Thinia's Lament

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Revision, May 15, 2012.

  1. [​IMG]

    The star chateau of Lady Thinia d’Or was lavish, replete with costly artwork, beautiful stained glass windows, and even a solarium through which artificial sky could be viewed, looking like a sunny day in the countryside. Some of the windows were of beautiful, pale stained glass, through which the stars themselves provided the backdrop of heavenly scenes. Others were simple ports through which the planet Benediction and its moon could be glimpsed. Still others shone with the created countryside. These grew more common the closer one got to the solarium.

    The visitors were met in the docking bay, their ships or hired transport housed while they were lead into the chateau proper. The observant among them would notice something the size of a small ship and draped in a rather large tarp before they crossed the threshold into the huge chateau ship.

    The elegance and artwork were nothing to scoff at. In fact, the lady had more means at her disposal than one of her station should, if the elegance and craftsmanship of her belongings was to be believed. They passed the marvelous windows, were lead down a hall of gorgeous statues and polished silver mirrors, and finally stepped into the solarium.

    It was more like a greenhouse or garden, full of vital plants and piped birdsong. The chatter of small rodents could be heard on occasion. Willows and oaks spread out through the room, and it seemed to go on for as far as the eye could see, though that may very well have been some trick of the skylight. As they passed through an ivy covered archway, a young page stepped forward. His white clothing shone almost too brightly to look upon, and his hair was nearly as light. The blond child called out.

    “Visitors for the Lady Thinia. Pilot Cecelia Hartell, Master Olan Ternjack, Master Targas Blackstar, Miss Eve Lopez, Doctor Elias VonSerill, and Artisan Master Mario Inez.” The page stepped back, making way for the six to proceed.

    Near a small pond, complete with a tiny waterfall that trickled lazily into the main body of water, was a small arrangement of chairs. Several women lounged on settees or chairs. The most beautiful chaise was unsurprisingly the seat of the most well adorned woman. Long, golden hair was styled atop her head. Where the others wore intricate powdered wigs, her hair was untouched by powder, lace, or wire, worn in a simple bun with a few flowers woven into it. The Lady’s clothing was daring, as well. Her dress was simple, sleek, and the flowing fabric hugged her body in places while draping just enough to conceal modesty. The bodice did not conceal as much, hugging her torso and cut low. Her chest and shoulders were adorned with a few tiny gemstone beauty marks. Of her natural gifts, her eyes were a rather stunning shade of grass green, and her lips were full and held a ready smile. Her hands appeared soft and uncalloused.

    “Welcome to my garden. I suppose you are wondering why you’ve been gathered here.”

  2. Targas takes a respectful bow to the Lady and smiles pleasantly. He is wearing what could pass as formal clothing for an explorer. Black boots, recently polished, and black slacks. His shirt is white with a black vest resting over it.

    "Why yes, m'lady. I am quite intrigued as to why we, mainly myself, have been summoned to your magnificent estate. Surely a letter would have sufficed for anything you required." Targas spoke with a gentle voice, his inquisitive tone trying to shine through.
  3. Olan looks at Targas before shrugging, the all-round question already been asked. He then decides to look around instead, making sure to pay attention to the topic at hand.
  4. Eve was a natural born explorer, and one of the key qualities of being an explorer was seeming confident - even if you weren't. She gazed around the garden, and wondered at the magnificent flowers and other wildlife.

    Finally her eyes lighted upon the Lady Thinia herself and she was awed - she was so beautiful..... "Lady Thinia, if I may speak? I am indeed curious as to why I am here." Eve was just an explorer - a mighty good one at that - but still an explorer who didn't really fit into the world of ladies and lords.

    She brushed her long dark hair out of her face, and waited for the Lady Thinia to speak.
  5. Mario was a long way from home. He had been suspicious about the summons, despite his brother's persistent reassurances that it was going to be a great honor and opportunity for him. A great opportunity and a boost to his ego, sure, but Mario still was suspicious.

    The ship he showed up in was one almost completely built by himself. It was of simple design yet it was something to be respected, the people admiring it's craftsmanship from the outside wouldn't guess it was custom built by the person driving it, not unless they knew who he was. Only some of the people did, he could see that in some of the faces of the people working in the docking bay.

    With his ship ship housed he joined the other players in this mysterious game, as he was sure it would be. Probably one of those political backstabbing situations, and they all were getting sucked into it, probably. As they made their way through the ship Mario couldn't help but admire the craftsmanship of the place, recognizing a couple of the subtle trademarks in the work. Soon enough they came to where they needed to be, in like a very green planty place, Mario was surprised to see trees and hearing birds and maybe some other animals. It was kind of amazing, despite being suspicious of the situation there was room for Mario's professional respect.

    The little albino boy announced them and then moved aside for them to proceed. A couple of the people he was here with bowed formally. Mario himself was semi-formal, wearing a dark brown business jacket with a yellow button up shirt and a dark green tie, his pants were dark brown slacks and like his boots were well broken in. Lady Thinia was quite beautiful, almost too beautiful.

    Mario's arms crossed over his chest, awaiting Lady Thania's answer to the question that had already been asked.
  6. As soon as the power in her ship died, Ce unstrapped herself and jumped out of her seat and scrambled into the back, slamming the door behind her. She didn't have much time before she was supposed to meet Lady Thinia, and while appearing in her pilot's suit would probably be acceptable, it just felt off. To her, it was as off as arriving at church in work clothes. Ce threw off the pilot's suit and shrugged on the black slacks and purple blouse she had prepared earlier. A dress would probably have been more fitting, but she didn't own any and didn't plan on buying one any time soon. She let her hair down and pulled a comb through it quickly before leaving her ship.

    Stepping off her own ship, she looked about the docking bay. No matter how many ports or how many docks she went to, her eyes always wandered. She could never walk past ships with haste, and here was no exception even though she had sped through dressing because she had felt pressed for time. With every ship she saw, it was the same. Did she know the make? Had she flown it before? And if she hadn't, she would wonder at how it would handle. If the ship had clear glass, she'd sneak a look at the controls, but most ships had tinted glass these days.

    Usually, once Ce got past the ships, her speed would pick up, but here she dallied, too, staying near the back of the group of visitors. It was the first time she had been on a ship or any place with such elegance, and though her days with glass were long over, she could not help but admire what was here. It reminded her of the church in Central. She had only been there once as a child, but the concentration and elegance of the art there was hard to forget. Until now, she had not seen equal spendor. Even in her best pants and blouse, she felt out of place. Perhaps she shouldn't have tried.

    She listened as the page called out their names. Eve was easy to place as the only other woman, and one among them was a doctor. Of the others, though, she had only heard of the master artisan, Mario Inez. Which of the four men he was, though, Ce didn't know. One she could pick out, however, was the Lady Thinia. Even if Ce hadn't looked up material on her employer and even if Lady Thinia had hidden amongst the other ladies, Lady Thinia was hard to miss.

    And then the question was asked. Ce nodded, agreeing with the question. She knew why she was here. It wasn't for the money; she had enough. And for once, it wasn't for the adventure for it had been implied that the trip would be simple. Up until this point, Ce's skills as a pilot had been recognized by many, but taking this job meant that the aristocracy recognized it, too. It would open a new set of jobs. Whether or not she would take the rest of them was uncertain, but she had to take the first of them.
  7. Lady Thinia paused for a moment, beckoning a servant over and taking a crystal piece of stemware from the tray the young woman carried. Indulging herself with a sip, she seemed to consider and look over those assembled before answering the question she herself had brought up.

    “Quite the collection the six of you make. I’d honestly not have expected such a variety. At least you are all of suitable appearance and dress to grace this court.” Another sip was taken before the lady offered them a smile. The cup was handed off to one of her ladies in waiting before she gestured at two more servants who brought forth several cushions, setting them in the grass before the assembled nobility. She waited for them to be seated before speaking.

    “The trip I ask you to take is a simple one, as important trips go. There are few hazards, but I must ask you to take a most direct and thus slightly more hazardous route. I trust at least a few of you have heard of the gas giant Crepuslcula.” She did not wait for any form of confirmation. Whether or not they knew of the place was not going to chance the fact that they were going. “In the same system is a dwarf planet by the name of Sanctuaire Lumière. It is an agronomous planet, home to many nuns of a sect who prefer to remain cloistered as well as a small Baronial estate.

    “The most dangerous part of the trip will be a shortcut through a zone of Wild Space called the Shiver Run. You will need to read up on this, for some of the creatures that inhabit it can be dangerous to a ship. Your biggest worry will be the whales that are currently surfacing in that particular zone. They won’t outright attack you unless you threaten their young, but they might very well breech right into your ship if you are not careful.*

    “Once you arrive, you should have little trouble finding the nunnery. The nuns have been instructed to expect you; however, you should do your utmost to respect them and do as asked while you are there. This will likely include staying a few days to prove your worthiness to escort your cargo.

    “As for your cargo, she is less cargo and more passenger. A young woman named Lune. You are to escort her back here to me and from here to the capital. You are to limit conversation with her to general pleasantries and essential information only. Do not pester her with trivial or philosophical questions. She will most likely wish to spend the trip in quiet meditation. If this is the case, you are to trouble her only in emergency and to make sure she is fed and given fresh bedding and clothes.

    “Maps for this trip are already loaded in the ship you will be taking. The trip itself should take about a week each way. I had intended to use one of your own ships, but it occurred that there are many of you with a preference for their particular vehicle and, rather than have bickering, I have acquired a rather speedy little boat for you, along with the papers needed to prove you have the right to fly her and any checkpoint clearances. Simply stay on the path outlined and check in as near to the outlined times as possible. Are there any questions?”

    *Wild Space, as any spacer would know, is a zone of space that acts strangely, permitting creatures from other dimensions to pass through. Very often, they simply die, falling prey to vacuum, but many have the capacity to survive in the strange, soft blue areas of spiderweb-like gasses. These can range from krilllike creatures known as duskmites to large predators like nova hawks and a starfaring creature that most resembles a killer whale. While the predators and certain electromagnetic beasts hold the most immediate threat, small creatures such as the duskmites can inhibit sensor readings and large clouds of Charges (a creature resembling a microscopic pink spider that crackles with electricity) can take the systems of an entire ship down.
  8. Olan quickly looked at the Lady as she explained the mission out of the corner of his eye. When she had finished, he took a single step forward, then quickly bowed. "I have but one question, M'Lady. I doubt I will receive the answer I seek, but what is the reason why you call for six notable, but random people together for what seems to be an off-the-record mission to retrieve a single person? Clearly there must be something big going on." He then backs up to where he was before, his question being asked.
  9. Eve listened intently from her seat as Lady Thinia explained the mission, and her eyes sparkled with the thrill of a new mission. She confidently spoke, "I woud be honoured to complete this mission for you, Milady. I am always ready to go somewhere new, and I will complete it."

    Her fingers twitched towards her star charts in her bag instinctively and she fingered the small golden pin that she kept as a reminder of her family. "When will we leave?"
  10. Cushions. Ce took her time sitting. She would have preferred standing as standing upright was the only way she knew how to interact in her fancy clothes, but at least she had. Ce was fairly certain they (or at least she) were on the far low end of suitable, or the lady would have said nothing at all. Still, she was glad she hadn't just shown up in just whatever. Eventually, she decided to fold her legs half under her, but mostly off to the side. It seemed kind of elegant.

    The trip itself had so many details as so many missions tended to have. What did get her to sit up was the mention of Shiver Run. Never before had any employer ask her go through it. In fact, most missions that even grazed Wild Space usually came with the instruction to avoid it. She had heard stories of Wild Space that could bring fear to lesser pilots, but Ce? She had to admit they had excited her just a bit. She wanted the challenge, and Lady Thinia was asking them to go straight through it. Though Ce hadn't said so much a word to her (presumably) fellow travelers, she wanted to look for their expression now. It somehow seemed improper, though. Instead, Ce just nodded, and tried to keep her excitement to herself. Chances were the others wouldn't be nearly so eager at the thought of Wild Space.

    Who was amongst them? One of them had to be a gunner. It probably wouldn't make a difference if they ran into real trouble, but if there was even just a little, a good gunner would be useful. Maybe she could convince the gunner to shoot one and take chase. Later, though, Ce would want to look at what she had to deal with first. She couldn't say she didn't go looking for danger, but employment was a promise. She would get the job done, and usually, that involved not destroying the ship.

    Their cargo was another passenger. And there were some other details. What was evident, however, was that one of them had to be a diplomat of sorts, and if she had to guess, she would guess one of the first two. They both spoke with many words, which seemed to be a trait of more diplomatic people. That left one person's job unspoken for. Servant for the fresh bedding and food for their special passenger? That seemed silly, but food. A cook wouldn't be amiss. She had been on plenty of trips that didn't have cooks, and they went fine, but they were not nearly as comfortable. Someday, she kept telling herself, she would learn.

    And of course she had questions -- Shiver Run? If they ran into anything in Shiver Run, it would probably take them more time to wiggle out of it than if they had just went around all of Wild Space, and even if they didn't run into anything, going cautiously through Shiver Run might still be slower. Not that she was going to say anything on that point and miss her chance to fly through Wild Space on the job. And the boat? There was that mysterious one that looked like it could pass off as any other ship. She had seen ships ripped apart and put back together, but that one had been crafted. Someone had put in the time and thought as to what pieces should actually go together instead of just slapping what was named the best of the year together. No, probably not. It had to have at least one private room since they were picking up a passenger who liked privacy. The rest of them might be bunked together, but it seemed more likely that there would be at least a couple of private rooms, perhaps all. If the lady wanted to avoid bickering over which ship, it seemed like she would avoid them bickering over which rooms. Her questions would be answered shortly, so Ce simply shook her head. However, her companions did ask penetrating questions. She shot a look from the corner of her eye, but doubted anyone would see. She didn't want to know even if he did.
  11. Mario watched as cushions were brought out for them...cushions. Everyone sat, he had remained standing, but soon he realized that Lady Thinia would only continue when everyone was seated. He lowered himself and put his knees on the cushion and sat back on his legs with his hands on his knees. He shifted around a couple times until he was comfortable; chairs or even stools would have been better. Finally settled he focused through the lenses of his glasses back at Lady Thinia, only for a scowl to touch his face. Shiver Run, and the 'cargo' was a live person.

    One of the group had stepped forward and asked a question, one of the questions Mario had been wondering himself. In an undertone he added
    "Big enough to risk our lives..." Two runs through Shiver Run then to the nunnery, the shortcut through Wild Space didn't seem necessary. They were, nuns were used to waiting. Seemed suspicious, but it could just be that this noble wanted what she wanted as faster as possible which seemed more likely.
  12. "If you fear your life, perhaps you should invest in safer professions?" Till that time, Elias had been silent. He had alighted near the back of the other five, watching them down the length of his thin nose and pausing every now and then to input information into his handheld device. For each, he began constructing a basic psychological profile. He'd been asked to serve as a medical professional aboard this mission and putting aside the unpleasantness with his company, these sorts of summons were pivotal in regaining his good name. When Thinia looked at him, he made a pointed effort to gaze elsewhere, anywhere, but her eyes. They held an uncomfortable weight about them, accusing almost, and pressed down on his shoulders. He could feel their weight, of course, a psychological symptom of...

    VonSerill looked up sharply. It would do no good to dwell on how he felt. He was here in official capacity to render a service, not to dote on his own insecurities and paranoias. The mission, it seemed, was a simple transport...and one that seemed desperate enough to send them through the Shiver Run. So, time was of the essence here. Fast ship, dangerous but short route, no doubt it had something to do with the ailing King...why else would the crew be so small for such a hazardous journey?

    Well, injuries would be a foregone conclusion, of course...if they all didn't perish in the vacuum of space. All though, if it came to that, he'd take his medical ship and brave it on his own...but it wasn't a viable option for the current situation. Never speak of value till the ore is harvested, his father would advise him, Getting ahead of oneself was the mark of hubris. Only the fates knew the was the job of the VonSerill to simply be prepared for the ten most likely results.

    "We are honored to have been chosen, Lady Thinia," Elias spoke between the silences offered by the ends of sentences, "Of course the precise details of the mission are as relevant to us as they are to you, but if you have already given us our objectives I see no reason to indulge further." He didn't so much glare at Olan as stare at him coldly, pushing his glasses up his nose and smiling without a hint of cordiality. "Sir, I'm not sure who you are or where you're from...but ordinarily the employer gives only the information pertinent for the journey. It is not our place to argue the level of information, simply to perform our sworn duty. I'm sure there is an easy replacement for you if you cannot follow the most simple of mission protocol."

    "However," And he looked at Thinia, but not directly at her eyes, more past her, "I would like to know your estimated time table of arrival. When do you expect us back? What is our estimated mission time and desired return date? The captain will need to know in order to set the proper course."
  13. Targas took a look around at the group of people he's with, taking some note as to who they really are or night become. He never really did any missions with a group before, so it might be wise to know the group in some sense. The thing that worries him the most is the Shiver Run. His father told him of stories when he took trips through it, none of them any good with an outcome and usually ending up in the death of a crewmate or escorting ship. Due to these stories and the fear his father instilled in him regarding that area, he never partook in a Shiver Run mission. There was nothing in there for him to map out but with his father's expertise on his maps, some of the old migratory paths of dangers may still be somewhat true.

    "M'lady, my father had been through the Shiver Run many times and was able to map some of the old migratory paths that the whales and Charges used to take. If you have any more up to date maps from a xenobiological firm that I can compare them to, it may prove to be of great help to us. Furthermore, the star system is what, twelve parsecs or so beyond the veil? So why take the risk of a more or less unprotected ship? Surely there are EM Capacitors that we can outfit to the ship." Targas spoke with a knowing yet inquisitive tone, betraying only that his fear of the place is his deterrent.
  14. If the Lady was offended by the impertinent questions, she barely showed it. However, she did not answer many of them, reserving her words for only the questions involving time.

    “You are to leave as soon as you have your gear transferred to the Talisman, the ship that shall be provided for your journey. As for a time table, I do believe that a week either way should give you plenty of time. Your passenger will be ready when you arrive. If you do not think the risk is worth the reward, or are at all doubtful of your own skills, I bid you step down now.” She waited a moment, looking each of them in the eye before nodding. The young Lady had a powerful gaze, it was said. “The tools you will need, including maps, shielding, and food are on the ship or stored in memory banks, as is any further information that it is vital for you to have. You may all go. The Talisman can be found in the hangar bay.”

    The ship itself had been brought out of hiding by the time they were escorted back to the bay. It’s tarp removed, it glittered darkly against the grey and exhaust scarred bay floor and walls. It was a small, sleek boat, armored well. If looks were anything to go by, it was a hybrid of a Darkphantom IV and some homebrewed design, but sat crouched with all the elegance and tension of a well muscled wildcat. The black hull would make it hard to see, especially with the sharp angles and reflective plating that would make it shimmer like its own starry night. The engines were Domineer Aspects. Domineer’s were known to be powerful, and with the ship’s design and size, she’d no doubt be not only fast but have quick turnover for accel/decel. The only true let down would be the lack of weapons. Not a single gun, cannon, or turret disrupted that sleek design. She’d have to withstand or outrun anything she came across.

    As they approached, the doors to the ship opened and the boarding plank came down. The insides were cream and pale blue, a great contrast to the hull. The ramp itself was a flat black, designed more for traction of the crew than for any great beauty. The Talisman was a marvel of utility and beauty, luxury vessel and fortress.

  15. Targas gave the ship a solid look over and nodded. "She will have to do," he thought to himself. He looks to the Lady and gave a nod to her as a sign of acknowledgement.

    "I'll be ready to leave at your earliest convienience, M'Lady."

  16. Mario remained where he was wen Lady Thinia told them to leave if they felt they wanted to. His eyes squinted as her gaze swept over him. Finally when she was satisfied they left to the hanger.

    Mario stared at the ship with professional scrutiny. His brown eyes gleaning all the details of the thing that he could, taking it apart in his mind. Some of the design he had seen elsewhere, but other aspects of it must have been custom. His fingers became twitchy and he crossed his arms over his chest. It wouldn't do to take the ship apart right now, even though he had his tools with him.

    It was a fine craft. Be that as it may, Mario had a feeling he could make it perform even better than it looked like it would. He went over some of the parts he had had in his ship and wondered if it was wise to tinker with what might be an official government vehicle. His pride insisted it would be fine.
  17. Ah, details. Ce nodded, committing them to memory. While they were important, she at the same time recognized that she would never have asked on her own. For shipping trips, timing was important, but even then, she never asked. The way she figured, employers would offer up the information with the job if it was important. When she stood, she bowed, a silent agreement to the job.

    Now, her thoughts were trained entirely on the Talisman and what it could be. Presumably, the ship chosen would be worth of Wild Space. The Lady had been knowledgeable to inform them of the danger, and even if Lady Thinia could not choose a ship herself, she would certainly know someone who could. It would have to be large enough to house all of them comfortably for two weeks while either armored enough to withstand Wild Space or swift enough to outrun the worst of it. Ce knew she could make nimble even the beefiest, slowest ships, but given the choice, she'd pick a quick boat. Outrunning and outgunning was more her style.

    The actual Talisman was, well, someone knew their ships. Armored, but not to the point of sacrificing grace. It was hard to tell without actually jumping in the ship, but Ce had a hunch that it would handle just fine. It wouldn't take muscle and guts to get this ship going where she wanted, just a gentle nudge here or there. The boarding plank came down then, but Ce ignored it. Instead, she walked up to the ship, checking it out from a closer distance. The ship vaguley reminded her of the original Darkphantom, but that had been years ago. The original had had more armor and though it also had a sleek, streamlined look, had handled relatively poorly. But she hated to judge a ship before she got to fly it.

    "Can't wait to get you in the sky," she mutterd, patting the ship. Ce turned back toward the group. "Best get my stuff," she said, "Meet you all on board." She took the long way around back to her own ship just so that she could circle the Talisman. It was important to understand the physicality of the ship. She had run across her share of pilots who thought flying was all about pointing to a location and going there, but there was so much more to the art. Especially on a run through Wild Space, it was important to know just what she could get away with. How close could she shave a rock or a whale?

    One thing did stand out in particular. There were no exposed guns and as far as she could tell, there were no hidden hatches for guns. The closest piece that could even be considered a weapon were the Domineers, and there was no way she would risk damaging the engine on purpose. The Domineers would certainly give enough power, and body looked like it would sail well. The only question remaining, then, was if the software could handle the two together. Sluggish software could make even the sleekish ship move at a snail's pace.

    It didn't take her long to gather her stuff. The drawers of her ships doubled as suitcases. She pulled out her two drawers, shoved her pilot's suit in one of them and then checked the ship from front to back, top to bottom. It would be a couple of weeks before she saw the ship again, and she honestly didn't know Lady Thinia well enough to know if her ship would be in good hands while she was gone. Then again, Lady Thinia had presented them with a decent looking boat. Perhaps the lady could be trusted with her boat. Nevertheless, Ce triple checked the software and hardware locks on her ship before stepping off again.

    Two bags, two weeks, a mystery crew, and a run through Wild Space. Ce couldn't help but smile. Mission or not, this would be fun.
  18. Eve gathered her few other belongings from her own small ship, the cogs of her mind working overtime. This could be the biggest mission of her life, but if she messed this up, it would be the end of her explorer career. It was the precipice, and one wrong move could send her over the edge.

    She gathered her stuff, and returned to the boat that Lady Thinia had provided. She glanced around at everyone esle - her new crew. These people were those with whom she would have to co-operate for the next amount of time, so she would have to work with them well from the start.