The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:07 am

Etheria - 1987
Shaftsbury Avenue, The Crown Capital.


A PRELUDE TO WAR

The midday sunshine glared in through the tall arched windows creating sharp-edged stripes of brightness across the deep blue carpet and dark oak furnishings.
The sunshine was a deception though, for outside the temperature was below freezing and the people in the street four storeys below were wrapped in heavy coats, scarves and gloves.

A large shadow crossed the windows as a zep-car drifted swiftly passed the office’s windows.

Inside the office, aside from the crackle of a burning log in the open hearth, the only sound came from the man-behemoth standing in the centre of the room, a deep frown on his round, heavily moustached face. It was a hissing sound, a combination of the man’s breathing and the hiss of hydraulics as the giant mechanically enhanced man fidgeted angrily.

“Well?” the huge man demanded vehemently.

The man to whom the anger was directed was sitting behind a large oak desk, the top of which was inlaid with a deep blue leather that matched the colour of the carpet.
Startlingly slighter than the suited giant, this man was by no means rake-thin. His posture was well held and not remotely reacting to the ferociousness of the giant’s tone. He had blond hair, cut and combed immaculately, his expensive suit was equally immaculate.
He had been going through several very tedious documents when the cyborg had arrived unannounced. He was not however going to let the gentleman before him know their unexciting nature and had adopted the attitude of someone who was most put out to be interrupted.
He carefully placed the pen he had been holding down onto the desktop and met the man’s fierce gaze.
“Well, what?” he asked in a calm, well-spoken manner.
“Well what?” the big man repeated in apparent outrage. “Well what do you say about the situation?” he added as though it were glaringly obvious.
“Well my first thoughts are; don’t you go taking that attitude with me, Commander.” The gentleman raised his eyebrows in way of admonishment.
There was an audible hiss as the tension eased in the big man’s hydraulic limbs.
“Sorry, Lord Reynolds. I’m just so damned frustrated,” Commander von Stauffenberg said stiffly.
“And you can drop the formal crap too!”
“Sorry Seb.” Von Stauffenberg said to his business partner. “So, what do you think?”
Lord Sebastian Reynolds stood silently and walked over to a cabinet on top of which were several tumblers and a decanter containing a singular scotch to which he knew the big British secret Service man was rather partial.
He filled a glass to the top and passed it to the big man who grinned appreciatively and took a giant swig.
“Better?” the Baron of Roborough asked.
“Better!” von Stauffenberg agreed.
“So let me get this straight,” Reynolds said, pausing to pour himself a drink.
“Your agency caught a man stealing secret papers from Whitehall. Your investigation has uncovered his contact, who is none other than Herr Greiger, the German consulate’s Chief of Staff.”
“Yes!” von Stauffenberg confirmed.
“And you know that this man whom you have caught has already passed on official British documents to Herr Greiger?”
Again von Stauffenberg answered in the affirmative.
“And you have petitioned the home secretary to grant you permission to arrest the German, but he won’t do it purely on the evidence of your caught spy, because of the already unsteady relationship between our two countries.”
Von Stauffenberg nodded. “Yes. He says we need to get actual proof that he’s the contact before he’ll start any sort of diplomatic proceedings. Trouble is, we need that permission before we can go into the embassy and get any of that evidence in the first place.”
“An awkward catch-twenty-two scenario you have there my friend,” Reynolds said.
“And the Krauts aren’t happy about my accusations, or the fact that they think I am harassing their staff, so I’m getting it in the ear now from the Home Office and my boss,” von Stauffenberg moaned.
“Well I wouldn’t worry too much old boy!” Reynolds said flippantly.
“Don’t worry?” von Stauffenberg would have spat out his scotch if it wasn’t for the fact that that would be an awful waste of god whiskey. “It’s national bloody secrets we’re talking about. Not the sort of information we want the Kaiser to be getting his hands on.”
Reynolds nodded I agreement. “I’m not sure I’d call it a national secret, but I know she doesn’t like to spread it around much,” he said.
Von Stauffenberg gave the Baron a quizzical look. “What? Who doesn’t like to spread what around? What are you talking about?”
“Mrs Morris,” came the reply.
“Morris?” von Stauffenberg asked bemused. He knew her to be Reynolds’ cook at his Knightsbridge town-house.
“Still,” Reynolds went on, “I think she will be the least upset person when the German Secret Police discover they have gone to great lengths to acquire, what is arguably one of the best recipes for home-made Cornish pasties this side of the Tamar!”
Von Stauffenberg turned on Reynolds. “Are you mad?”
“Debateable,” Reynolds replied with a grin. “However, not as mad as the consulate Chief of Staff will be when you hand the Home Secretary this….”
Reynolds extracted a large brown envelope from his desk drawer and handed it to his friend.
“Your missing documents, and one or two others that I think more than implicate your suspect.”
Von Stauffenberg stood mouth agape for quite some time as he flicked through the papers.
“I don’t believe it!” he muttered. “How the hell did you?.....”
“There’s ways and means, old boy, ways and means. Of course, I shall remain anonymous in this whole affair, I expect.”
The British agent nodded, “Of course, sir, of course!”
He turned to leave then remembered himself and turned back on his friend.
“Thank you, Sebastian.”
Reynolds shrugged nonchalantly. “You’d better get those to Parliament before someone notices my little exchange and skips the country.”
“Right you are!” von Stauffenberg said boisterously and walked away, his mechanical legs carrying him in great strides that shook the floor and made the glasses on the drinks cabinet chink.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:13 am

Lord Reynolds stared blankly at an equally empty page. By God, there was only so much tedium he could take in one afternoon.
He put his suit coat and hat on and closed his office door behind him.
It was just after four in the afternoon and already the Magdalene’s doors were open and people of all walks of life were visiting one of three different venues within the old building.
The cabaret hall was always the most popular place this early in the day with various local ‘warm-up’ acts providing the entertainment before the main event later in the evening.
The cabaret was good, but what Sebastian Reynolds was looking forward to tonight was a performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Moscow Ballet Company.
The Czar’s great-niece would be performing as Odette, which was a great privilege to see.
Reynolds had extended an invitation to the daughter of the Earl of Falmouth to join him for the performance, but the train had been delayed leaving Plymouth and so far no word had come from Emma.
Reynolds didn’t want to go home to Knightsbridge, for that would thrust him into the clutches of his Aunt Catherine and the ghastly, sallow faced, Imelda Partingdon-Smythe, whom Catherine seemed determined to set him up with this week.
It seemed the infernal woman had now made it her sole task in ensuring that the Reynolds line had an heir.
It was a sentiment that Sebastian whole-heartedly agreed with, but the mother of said heir would be of his own choosing.
Still, it was easier to let the formidable form of his mother’s sister go about her task unmolested, with him smiling and conversing politely with the plethora of potential mates she brought with her on her many visits to London.
Of course, if she were to learn that he had refrained from returning home that evening because he had a date with the daughter of an Earl, then it was likely that she would whisk Miss Partingdon-Smythe away in the morning and be happy about it.

Reynolds followed a small crowd of sailors into the cabaret hall and made his way back-stage to check on the performers. There was no need really, the stage manager had it covered.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:14 am

Paige Holt walked up the steps to the grand, ornate doors into the Magdalene Theatre.
The door man gave the young woman dressed in a maids uniform under her thick woollen coat an odd sort of look as though he were surprised to see someone like her here. She felt a little insulted as there were all sorts of people frequenting the various establishments on Shaftsbury Avenue.
Ignoring his stare she pressed on into the foyer and pushed through to the ticket booths.
“Which show miss?” the teller asked.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see a show, I’m here to see Lord Reynolds,” Paige told the attendant.
“So are a great many people, honey. He’s a busy man.”
“I’m sorry but I must see him, now,” Paige said.
The woman frowned, mistaking Paige’s Canadian accent for American. She didn’t like Americans; brash, vulgar, obnoxious and full of their own piss and importance, in her opinion.
“No chance tonight, missy!” the woman said, creases of amusement forming in the corners of her eyes.
“I must insist,” Paige implored.
“And I still say no. now, if you want to buy a ticket, pay up, else get out of line.” She gave Paige a wide but very false smile that pretty much told Paige where to go without saying so many words.
Paige bristled. Her hand shot through the opening in the teller’s window and grabbed the collar of the woman’s uniform. She yanked with all her might, smashing the woman’s face against the glass.
The teller screamed, the couple in the queue behind Paige gasped and someone in the crowd yelled for help.
“Stuck up bitch!” Paige hissed, ignoring the furore developing around her.

Whistles blew and men in the deep red liver of the Magdalene rushed in from one side, while two men in the dark blue of London’s constabulary approached from the other.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:15 am

Baron Roborough shook hands once more with the Moscow Royal Ballet’s manger and the choreographer and bade them to ‘break a leg’, to which both men smiled humorously and nodded.
As Reynolds moved swiftly towards the door he noticed one of his ushers trying to get his attention.
“My Lord!” the usher announced as Reynolds approached. “There has been an altercation at the ticket booths, sir. A young lady has assaulted one of our tellers. Apparently she wanted to see you but wouldn’t buy a ticket.”
“Wanted to see me, specifically?” Reynolds asked.
“I believe so sir.”
“Does this young lady have a name?”
“No, sir,” the usher replied, then thought how stupid that sounded so corrected himself. “Well yes, sir, probably, but not one I know, sir.”
“And where is she now, Hornby?”
“In the foyer sir. Two of our doormen and a couple bobbies have her.”
“And the teller is hurt?”
The man shrugged. “More her pride than anything else by the looks of her.”
“Very well, Hornby. Let them know I shall be there shortly.”
The usher nodded and turned away whilst Reynolds headed for the toilets.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:41 pm

Reynolds came to the top of the stairs that led from the upper hall level down to the foyer and spotted the small group instantly.
There were two very stern looking policemen and two slightly bored looking doormen, all four of whom were casting pitying glances at the angry young woman in their midst.
The was nineteen years old, tall and slender and with an innocent purity to her beauty. Her long deep red hair was tied up in a bun and tucked neatly into her maid’s cap.
Reynolds gave a small chuckle.
If anyone was going to get into a scuffle with one of his tellers, it would be Paige Holt.
He stopped, unnoticed by the group and watched her.
Most teenage girls, still in their employer’s uniforms would be a little demure and humble, apologising to anyone who would hear her, but not this one. She had adopted a defiant posture, scowling, arms folded defensively across her chest.
Paige Holt was a capable girl, and it wouldn’t surprise Reynolds to see if she were to suddenly launch herself at one of these men and wrestle them to the ground.
What Paige lacked in physical size and strength she made up for in sheer tenacity.

If Reynolds was not the person he was, if he was just plain old Jimmy Ambrose; thief, then Paige Holt would be the sort of girl he’d go for.
But he wasn’t, he was Lord Sebastian Reynolds, the Baron of Roborough; gentleman thief!
Even so, she was one hell of an attractive woman, and the two had been through a few scrapes together, which meant he cared for Paige immensely, and sometimes found it difficult to be completely fair with his household staff!

Making his way down the stairs he approached the constables.
“Gentlemen!” he said amiably. “What seems to be the problem?”
Paige brightened at the sound of his voice. “Lord Reynolds!” She moved towards him and one of the doormen grabbed her.
“Get off me!” Paige said trying to push the man away.
“It’s all right, Paige,” Reynolds said and she calmed instantly, as did the doorman.
“You know the young miss, sir?” asked one of the policemen.
“I do. She’s from my household staff, constable.”
“Ah!” the policemen said a degree of understanding settling in. “Well sir,” he went on, “there has been an altercation between your maid here and one of your tellers.”
Reynolds nodded sharply and turned to face the young woman. “What happened Paige?”
“I asked to see you and she wouldn’t let me in,” Paige explained pointing to a member of the theatre staff that Reynolds hadn’t noticed before.
“Why didn’t you let her in to see me?” Reynolds asked the teller who looked suddenly nervous.
“Well sir, lots of people tries that, and just come in without paying. I dint know who she was.”
“You didn’t ask?” Paige objected.
“You dint tell!” the teller retorted back.
“Enough!” Reynolds said sternly to both women. Christ, he thought, I shouldn’t need to be babysitting my bloody staff. If he thought objectively about Paige then she could be a little fire cracker when she wanted to be, however she was normally good at reading a situation and behaving accordingly.
He called for the front office manager to come over and as he waited he said to the policemen, “Thank you, constables, there will be no charges pressed on this occasion.”
“Right you are, sir!” one of the bobbies said and both departed.

He spent a few minutes reiterating how he expected his staff to behave no matter who they were talking to.

Once he had dealt with that issue, Reynolds turned to Paige and asked her what brought her across London on a cold winter’s night.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Tue May 01, 2012 6:31 am

It had been two things that had forced Paige out of a nice warm house and into the still, but bitterly cold early evening.
Both had been letters.
The first was marked ‘URGENT’, and had been telegraphed from Plymouth.
Before he even read it, Reynolds’ heart sank.
Sure enough, it was a message from Emma saying that the line had been damaged by a falling tree, therefore she wouldn’t be in London this weekend.
Damn it, he thought silently. He’d have to go home and spend the evening with Aunt Catherine and the abomination she’d brought with her.

The second letter changed that. It was from an old friend, Damien van Locke, a man of Dutch South African descent and whose illicit occupation paralleled that of Reynolds’ secretive life.
Van Locke had more than once enlisted the help of Jimmy Ambrose, the last time being a massive bullion heist several years back. The heist went south when one of their team double-crossed them.
In the end it had been a big pay-out and had left the Reynolds family sitting pretty beyond even their already massive wealth.
Initially though the episode had left Reynolds on the run and massively out of pocket, and van Locke languishing in an African prison minus the bottom half of his right leg.
It taken a few weeks of planning but Reynolds had returned, at great personal risk, to break van Locke out. He then went on to track down the double-crossing bastard and stole back the gold, leaving the culprit in no position to come calling for it again.

Van Locke wanted to meet in a pub in town at ten-thirty, which meant there was little point returning to Knightsbridge now.
Reynolds remembered Paige and saw her standing a little way off trying not to make her interest look too obvious.
“Do you have plans for this evening?” he asked.
“Me?” she said surprised. “No, just dust around a few of the guest bedrooms and take the clean linen upstairs.”
“Good,” Reynolds smiled. “Would you care to accompany me to the ballet this evening?”
Paige beamed. “Really?”
Reynolds shrugged. “Of course. But you probably won’t want to wear your work clothes. I’m sure Violet will have something more appropriate for you down in the wardrobe. Pick something nice and expensive.”
“Wow!” was all the young woman could muster.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Tue May 01, 2012 6:32 am

The performance from the Royal Moscow Ballet was, of course, as exemplary as Reynolds had known it would be, and his company for the evening was equally as charming.
She scrubbed up well, as the slightly vulgar saying went.
The few times he had seen her outside of his household environment had been on board her father’s vessel, the Waterwitch.
There she lived the same rugged lifestyle her shipmates di, albeit with the advantage of being the captains daughter.
Then in Knightsbridge she was very respectful and grown-up and quite serious for one so young.
But seat in the darkened theatre, watching swan lake, she had been no more than a little girl, staring in abject fascination, laughing , crying, and utterly captivated with the performance.
Reynolds spent most of the time watching her expressions as he did the dancing and in fact got the greater pleasure from putting the smile on her face.

After the show she had been so grateful that she’d thrown her arms around his and kissed his cheek.
Moments later she’d nearly died of embarrassment and couldn’t apologise enough.
He shrugged it off, complaining that not nearly enough pretty women kissed his cheeks these days, which just threw her into further hysterics.

He sent her home in a Zep-Cab, another thrill for her.

Later that night a man dressed in old grubby clothes, a frayed bowler hat and a thick woollen working coat slipped unnoticed from a rear door of the theatre.
The man went by the alias of Jimmy Ambrose took a ground cab to the Stargazer’s Rest.
He was there for a little over ten minutes before the hobbling form of van Locke entered the busy pub and found his old friend.
He sat heavily on the bench seat opposite Reynolds and groaned. The wooden prosthetic was very heavy and uncomfortable compared to the stainless, aluminium and latex one he normally wore.
“It’s so damned backwards here,” van Locke complained.
“You are a little far from home,” Reynolds commented, knowing that although the dates were not too far apart, technology was a whole different story on the South-African’s homeworld; cities of steel, glass and chrome.
Reynolds bought van Locke a beer.

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Re: The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by Keeper » Tue May 01, 2012 6:33 am

The pub was crowded despite the late hour, which suited both men well – less of their conversation would be overheard due to the general din.
“So why the visit, Damien?” Reynolds asked after a little more small talk.
“I have a job you might be interested in,” van Locke replied.
Reynolds shook his head. “I work alone these days, Damien, you know that.”
“You will be. Hear me out Jimmy please.”
There was something in the way he said it that caught the gentleman-thief’s attention.
“okay,” he said.
“There’s a gut who lives elsewhere. He’s a huge fan of memorabilia and collectables. Right now there’s a document he wants to add to his collection, badly.”
“How badly?”
“Oh make you sick badly!” van Locke replied.
Reynolds sighed, a pensive look upon his face. “I work alone and for me only on this kind of job.”
“You haven’t heard me out yet, my friend.”
Reynolds conceded.
“This collector has hired a man who has a reputation for knowing people who can acquire things. That man’s name is Sciven.”
Reynolds sat up at this. Sciven had been the man who van Locke had used to put together a crew for their nearly failed gold heist.
The turncoat was someone Sciven had brought in, someone no one else on the crew knew, but the fixer had vouched for him.
Although neither man could prove it, they both believed Sciven was in on the double-cross, it just didn’t make sense else.
“Sciven has hired some folks to try to get hold of it. One lot have failed already. I suggest we go get it ourselves. Well, you anyway. Interested?” van Locke asked.
“I am now. I’m always interested in a little pay-back.”
“Well, this is me paying you back a little for saving my arse, mate. Should be a nice little earner.”
“I take it you’ve worked this one up already?” the baron asked.
Van Locke looked sheepish.
“Kinda!” he said with a pained expression.
“Explain,” Reynolds said.
“Well, it’s the timing really, well that and the location.”
“Why does it sound like the two major factors affecting this job are an issue?”
“That’ll be cos the are!”
Reynolds sat back and folded his arms in mock annoyance, making van Locke squirm even more.
“Right, we know from history where the papers will be on a certain date, after that they disappear. It’s their rarity that makes them valuable, co after 1945 no one sees them again.”
Despit it being 1986 on Etheria, as the Infinity types had labelled this Earth, Reynolds was very aware that his world didn’t follow the Earth-normal timeline and history recorded by Infinity and their Homeline.
What he wasn’t so sure on was Earth-normal history post the 1870’s.
“Remind me what happened in 1945?”
Reynolds listened quietly as van Locke gave him an overview of the early to mid-twentieth century and the two major wars that dominated that history.
“Okay, so where do I find these papers?” the peer asked.
Van Locke grinned sheepishly once more. “Berlin, just as the Russians are attacking. It’s the dying days of the German’s war effort, but boy is it brutal. And it’s also in three days time.”
“Three!” Reynolds almost shouted, momentarily attracting the attention of most of the pub, but the patrons went back to their own business when they realised there wasn’t going to be a punch-up.
“Are we good?” van Locke probed.
“Yes,” Reynolds replied, though he wasn’t really sure he was.
“Good, cos I know this Russian swagman…..”

Three days later Sebastian Reynolds and Samuel Brocklesby were in hell, or Berlin, neither of them could be one hundred per cent sure.

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The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by arcanus » Sun May 13, 2012 10:32 am

Etheria II 1986 – The Crown Capital
The Lambeth Rookery hadn’t changed in two centuries, in reality it had stagnated in its own filth, buildings had grown to accommodate the dispossessed.
The Crown had cleared the Central East End including White Chapel, extending the City whilst purging the physical taint of the murderous Nineteenth Century, however the poor couldn't be entirely shipped off to the Metropolis.

Hence the Rookery had sprang up South of the river in Lambeth.

Samuel Brocklesbury looked distinctly uncomfortable, they'd left the Rolls in safer streets and caught a Hanson as far as it would take them, the Lambeth line started where the peelers stopped being Flesh and Blood and became armored Cogs.

He surveyed the streets, noting the dozen or so shadowy figures, dealers, Toms and worse plying their degenerate trade, Jimmy knocked upon the buttoned wooden door again, Sam noticed that his foot was beginning to tap impatiently.

Finally the ramshackle door opened cautiously, a quiet exchange and the door opened quickly to admit them, closing just as rapidly.
The figure before them was dressed far too smartly for Lambeth, certainly not Savile Row but a cut above the locals, a mop of jet black hair atop Latin features.
They followed him down a flight of spiraling stone stairs into the bowels of the building, entering a sanctum through a large steel door, Sam noted the interlaced faint blue lines of light that warded the entrance.

The chamber before them was a circular workshop, containing an array of workbenches and Babbage consoles, the walls of the chamber lined by wooden gantry’s leading to makeshift libraries.

The figure busied himself for some moments, before Jimmy Ambrose became impatient again.
“Horatio, what have you got”
The latin figure almost stood to attention, grinning from ear to ear
“Certamente” He replied with a bow
Horatio sat at a console, allowing Jimmy to step in behind him.
In a deep Florentine accent he began

“It was a, slightly complicated, your request – however A came up with theese”
Jimmy leaned closer and looked the green cathode screen, the thief may not have understood what he looked at, but the Educated personality beneath fully comprehended the Babbage Code to a point.
That point being where Jimmy frowned
“Ah, I see your perplexment” Horatio said with a degree of satisfaction
“Perhaps a demonstration will serve better!”
He stood ejecting a small case from the gilt edged console, opening it to reveal a small rectangular tab, which he extended to Jimmy on an open palm.

“Be a warned, once you’ve taken it you’re a English will be not good for a time and you will ave a eadache”
Jimmy looked warily at the Italian programmer, before popping the tab into his mouth, he shuddered as moments later it took effect, sending a jolt of pain through his temple
For the next five minutes Jimmy rambled on in accented German.

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The Chronicles of a Gentleman

Post by arcanus » Sun May 13, 2012 12:55 pm

Etheria II 1986 – St Petersburg, Tsarist Russian Empire
It occurred to Sam that it seemed the pair of them spent a considerable amount of time beneath the ground these days.
The following morning they stood within the deepest vaults of the St Petersburg catacombs, the trip had been gut wrenching flown by one of the new Portal Jets across Europe in under 7 hours, they’d slept the day and assembled in the evening for shipping out.

Jimmy stood on the upper gallery beside the man who Sam thought was the organiser of this trip, he turned his attention to the brass sphere encapsulated within a series of concentric rings, ominously venting green gasses which were fortunately sucked away by extraction fans.

Van Horn turned to Ambrose, who was dressed in rugged outdoor attire complete with a trilby, he’d just given him a run down on the local situation, following providing him with a very brief written summary this morning.
“I checked with the techs, there not sure whether the Tabs will work on the other side, their Etherian science and may require Luminescent Ether to function”
Ambrose grunted “Their best guess?”
“They think that it depends on the amount of native Ether within your system, and could have unpredictable although not harmful side effects”
“I take it the duration may be hit and miss” Ambrose required thoughtfully
“Yes, the body’s ability to absorb and process Ether is relatively misunderstood”
One of the techs gave the thumbs up to the pair of them, the sphere now rotating slowly
“It’ll have to do” replied Ambrose as he hoisted the cylinder given to him by Van Horn,
The Swagman didn’t wish him luck, they’d need more than that.

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