tinkering with the program, I will not fault you. But don't be under the pretence that others will follow me in my opinion. I wouldn't put it past those snakes in the company to set us up for a fall just to cover their own wrinkled asses. There may be a spy among the group, there may not. But besides that, these are not going to be the animals we remember. They have changed, and they're loose. So for once in your life, use one of those extra eyes of yours to watch your back."

    That said, Camilla turned back and headed for the train, calling to the others in a raised voice. "Time is wasting, good ladies and gentlemen. I believe it's time that we packed up and got ourselves underway. We will have to save the rest of our getting acquainted for the train ride."
  16. Nellie exhaled deeply when Mr. Gescheit helped stabilize the situation. It had been a good decision to seek out the group first rather than just try to shove everything onto the train herself. She meet a couple of the others, and if she were any judge, she would guess that they would work well together. Perhaps it wouldn't be the jovial sort of working together, but they were here as professionals in their fields after all.

    Nellie laughed good-heartedly at Mr. DeLoch's suggestion as she loaded some of her more personal items on board. Then again, having one of the mechanical animals would be rather amazing. She would just have no where to put it and no way to maintain it. And given this recent development of rouge animals, she certainly didn't want to deal with the consequences if that happened under her watch. "Not at all. Most of what I have brought, including the cages, I'm hoping not to use, but I doubt that will be the case from what I've heard," she started explaining as she started loading her belongings onto the train. "I figured having them caged may be easier for the engineers to work with, but we might need to transport some animals to their home locations. And if we did need to bring any of them back with us, I'd much rather it be in a cage." Sure, they could remove the power supply and that'd be just the same probably, but what if they couldn't reach the power supply? Well, she supposed that was why they had someone like Mr. DeLoch with them.

    As she loaded the rest of the equipment, cages and all, Miss del Bosque returned and rather strongly suggested they get themselves and their belongings onto the train as if they hadn't started already. It had always grated on her when people told her to do as she was already doing. She had always taken it as a sign of distrust, but this was early. They had just met, and there were others on the trip as well, she reasoned to herself.

    "That's the last of it," she announced with a happy sigh, looking from the empty cart to the men. "Thank you, both of you."
  17. Mizierna smiled and looked at the convincing Camilla. "Yes, I am Miss Leipzig. Nice to meet you."

    Then, she turned to Mr. Gescheit and smiled. "What a lovely hat. Where did you get it?" To Mizierna, it looked like something CJ or the eccentric Real composed. Mizierna undoubtedly knew there would be others going to the Kynvettian Plain, but Mizierna had to look around for others as she peered into the crowd as to see what kind of mission they were planning. Mizierna then saw that there were others boarding the train. Mizierna looked around at the others, and looked at the list of names on an old, grimy piece of paper Real gave her. The cages were empty, but Mizierna knew that they would need them soon.

    The writing appeared in scribbles, and it would be hardly enough to be comprehensible. Mizierna merely shrugged at the paper and just went along with the others, still keeping to herself. Mizierna then held up one of her scarabs and let it fly around.
  18. Damn. Damn. Crap. Hell! No. NO!

    He was late. This was unbecoming for someone that was supposed to be on a rescue squad. At a moments notice, everything could come crashing down, and Don might just miss it. Being fashionably late would be his only explanation. Then again, Don really did look good in this particular blue business suit. Hopefully, no one watched rugby here, otherwise they might not let this beginning mishap to go unnoticed.

    The couple of held travel bags swung, with every athletic stride. Transport was in sight and he still had a chance to make it. Everyone had started to board and were poised to take off to the accident site. He ran up to the entryway, just as one of the employees slipped by.

    "Ma'am." He said softly before getting on.
  19. <div style="float:right;margin-left:8pt;width:25%;height:25%;"><img src=></div>
    "Camilla" he said, eyebrows knotted in frustration, as the woman walked away towards the train. He threw up his hands and sighed.

    Despite knowing that it was only a matter of time before it happened, Gabriele certainly hadn't expected a verbal slap in the face from Camilla so soon after their less-than-warm reunion. Then again, going against her normal volatile Del Bosque fashion, she had had the grace to drag him aside, well out of earshot. Not that it was a good thing, he mused, as he rubbed his arm where Camilla's slender fingers had dug into the flesh. Had Camilla Del Bosque, the most fiery, abrasive and rash of the original development team just made a political manoeuvre? He shook his head. It had been a long time since he last saw the headstrong woman, and definitely much longer since he had felt that vice-like grip of hers.

    He hefted his bags and adjusted his back-crane again before walking towards the train and boarding, taking note, for the first time, of the other individuals that he could only assume were a part of the expedition to save the tour that had been lost to rampaging automatons. Until that moment, Gabriele was just utterly stumped as to why the animals would behave in such a way. They weren't programmed in any manner that allowed for them to leave their respective habitats, much less attack and derail a train. Then again, they were programmed to act just as they would in the wild. No, that couldn't have been it. Or could it? He was fairly certain the programming didn't allow for it. But then again, they had not really looked into loopholes in the program. Unwilling to consider that it was a programming mistake, he returned to the only conclusion that made any logical sense: the journalists were lying through their teeth in order to get more widespread readership of their material.

    Moving around the cramped quarters with his so-called "inane" back-crane and two bags filled with tools he simply wasn't willing to put in some musty storage room in the vehicle was proving to be quite the challenge, but he was able to find himself a compartment before long. He set down his things before strolling back out into the corridor to meet the rest of the team, not that he was entirely enthused by the prospect. Regardless, knowing he had been elected as one of the leaders, he knew it was his responsibility, and, if anything Camilla had said was worth going by, only for his own good to get to know the team.

    The first thing that caught his eye was the inane amount of cages and crates that had been brought along by one of the team members. How they thought those puny things could contain the creatures, he could not fathom. The beasts of the safari had been made of the most advanced materials at the time, and could definitely take apart a crate with relative ease and a cage with slightly more effort. Then again, he thought, anything to slow them down if they had indeed gone rogue would be a blessing.

    The second thing, and the one that got him downright giddy was the gaudy hat on the older gentleman's head. It was a truly marvelous thing, both aesthetically, and, he suspected, mechanically. He quickly approached them to better acquaint himself with the rest of the team, noting to himself to find Camilla after the whole affair. "That is --ah-- a fantastic hat, sir" he offered warmly to the Mr. Gescheit. "If --ah-- we find some time after all this ruckus is done, you must tell me how it works."

    "Ah. How rude of me" he said, looking at Mrs. Coulton, Mr. DeLoch and Mr. Gescheit in turn, "I am Gabriele Verrazzano it's --ah-- a pleasure to meet you."
  20. "Hey, I was hired for my strength! And how could I refuse helping a lady?" Victor said loudly as Nellie thanked them.

    His attention was quickly taken by the new arrival, who introduced himself as Gabriele Verrazzano. Victor held out a large hand to the rather frail looking man. "Victor DeLoch! It's truly my pleasure! For you are THE Verrazzano, right? The man behind making these marvelous mechanical beasts? The man who might have made it possible for me to truly test my mettle against some terrifying beasts! Or am I mistaken? Because that would truly be a embarrassing thing to be wrong about." He said with a grin, as he shook the man's hand.

    "Now, let's find some seats, shall we?" He asked, not really waiting for a answer from the man, before he started moving from the cargo cart and towards the passenger carts.