Waterwitch

Fiction detailing the ongoing events on the Homeline and numerous parallel Worldlines.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri May 04, 2012 9:39 pm

“What are they doing?” Seth Gecko called out of the crane’s cab. It was hard now to make himself heard over the combination of wind and gunfire. Coming from both the ground and the half dozen men on the deck of the Waterwitch.
Mickey Eden, ignoring the lead flying around him leaned out over the handrail and peered down at the cage and the constable’s office.
He could see Lilly’s body in the cage but no sign of anyone else.
Darting back to the crane he told Gecko, who frowned for a moment before making a decision. Yanking back on a lever the crane hoisted the cage up and over the side onto the deck.
“Get Buxley to sick bay!” he yelled, then, once Eden had detailed two men to carry out the task, he lowered the cage once more.

He didn’t know it was a pointless task.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue May 08, 2012 8:59 pm

Anger boiled inside Lord Sebastian Reynolds, Baron of Roborough as he looked down at James Hartfields corpse. But like the weather outside, it turned cold, and rather than developing into a blind rage it formed into a purpose.
Dialling his brother on the ether-comm once more he quietly instructed him to turn off the lights and then wait.
Jonathan wasn’t sure of the merit in his brother’s request, wanted to know why Sebastian wasn’t just coming aboard so that they could leave.
His answer was short but it was the tone of his brother’s voice that sent him running to the already fuming Holt.
Eventually the massively bright search-lights blinking out.

Lord Reynolds noticed the change in lighting from behind his eyelids.
He opened them and found himself to be in pitch blackness.
Throwing open the rear door of the constable’s office the world outside was a much brighter place, by comparison.

Having removed his heavy coat Reynolds easily manoeuvred himself out of the doorway and behind a snow covered pile of logs. He knew from the sounds of gunfire that at least one of the Americans was here.
Straining his ears for a sound that would give away the man’s position Reynolds ignored the cold, his anger providing warmth enough.
The wind was going to make the task difficult, but Reynolds didn’t have to wait long as a voice called out.
“Frank? Hey, Frankie?”
“What, dammit?”
“Why’d they put the lights out?”
“I don’t know, maybe they got that Reynolds fella?”
“But they ain’t leaving?”
“Shoot, Dumper! How the hell should I know?”


Reynolds shifted position, looking in Frank’s direction.
The man was on the corner of the constable’s office, in fact he was looking directly at Reynolds, he just wasn’t seeing the man that was a shadow amongst shadows.
Baron Roborough steadied his breathing and let the title slip away until he was just plain old Jimmy Ambrose.
“Now you fuckers pay!” he whispered.
Ambrose’s pistol was a heavy revolver complete with silencer. Von Stauffenberg had told him it was the only truly silent revolver in the world.

Ambrose aimed for a while, wanting to be sure of his shot.
Phut, went the gun with almost no recoil.
Frank’s dark shape dropped liked a felled tree.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue May 08, 2012 9:29 pm

“Frank?” Dumper called out. “Frank, what was that flash?”
Of course no reply came.
“Shit, Frank,” Dumper’s voice sounded nervous. “Is that door open?”
Still no response.
“Are you inside?” Dumper moved towards the open rear door of the constable’s office. “Dammit, Frank, you’re inside. How about waitin’ for me?”
Quickly now he dashed for the door, missing the crouching form behind the log pile.

Jimmy Ambrose replaced the pistol in his pocket and extracted his knife. By the time Dumper was at the doorway there was all of four feet between them.
The knife slipped into the soft tissue of Dumper’s throat, severing his vocal chords and opening his windpipe to the air.
Ambrose pulled back on the man’s head as he sliced the knife across the jugular vein and blood fountained into the sky, staining the surrounding snow red.

Dumper lashed out, catching Ambrose with a lucky backhander, crunching a meaty fist into the cartilage of the other man’s nose.
Ambrose saw stars and had to blink rapidly to clear them.
By the time his vision had returned, Dumper lay in the snow, his head surrounded by a halo of red.
Jimmy shivered as the adrenaline ebbed, feeling the cold wind against his face and at the cuffs of his sleeves. He realised that he was soaked in blood from his own nose and a lot of Dumper’s.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed May 09, 2012 9:32 am

After stemming the flow of blood Reynolds’ anger was somewhat diminished and his resolve had lessened. Had it really only taken at fit of bloodlust to sate his anger over Hartfield’s death?
He was very glad that it was too dark to truly make out the body that lay mere feet away. Now that the adrenaline had ebbed and his anger no longer fuelled an inner fire Reynolds began to shiver, and doubted very much that he would be able to hold the contents of his stomach.
He had two choices now; go inside and get to the Witch or carry on, kill the man responsible for killing Mac.
The thought brought back a small flame of anger, but also a feeling of sorrow and guilt.
With a deep sigh Reynolds moved on into the snow laden darkness.

Skirting around the backs of some houses Reynolds soon came to a position where he could see two figures huddled behind a trough, silhouetted against the bright snow.
One was slight and had a long rifle, the other was large and Reynolds guessed had to be Ox.
They were too close and too alert for him to make this a knife fight, so out came the pistol again.

A noise from behind made the aristocratic thief pause.
Slowly, so as not to reveal himself in the deep shadows, he scanned the surrounding area and noticed three men, carrying a couple of shotguns and a large pistol between them.
These men were sneaking forwards, but not towards him, but rather towards Ox.

Reynolds decided to hold back, watching.

Once they were in a position almost on top of the Baron, one of them gave a shrill whistle.
Ox and the other man turned their weapons in the whistle’s direction.
At that moment on the opposite side of the street, lanterns were unveiled and about a dozen men rushed forward, weapons of varying descriptions aimed threateningly at Ox and his companion.
There were yells and threats called out but Reynolds could not make out what was being said.
Obviously Ox and the other man had turned to face this new threat and so the three next to Reynolds moved up behind them.

That was it for Ox, there was nothing left to do but surrender.

Reynolds recognised Malcolm White amongst the men.
One of the men with White stepped forward, his pistol steadily aiming at the big man who relinquished his own gun on demand. Reluctantly Cooper did the same.
The Malcolm White stepped forward and stood over the two men who still remained sitting behind the trough.
“What do you say, Yankee?”
Ox remained passive, his face one of calm, showing no hostility.

“You killed Bob and his bot, Terry,” White said coldly. “And from that red coat over there I Reckon you killed the constable too.”
Ox shrugged at the accusation, there was no point denying it. He knew if he kept calm now, there’d be a chance later to turn this around or escape.
“So what you got to say for yourself, boy?” White glared at the bearded Oxley, but got no reply.
“Cat got your tongue?”
“Just get on with it,” Ox eventually said tiring of this and wanting to get out of the cold.

“What’ll we do with them Mal, now Richley’s dead?” asked one of the crowd.
“We put them in the cage and wait for the judge,” Malcolm replied. “On your feet!” he directed to his captives.
Ox and Cooper clambered to their feet, the men maintained a circle around them.
Reynolds noticed a subtle movement from behind Cooper, a long bladed knife being adjusted.
The baron moved fast, springing up from his hiding place.
He’d pulled the trigger before any of the townsfolk even noticed his presence.
Cooper sprawled onto the snow, a bullet lodged in his spine, his legs forever useless.

White and the other men reacted slowly but on a sign from the barman they relaxed.
“That’s murder where I come from,” Ox growled.
“Really?” Reynolds injected surprise into his voice.
“Oh, yeah! So I guess it’ll be you and me in that cell and we can see what the judge makes of that in the morning.” Ox had a peculiarly smug look on his face that struck Reynolds as not being particularly suitable for the situation.
Reynolds laughed. “You are a card there, sir! Distracting these folks with our pompous objections to the current proceedings? Perhaps that way their guards against you will drop and you may be able to take advantage?”

“I’ve been in worse situations and I’m still here,” Ox sneered.
“This may be true, sir,” Reynolds replied, “however I know of one sure way of making sure you don’t get away with this.”

Sumpter Oxley knew exactly what the Englishman was saying.
“You ain’t got the balls,” he spat. “Damned English toff!”
“You would think,” Reynolds nodded in agreement. “But I ain’t no toff!”
Quick as a flash his pistol came up, paused long enough for Ox to realise his fate, and pulled the trigger.
“Sentence passed!” Reynolds said before turning away and walking towards the constable’s office.
“Jesus Christ!” cursed one of the townsfolk in shock at the amount of blood!

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 3:57 pm

With the cage door shut Seth Gecko pulled the lever that would hoist the iron frame up over the side and down through the cargo hatch where it could be released and stowed, after the body of the Chief Engineer had been brought on board and carried to the vessel’s uncomfortably large morgue.

Gecko watched four of the crew carry the body along the cargo deck and into the vessel. He knew this would be a blow to both the crew and the captain.
Seth was about to turn everything off when his banks-man waved to get his attention.
“What?”
“Brewer’s down there!”
Gecko sighed and winched the cage back over the side.

Jonah Brewer looked meekly at the Witch’s first-mate.
“Get on board and to your station, you fuck!” Gecko barked.
Brewer skulked away, not wanting to loiter under Gecko’s accusing gaze. Once inside he’d seek safe ground with Wade.

He stopped in his tracks as he entered and stared like a startled rabbit at the blood soaked form and the cold glaring eyes.
Reynolds said nothing but Brewer shuddered anyway. Did the Englishman know what he and Wade were doing? No, he didn’t think so, how could he?
Moving passed the Peer he scurried down the ladder out of sight.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 3:58 pm

Captain Lindsey Holt leaned against the hand rail on one of the engine room’s upper walkways.
Holt wasn’t a tall man, wasn’t especially muscular, nor was he especially handsome. Plain, would have been one description for him.
However, he was an excellent seaman, who knew the ways of the world’s oceans as well as any man. In fact he knew rather a lot more than most as his vessel spent a considerable amount of time under the waves these days.
It was his years of experience and his skill that demanded the respect of his crew, as much as his position on the boat did. Even Wade wouldn’t argue that point. But his experience also taught him to respect the crewmen under him, everything from their own unique skills to the odd and often unfounded superstitions that seamen seemed to have. Which was why the captain now looked down on the hot, oily, noisy engine room and the crew that manned it. He was proud of them, and he’d told them so. The crew here had just lost their chief and some of these men had counted him amongst their closest friends.
But they’d bee stoic in their acceptance of his death and had gone back to work swiftly, ensuring that the Waterwitch ran smooth and well, just as Hartfield would have wanted.
One problem the skipper had yet to face was assigning a replacement. The men who knew the types of systems on the Witch were few and far between.
One of the crew had asked if it was Wade who had caused the death, they all knew neither man had liked the other.
Holt had openly denied Wade’s involvement and had played up Hartfield’s desire to rush to Buxley’s aid. The romantic notion seemed to assuage their suspicions. The last thing Holt needed right now was a war on board his boat.
The trouble was Holt wasn’t too sure Wade didn’t have anything to do with Mac’s death. Yes, there was no direct connection, and Lord Reynolds had not been very forthcoming with any information he may have had on the matter.

Holt’s reverie was interrupted as a figure joined him. It was Seth, and Holt was grateful for that as the last thing he wanted right now was grief from Wade of his cronies.
“We’re about there, captain,” Gecko informed him.
Gecko was talking about diving the Witch once more.

Having taken Hartfield’s body on board and the foppish form of Jonah Brewer, Holt had ordered the Witch out east, away from the coast and the storm.
The captain hated to admit it but Nestor Wade’s piloting skills had come into their own as he’d driven the gargantuan vessel ever higher, fighting the winds and driving snow.
As Reynolds had suggested, Holt had taken the Witch higher than most zeppelins usually went, bringing her up above the storm clouds and into calmer, clearer skies.
They had made good ground and Holt was impressed with how well the Witch seemed to handle the altitude.
The Witch had then turned south, heading for Montreal and Jonathan Reynolds’ family.

Their rescue, if it could be called that, had gone without incident until they had arrived at the dockside and found themselves not about to board a luxury liner, or zeppelin, but an odd looking rusty old freighter.
Oddly it was the familiar, but slightly out of place face of his daughter that had persuaded Mrs Reynolds aboard.

Of course their snobbish reticence faded somewhat when, once clear of the city, the captain had ordered the vessel skyward again.
Now the Witch was out over the Atlantic and with various factions including pirates on the seas and in the air Holt considered it best to take the Witch down into her more favoured environment, and thus dive her.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 4:01 pm

“Mr Gecko! Dive the boat!” Holt ordered as he stepped onto the bridge.

Seth Gecko nodded his acknowledgement to Holt and turned on the spot to face forward.
“Mr Whitby,” he said with authority, “General Dive Alarm and set the fore planes.”
“Aye, Aye, sir,” Whitby replied as he went to the control panel on the starboard side of the bridge and pulled some levers to bring the forward bow planes down to their operating position. Next he raise a telephone handset to his mouth an broadcast across the vessel. “All stations, all stations. Dive the boat.”
This was immediately followed by a klaxon and he added, “Station Cheifs report readiness.”

Across the Witch men went to their allotted positions and adjusted valves, secured water tight doors, hatches and ventilation openings and ensured the watertight integrity of the airship that was about to become a submarine.
Whitby ticked off the various stations on his list as they reported back to him and after a few minutes he reported that all stations were ready for dive.

Gecko nodded sharply. “Thank you Mr Whitby. Mr Wade,” Gecko said the name without the venom it normally carried when he spoke about the ship’s pilot. There were times to be personal and this was not one of them. “Take her down gently.”
“Aye, taking her down gently,” Wade confirmed. He too knew when to be professional, and that was when he was doing his thing.

Despite the Witch being a privately owned commercial vessel, its very nature and the environments in which it operated in made it necessary to run it in a very militaristic manner.
It was one of the reasons Holt liked his essential personnel to have at least served in a county’s naval forces, he just wasn’t that fussy which country.

Slowly the gigantic vessel dropped from the sky, passing through the cloud layer into rougher weather.
“Jesus!” Wade exclaimed as the Witch was buffeted around. He knew it was going to be tough bringing the Witch down – the seas would be right up in this. Thirty foot waves wouldn’t be surprising.
Holt knew it too. “He’s not on board today, Mr Wade, so you’ll have to provide the miracle if you please.”
Wade snorted. “Oh, I’ll give you your miracle, captain,” the pilot said with a fair degree of derision injected into the title,” just you remember who does what around here.”
“Stow it, Wade,” Gecko warned, to which Wade merely cast him a hateful look.
Holt ignored the exchange. He’d had enough of Wade’s moaning but couldn’t afford to get on the pilot’s wrong side right now.

Their prediction proved to be correct and so Wade pushed the vessel’s bow down, putting her into a steeper, quicker dive so that he could spear the massive boat into the back of a huge wave.
“All hands – brace!” Whitby broadcast. Even he could see this was going to be a bumpy one.
As the Witch hit the sea it was like a steam car hitting a wall, the sudden lurch upwards in the bow and change of momentum brought those throughout the vessel who were unprepared to the floor with a harsh thump.

Jonathan Reynolds cursed as he picked himself up from the carpet and checked on his family. He wondered silently how his brother, who had been standing at the moment of impact hadn’t fallen.
His wife was all right though his children were upset, but more because the blocks they had been playing with on the floor had smashed against the forward bulkhead.

The vessel was still shaking and juddering and making all sorts of protesting noises as she drove herself down under the waves.

“Bloody hell, Wade!” Gecko said but there was no reprimand there, more astonishment. “Good work,” he added. Then said, “Let’s get those windows shut up Mr Whitby.”
Whitby moved to his console again and yanked down on a lever. Huge steel shutters closed over the bridge windows, sealing them against the enormous pressure about to be put against them.

Eventually the Waterwitch settled as she sank beneath the turmoil of the surface and its haphazard currents.

“Captain,” said Hopkins from the small communications room at the back of the bridge. “You received an Ether-message just before we hit the water.”
“Thank you,” Holt replied rising from his chair and heading for his ready-room.

Gecko knew where they were heading and made his way to the charts to plot a course, wishing Buxley was around.
“Mr Wade, take us down to a depth of four hundred feet, new course one-six-five, ahead standard. Take us to Haven.”

Haven, a huge underwater city in the Atlantic not far off the coast of Bermuda. It was a place frequented by their sort and mostly out of reach of the British, Germans and Americans.
Wade grinned at the thought of it. “Aye, Haven it is Mr Gecko,” he said pleasantly. It was one order he certainly didn’t disagree with.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 4:03 pm

A whistle sounded two blasts over the intercom then a voice announced, “Hand-over second watch.”
Sebastian Reynolds stood to one side of the bridge doorway as members of the ship’s second watch took over from the first.
It really was run like a navy ship, he thought, then his eyes made contact with Nestor Wade.
“There’s a civilian on the bridge!” Wade announced.
Gecko, who was just handing over to the second watch duty-officer, a bull necked man named Grierre, turned to see who it was.
“Ah, Lord Reynolds,” he said in greeting.
Wade gave a snort of derision at that. “No civilians on the bridge,” he commanded. “Go on, clear off!” he waved the baron away like someone dismissing a dog.
“Wade!” Gecko barked a warning.
At that moment the door to the captain’s ready-room opened and an ashen faced Holt emerged.
“What’s wrong?” Gecko asked frowning.
Holt couldn’t speak, he waved a hand towards the small cabin.
Gecko looked worriedly at Reynolds and the two men entered.
There was a message on the ether-scope screen which Reynolds restarted.
It showed a scene from a scope location, a very attractive young woman lying on a bed, just waking up. She wore a very revealing yet simultaneously elegant dress, typical of scope avatars.
“Buxley!” Gecko said in surprise.
Reynolds looked closer and saw that yes, the avatar had Lilly’s face.
They watched the scene progress into the circular many doored room, and listened to the German, Eric Schimler, give is instructions to the woman and to the scope lens.
The two men watched in horror as Lilly stepped through a doorway. It wasn’t an exit.
Beyond the entrance Lilly walked into a room crowded with faceless men.
They brutalised the young woman almost to the brink of death, every act designed to humiliate, torture, and terrorise her. But they didn’t go far enough to kill her, that would have broken the link with the scope and returned Lilly’s mind to her body.

Sobbing her naked body was dragged into a plain cell and the door locked.
The scene cut back to Eric Schimler.
“You have a debt to settle captain. And I am most eager to help my employer collect on that debt any way I can because, as you know, I really hate you. So for my sake, don’t pay up just yet!” the plastic like avatar grinned then the screen went blank.

There was stunned silence in the room as both men digested what they had just seen.

“Who would have thought Buxley could put out like that?” Nice tits though!” Nestor Wade said maliciously from the doorway. He’d been watching unnoticed by Gecko or Reynolds all the time.
A red mist ascended over Lord Reynolds’ mind.
“You foul-mouthed bastard!” he snarled as he launched himself at Wade, his fist connecting with the pilot’s jaw.
Wade staggered back, unprepared for the sudden assault, but he was a veteran of many a fist fight and recovered his wits quickly, blocking Reynolds’ next attack and countering with a gut punch that knocked the wind from the baron.
Wade used that to his advantage, leaping on the man with his hands around Reynolds’ throat.
“You fuckin’ prick!” Wade swore in outrage. “Who the fuck do you think you are?” he let go with one hand so that he could ball his fist and smash it onto the Peer’s nose. Then his hand was back at the soft throat again.
Suddenly Gecko was behind Wade, pulling him off his opponent. “Wade!” he bellowed, and snapping out of his horror induced trance, Holt joined his first officer.
“Goddammit, Wade!” he said angrily.
Wade wagged a finger at Reynolds. “You’re fuckin’ dead! You know that? I’ll fuckin’ kill you, you bastard!” he tried to pull free of Gecko and Holt but they held him back. “Your fuckin’ title don’t mean shit down here, pal! I promise you.”
Holt and Gecko dragged Wade to the door and threw him out.
When they finally managed to make Wade leave, Holt apologised to Reynolds.
“That man’s a cancer, you know that?” Reynolds said with a handkerchief pressed to his bleeding nose.
Holt said nothing for to admit it would mean having to do something about it, and Wade had far too many supporters on board for him to be able to just get rid.
“I have bigger things to worry about right now,” was all he said before departing.

“You figure out how to get shot of Wade without causing a mutiny, then you just let me know, my Lord,” Gecko said before following after the captain.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 4:04 pm

Baron Roborough paced around his small cabin like a caged lion, sometimes rubbing gently at his sore nose. He considered himself lucky that Wade hadn’t broken it.
Despite that bit of luck he felt sure he’d have a couple of black eyes come morning.
Is encounter with Nestor Wade wasn’t the only thing on his mind. Reynolds was greatly troubled by what he had seen happen to Lilly.
Although her body lay in sick bay right now, with the medic forcing food into her through a tube down her throat, the atrocities she had undergone were still in her mind, memories of an event as real as any in her life – and that bothered Reynolds. This was not only because his chivalric attitude towards women was offended, but because he had promised a dying man that he would help Lilly.

Putting Nestor Wade out of his mind, for now, he wandered out into the vessel in search of Captain Holt.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Sun May 20, 2012 4:05 pm

Reynolds silently climbed a ladder that led to the deck upon which Holt’s cabin was located.
Turning a corner he stopped and stealthily pressed himself back against the bulkhead.
A figure was lurking outside Captain Holt’s cabin with his ear pressed against the door.
It only took Reynolds a few moments to recognise the scrawny form of Jonah Brewer.
Silently the baron crept along the passage until he was right behind the man. Then he raised a booted foot up to Brewer’s back and shoved as hard as he could.
Brewer slammed into the door, jarring it open and sprawled onto the cabin floor with a girlish yelp.
“I do hope you gentlemen weren’t aiming on having a private conversation,” Reynolds said sarcastically to Holt and Gecko who were sat at the captain’s small round table with surprised and stunned looks on their faces.
Gecko rose from his chair, a look of murderous outrage now etched where surprise was moments ago.
“For fuck’s sake Brewer!” he bellowed. “I’d have thought you’d be keeping your head down!”
He grabbed the man by the collar with both hands, hoisting him bodily from the floor so that his feet flapped about several inches above the carpeted deck.
His nose inches from Brewer’s he hissed, “I ought to beat the breath out of you then flush you out a torpedo tube!”
Brewer gave a squeak of terror.
“Seth,” Holt warned tiredly.
Shaking with confined rage, Gecko released the greasy haired man who bolted for the door but Reynolds was in the way.
The baron said nothing, but locked eyes with the nervous little man. The look told Brewer that his cards were marked. Swallowing hard Brewer ducked under Reynolds’ outstretched arm and fled.

“We need to talk, Mr Holt,” Reynolds said authoritatively.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri May 25, 2012 10:48 pm

Captain Lindsey Holt sighed like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He politely dismissed Gecko who gave their passenger a wary glance, but did as he was asked.
When they were alone Reynolds closed the door and took a seat opposite the captain.
“That might not have been a good move, that thing with Brewer,” Holt warned.
“I can handle him and Wade,” Reynolds replied.
“But I can’t afford to lose another pilot, nor half my damned crew,” Holt countered sourly.
“Your staffing problems aren’t what I’m here to discuss,” Reynolds said somewhat coldly. “Tell me about your issue with Schimler.”
Holt seemed to visibly deflate.
“From the beginning then,” Reynolds prompted.
“Eric Schimler and I are very old acquaintances and lifelong adversaries. Eric however, takes our opposition to a far greater extremity than I do. I got the girl, is essentially what our original disagreement was about. That was years ago, and fate has had our paths cross more than either of us would care for, and unfortunately on all but one occasion Eric has come off the worse.”
“He likes to think of himself as a modern day Moriarty, thinks he’s some kind of criminal genius and has built himself quite a following of thugs, thieves and ne’er-do-wells.”
Reynolds was sitting quietly letting Holt tell his tale, but interjected, “What is his issue with Lilly?”
Holt sorrowfully shook his head. “She was just an easy target, one of my crew exposed and an easy way to get at me, make me pay up.”
“Pay up?”
“It’s this old girl,” he said cocking his head towards the nearest bulkhead. “She’s an unusual bucket of bolts to say the least and when I got hold of her she was in a sorry state and needed a lot of work doing and a fresh new crew. She cost a fortune and then some – so much so that I had to go to a bank for a loan. Trouble was neither me nor the Witch were seen as a very safe investment, so I was forced to deal with some shadier types, a man named Julius Fable, who worked for a bank and could secure me the loan, but the interest payments were astronomical, and it wasn’t exactly a legitimate transaction.”
“And you haven’t been able to pay off the loan?” Reynolds put in.
Holt shook his head.
“How much do you owe?”
Holt swallowed hard. “At my last calculation I owe three million pounds.”
“Bloody hell!” Reynolds exclaimed loudly.
Holt nodded in understanding. “Yes, my initial investment was two million. I borrowed another two. So far I owe another million in interest.”
“If you owe Fable, why is Schimler trying to get you to pay up?”
“Because he got wind of my predicament and has offered to press the matter with me for a small fee of his own, no doubt.”
Reynolds remained silent for a bit scratching his chin. “You can’t pay Fable?” he asked at last.
“No.”
“Business not good?”
“I’m doing all right, thank you.” Holt’s answer was terse.
“I’m not trying to offend, captain, just get my head around the situation.”
“Sorry, Lord Reynolds. I am getting by comfortably, meeting all the running costs and keeping my crew paid. What I cannot seem to do is build up money enough to put aside towards paying off the loan.”
“Sounds typical of many businesses I have seen,” Reynolds said.
Holt grunted. “Never bloody wanted a business,” he scoffed, “just wanted my own boat to captain as I saw fit!”
The corner of Reynolds’ mouth curled up at that. “I take it you’ll lose the boat if you don’t cough up?”
Holt gave a derogatory laugh. “That and the use of my legs!”
“And which would Fable rather have, the money or your boat?”
“Fable’s a banker and a businessman. He doesn’t want a big sodding boat drawing attention to his activities.”
“Good,” Reynolds said cheerfully, “Then I have a proposal for you, Captain.”
Holt gave the baron a suspicious look, he had a good idea where Reynolds was going with this.
“My Lord Reynolds, I understand you may have some guilt issues regarding Mr Hartfield’s death and that throwing money around may help alleviate you of some grief, however, I would not wish to impose any more of my problems on you. You already employ my daughter, keeping her from this life and the hardships it brings, and for that I am grateful, but that is as far as I wish my debt to you to go, sir!”
“You consider yourself indebted to me for employing Paige?” Reynolds asked a little surprised.
“Of course,” Holt said firmly. “It might not be a position in keeping with our family’s former position, but given the circumstances I feel that housemaid to a Peer of the realm is not without dignity. And I hear you are schooling her too, which is beyond anything I had hoped for these days.”
“Please captain,” Reynolds said levelly, “There is no debt with regards to your daughter, she is a pleasure to have around. She shakes the other staff up every now and then and hits me with a good dose of reality, so like I say – no debt.”
Holt said nothing but looked humble.
“And likewise, Mr Holt, there would be no debt regarding my proposal.”
“You were about to offer me money, Lord Reynolds?”
“Indeed I was!”
“Then I would be indebted to you for it. I have my principles, my Lord, and I feel your offer to help with my own shortcomings would only add one more person into my list of debtors”
Reynolds smiled, “Captain, you misunderstand me. I was not offering to pay your debt, or even a part of it. And I certainly wasn’t looking to buy the debt from the bank. No, my offer was simpler. Let me buy the Witch off you.”
Holt nearly choked. “What?”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon May 28, 2012 6:28 am

“I’ll buy her,” Baron Roborough stated gain.
“But that would be over…”
“Over five million pounds, yes I know,” Reynolds wasn’t going to say, but it really was an easy buy for him. He wasn’t expecting it to give him decent returns on his investment, but he was looking at it more as an asset. Reynolds knew that the time was coming for him to resume his families role as agents for the crown and the Witch would be a splendid tool to have in his box.
“No,” Holt said abruptly. “No, sir, I could not. I have worked hard to get her up and running and to make a name for her. She is all I have known for the last ten years. I could not abandon the dream.”
“And nor would I ask you to, Lindsey. I know nothing of running a ship, submarine, airship thing. I would have you stay on with her, be her captain, run her life as you have been doing. The only difference would be the flag she flies. And that would only be if you chose to show it. I would leave you to make your fortune as you see fit, and all I would require is her use whenever I needed it.”
Lindsey Holt’s face turned red and he seemed a man in a dilemma, until suddenly he sprang from his chair, his fingertips outspread on the table top so that he was leaning forward slightly, as though trying to impose himself over Lord Roborough.
“I am afraid the Waterwitch is not for sale, Lord Reynolds, and I would thank you to keep to your own business and leave me to mine. Good day, my Lord!”
It was said with a degree of finality that told Reynolds the discussion was over.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:34 pm

As Holt stood glaring at Reynolds, the baron shrugged and said, “I did not mean to offend, captain. It is merely another option on the table for you. Please consider it when all other options are exhausted.
The Peer’s calm and understanding tone seemed to bring Holt off the boil, and the man sat down with a very long sigh.
“My apologies, Baron, perhaps I was a little harsh then. You offer is indeed a generous one and one I will certainly consider. You must understand, I have worked very hard to keep the Witch going, and the thought of losing her…”
“That is beauty of my offer, captain, for you there would be very little change, other than you will not have a massive debt to worry about and ample money in your pocket. If you can cope with the demands of one of the Empire’s aristocrats, and I shall warn you now that they might seem the most unusual of demands at times, then I can’t see a downside for you.”
“Indeed my lord, but you will give me time to consider?”
“Take all the time you need, captain, the offer remains open even if you turn me down,” Reynolds smiled.
There was a silent pause after which Reynolds spoke once more.
“Well, captain, we go from one sensitive subject to another. I must speak with you about Miss Buxley.”
Holt raised a hand to stop the baron. “You need not worry about that situation, Baron, that is an affair I must deal with.”
“On the contrary,” Reynolds objected. “I made a promise to a man as lay dying in my arms. It is a promise I have every intention of keeping. I have to help her. What she is going through,” he paused letting Holt’s own imagination fill in the blanks.
Slightly irritated by the memory Holt said, “It is a terrible ordeal the Buxley is going through, but it’s not real, I mean, how much harm can they really be doing?”
Reynolds stared at Holt for a moment. Was he detecting denial? It sure sounded like it and that wasn’t good for Holt or for Lilly.
“What Lilly is going through will affect her mind as much as if she was undergoing the ordeal in the Prime,” he said and swathe colour drain from Holt’s face.
“Yes, at first she will be able to convince herself that it is not real, but in the scope it feels real. Her mind will experience the pain and trauma we have seen her undergo as though it had actually happened, and that will not leave her quickly. If she stays there too long, without the grounding of reality, then she’ll never be able to put the events aside and her mind will break,” Reynolds warned.

There was a long silence and Reynolds watched Holt for some kind of reaction. He could see there was some sort of internal debate going on and decided to let it come to a head without pushing for an answer.
Eventually Holt seemed to bolster himself and sat more upright in his chair.
“I am taking us to Haven. It is a large complex under the Atlantic, almost an undersea city. It started off as a small hidden British supply depot back in the twenties, but they abandoned it just before they completed it and it got taken over by other less savoury types who have expanded it massively. It is a veritable den of thieves Lord Reynolds, so I recommend you and your family stay aboard the Witch while we are there.”
“Haven?” Reynolds inquired. “It’s not somewhere I have heard of before.”
“And why should you?” Holt quipped and Reynolds thought better of replying.
“It’s just off the coast of Bermuda,” Holt informed him. “In fact you can get there from the island, through a long tunnel, though it’s heavily guarded by ‘D-Men’.”
“D-Men?”
“Arden Dembolla, a big black hulk of a man from the West Indies. He’s the so called ‘king’ of haven. His followers police the city, in a manner of speaking.”
“I see. Why Haven?” Reynolds was trying to figure out what relevance the place had.
“There is a man there who knows Schimler. I hope to try to reason with him. Also there is a doctor there who has dealt with long term scope-submersion before. Apparently he’s very good at keeping the bodies alive while the mind is elsewhere.”
Reynolds didn’t feel comfortable with all this. “Captain,” he said quietly, “before you go to bat with Schimler’s associate, please allow me to try something. I have a fair talent in the scope, all I need is a good access point and I’ll get her back.”
“You?” Holt sounded surprised. “We have no tabs.”
Reynolds shook his head and pulled the hair back from the cybernaughtic jack-socket. “Like I said captain, I have some talent in the Scope and I feel I may be doing myself an injustice in that statement.”
A fraction of Holt’s mouth turned up into a smile. Perhaps this man wasn’t all stiff collars and pressed trousers after all. Then Holt chastised himself for being so judgemental for he had already witnessed the man execute the big bearded Ox.
A Peer of the realm Reynolds may be, but there seemed to be an aspect of his life in which he was certainly no gentleman.
“There are scope points on board, Lord Reynolds, though no one’s used them since before I had her. I’ll have one fired up for you,” Holt said, a glimmer of hope creeping into his voice.
“Thank you captain,” Reynolds said with relief, adding, “I will be vulnerable whilst I am under.”
Holt knew what he meant, after recent events it would be a perfect time for Reynolds to have an accident.
“The Scope Room is a secure compartment, and I’ll get Paige to sort out the equipment, she’ll be discreet,” Holt said with a nod.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:15 am

Paige Holt took the key from her father and made her way down two decks. Most of the compartments in this section were disused storerooms except for a small chapel, which meant that not many people ever bothered to come here.
Just forward of the chapel was a heavy door that she now unlocked, after checking that there really was no one around.
Inside the room was pitch-black until she fumbled around on the bulkhead and found the switch for the lights.
As phosphorescent Ether filled the lamps that looked like old tilly-lamps, it cast an odd sickly green colour over a room which contained three small cot-like beds arranged as though they were on the lines from the centre to the corners of a triangle.
At the head of each bed was a round porthole-like screen set in brass and a brass keyboard both set into a deck to deckhead frame.
Paige picked a bed and laid the fresh linen sheet and pillow on it, with sharp neat corners, just like Mrs Morris had shown her back in Lord Reynolds’ Knightsbridge residence.
She smiled, amused at herself for being such a conformist, after trying so hard to rebel in her younger years.
Finished, she opened the door a crack and checked in the passageway, making sure no one was there before she stepped out and locked the door behind her.

When she returned an hour later she had with her a wicker basket containing food, drink and a good book, and her employer, Lord Sebastian Reynolds.
They had had to be careful on their way here, as neither of them wanted any of Wade’s supporters seeing what they were up to or where they were going.
Luckily Reynolds had some experience at being stealthy and was able to get them to this little used part of the boat unobserved.

Reynolds removed his jacket and tie and placed them neatly on one of the spare cots, then loosened his cuffs and rolled up the sleeves.
Paige noticed that he was wearing a shoulder holster in which sat a particularly large and heavy looking revolver. He didn’t remove it is he laid down on the cot-bed and made himself comfortable.
He seemed totally at ease with the heavy object sitting under his arm and Paige wondered how often he wore it? Did he wear it when he was at home? There certainly seemed to have been a number of occasions recently where strange people have turned up in the middle of the night, or unusual guests have been staying at the Knightsbridge townhouse. And Lord Reynolds had come home with ruined clothes and numerous unaccountable injuries. Seeing how Reynolds had been over the last few days made her wonder about what he got up to back in England.

Reynolds glanced across at the pretty young girl, “I don’t know how long I’ll be, Paige, so don’t worry about sitting here all the time.”
Paige shook her head, dismissing the notion. “I’ve plenty of food and drink to keep me going my Lord. And besides, the less times I go in and out, the less chance there is of someone seeing me.”
Reynolds smirked, “She has a good head on her, this one,” he thought.
Uncoiling a thin plastic coated wire with an ether-jack on either end, he handed one end to Paige. “Would you mind unscrewing the left hand brass cap just under the screen there and push that in?”
She took it from him, her hand brushing his and both of them froze looking at the point of contact, then as Paige’s face reddened she pushed the jack home and Reynolds did the same in the cybernaughtic ether-socket behind his ear.
“Now,” Reynolds said, “just flick the cover back from the red switch, that’s it, now turn it on.”
Paige’s finger hovered over the power switch and she glanced nervously at Lord Reynolds as she had heard about people’s brains turning to mush when they used contraptions like these and now that her employer was here she didn’t want to be responsible for killing him.
“It’s okay, Paige, nothing will happen until I turn it on here,” Reynolds tapped a well-manicured finger against his temple.
Paige relaxed visibly and flicked the switch downwards.
“Ahhh!” Reynolds yelled, his whole body jerking. He couldn’t hold back the smile and subsequent laugh when he saw Paige’s terrified face.
When she realised what was happening she looked angry and slapped his arm. “You bastard!” she accused and then slapped her hand across her mouth in horror, staring wide-eyed at the Baron.
Reynolds grinned at her. “It’s quite alright, Paige, we aren’t in England right now are we? In fact this is your father’s boat so here he is king, which of course would make you Princess Paige, and so I should be deferent to you, M’Lady!”
Paige stood up, hands on her hips and said, “Do you mock me sir?”
“A little!” Reynolds smirked.
“Well just you remember who it is who’ll be looking over you whilst you slumber, mister!”
Again Reynolds laughed. “I can think of no one else I would rather have watching out for me whilst I am consciously departed. Perhaps I’ll be able to return the favour and watch you sleep one day.”
The words were out before he realised quite what it was he was saying.
Paige’s face had flushed red once more Reynolds was surprised to feel his own cheeks warming too.
“Right, I’ll be off then!” he said awkwardly.
Paige said nothing but watched him closely as he lay back and settled comfortably. It made him feel even more self-conscious than before.
Not wanting to hang around in the awkward silence any longer than he had to, Reynolds closed his eyes and mentally flicked a switch.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:01 am

From blackness, colours appeared and disappeared. Incoherent shapes, amorphous blobs that seemed to coalesce into other non-descript shapes before fading away to nothing. Then the appearances became more frequent until the splotches of colour were coming so fast it appeared as though paints were being mixed on an artist’s palette, until after just the briefest of moments they gained form.
Huge columns of marble with thick rounded plinths and scrolling capitals finished in gold leaf lined the walls of the huge space.
Overhead was a vaulted ceiling, curved beams reaching from the tops of the columns to the central hub like the spokes of a when where an improbably bright chandelier hung.
Three quarters of the room was lined with plush red seats which looked soft and luxurious, whilst the remaining quarter was a raised stage, only half lit at the moment.
Stood upon the stage in stark contrast to the yellows and golds of the backdrop was a figure dressed in black from the tall angular top hat, the sharp shouldered tight fitting frock coat and the black leather riding boots. Even the figure’s hands were gloved in black and only a narrow band of flesh showed above a black scarf that hid the lower part of the man's face. A narrow band of pale flesh and pale glowing eyes like corpse candles that peered out from beneath the peak of the top hat.

Sebastian Reynolds smiled to himself upon seeing the familiar surroundings. In the scope this was the main Opera Hall in the Magdalene’s new domain.
He guessed that he must have arrived here in the early hours of the morning for there not to be any performance or even spectators.
Calling up the local scope zone time he found it to be four o’clock. The time here in New London was set to match Greenwich Mean Time, minus an hour. Reynolds could never quite figure out why it was an hour behind!

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:11 am

The SS Waterwitch was a large vessel, her central area was mostly machinery, engines, turbines and huge reinforced tanks containing Ether.
By controlling the amount of Ether in the tanks the Witch could be made to dive or rise whilst stationary, without the need to drive her up or down with the hydroplanes, but more than that, increasing the Etheric volume above that required to give the vessel normal buoyancy could lift the submarine clear of the water altogether, turning her into an airship.
Forward of the ship’s power systems were large cargo holds and crew quarter and cabins for guests or other passengers, including lounges and galleys and dining rooms. There was even a Hall used for parties and other functions, including the funerals of dead shipmates.
Aft of the engine room were more cabins, these smaller than the ones up forward and meant for the lower ranking crewmen but there were also mechanical and shipwright workshops, refrigeration plants and many other areas essential to the survival of the vessel.
Many of the quartermaster’s crew bunked here, as did the engine room crew. Over the last year or so the two mess halls in this part of the vessel had become heavily segregated, with the engine room crew (those who had been loyal to Hartfield) in the port side mess, and those who chose Nestor Wade as their lead in the starboard side mess, which was situated slightly further aft.
Within that starboard mess were a dozen men, including Nestor Wade and Jonah Brewer.
“That bastard!” Brewer cursed, meaning Reynolds. It was all Brewer had talked about for the past day.
“What’s he done now?” Jim Muldridge asked as he closed the door, instantly regretting his question.
“Well, I was listening in on the captain and Gecko, like I do for Mr Wade now and then, to see what they was going to do about Buxley, when that fucker sneaks up behind me and attacked me. No warning or anything. And Gecko dint do noffink when a saw, nor the cap’n neiver. Gave me a hard time they did, not that bloody Reynolds. They’re scared of him now they knows he’s a toff. Won’t even stand up for their own against an outsider.”
Muldridge shook his head in mock astonishment. “Shocking behaviour!” he moaned, wondering just how he might have reacted if he’d caught Brewer listening in on of his private conversations.
“Nah!” Wade said letting everyone here know he wasn’t happy with Muldridge’s dismissal of the event. “Getting too bloody big for his britches is that one. We’re not in Blighty now so he can shove his aristocratic roots up his arse. We need to bring him down a peg or too, teach him a proper good lesson.”
“But Holt and Gecko will protect him!” Brewer put in sourly.
“Then we get rid of them first,” Wade stated, looking to each of them to make sure they knew he was serious.
A small stocky man with short dark hair, a huge Cossack style moustache and an ornate tattoo that covered his back and poked above the neckline of the grubby white vest he wore fidgeted in his seat slightly. “You talking about mutiny?” he asked.
“Maybe I am,” Wade declared.
“Christ, Nestor, we could get hung for just talking about it!” the tattooed Bill Guthrey warned.
“Ah bollocks, Bill! How many times have we cursed that useless skipper of ours to hell and talked about how we’d all do better in his place? Besides, no one will hang us for planning a mutiny if no one tells about it.”
There was silence around the room but none of the men disagreed with wade
“So what’s the plan boss?” Brewer asked Wade looking like an excited schoolboy.
“Well there’s a damned sight more of them than there is if us and I don’t go for those odds, so we need to make sure all our boys are up for this. Even then we’ll be outnumbered so we’ll have to hit them hard and fast and in a manner that’ll put paid to any resistance pretty damned smartish.”
“How do we do that, boss?” Brewer was nigh on wetting himself now.
“Shit, Brewer!” Muldridge said exasperated. “Will you shut the fuck up and let the man think?”
Brewer shot Muldridge a filthy look but didn’t offer any sort of retort and sat there quietly with his bottom lip sticking out in a pouting sulk.
“It’s simple,” Bill Guthrey said with a shrug of his shoulders and a twiddle with the end of his enormous moustache.
“What is?” the stocky, black skinned Leon Chambers asked.
Guthrey gave them all a hard stare. “It’ll be no different with this lot than it is in the army.”
“Here we go!” Muldridge interrupted with a roll of his eyes and a tut.
Muldridge was an ex-Royal Navy sailor who’d seemed to miss out on all the major action, whereas Guthrey had been in the grenadiers and seen more than his fair share of fighting. Guthrey’s many war stories somehow managed to get right under the sailor’s skin.
Wade held up a hand to halt any further exchange between the two. “I want to hear what Bill has to say.”
“Well,” Bill began now he had a captive audience. He liked to spin his tales out with the odd embellishment here and there but on seeing the serious looks he was getting from everyone gathered here he decided to cut to the chase.
“There’s been lots of times when a commanding officer has been killed or more often captured early on in a campaign. Either ours or theirs, but mostly theirs. Anyway, it ain’t long before the men give up or call it a day and retreat. Sometimes, more than you’d think actually, the officers themselves order the men to stand down just to save their own arses!”
“Holt won’t do that!” Muldridge had to counter.
“Not unless we’ve got ourselves a bargaining chip,” Wade offered. “If we’ve got his precious little Paige, he’ll back down and tell the others to back off too.”
“We’ll have to make sure none of the crew is in a position to cause us much trouble while we’re securing Holt’s surrender,” Muldridge put in.
Guthrey shrugged yet again, “When we’re docking with Haven.”
Wade nodded. “Nice one, Bill. Most of the crew will be at their stations. We can make our move while they’re busy, they won’t even notice what we’re doing until it’s too late. I’ll already be on the bridge and in a good position for when you lot arrive with Paige in tow.”
Harry Smith rubbed at his bald head and grunted as he placed his tin cup on a table. “You boys better get it sorted before we dock, cos if Dambolla finds out about a mutiny on a boat on his turf, we’ll all find ourselves floatin’ out an airlock. You know how he is – don’t give a damn about a boat’s politics so long as everyone behaves when they’re in Haven. He don’t consider mutiny behaving.”
Once more a silence settled over the gathered men as they contemplated that prospect.

“We’ve got to do this sooner then!” Chambers said flatly.
“No,” Wade countered, “better when we said. We’ll get it over quick.”
“What about Reynolds?” Brewer asked after his long silence.
“What about him?” Smith asked.
“He’s a sneaky, tricky bastard and there’s a vicious streak to him too.”
A ripple of derisive laughter coursed through the hardened seamen.
“We can take care of his Lordship!” Guthrey chuckled.
“That’s what that big yank thought, ‘til Reynolds killed most of his men, then he didn’t think much at all after his Lordship shot him in the head. I mean, he just executed him there and then. He’s dangerous, I’ve seen it, you ain’t!”
“All right Brewer,” Wade said softly like a father patiently trying to calm a worried son. “We don’t need to worry about Reynolds. We’ll hit his brother’s family at the same time, he won’t risk them getting hurt.”
Brewer nodded and smiled, satisfied at Wade’s plan.

Nestor Wade issued orders to his men and they all moved off to sort out their parts of the plan.
“It’ll work boss, won’t it?” Brewer asked as he remained behind.
“Of course it will,” Wade reassured the lank-haired youth. “And once we’ve got rid of Holt and Gecko I’ll be looking forward to having a chat with his lordship!”
“What you going to do to him?”
“Oh, kill him – eventually,” Wade said as though it were a matter of course. “I suppose I’ll have to do his brother and the boy as well. Can’t have anyone running to the British and telling tales on us can we? Then I’ll have to make myself acquainted with the nice young Mrs Reynolds, ‘til I get bored of her then I’ll let the boys have her a bit. Then the little girl? Well, there’s that guy over on the Ivory Coast who buys white kids, you remember him?”
Brewer had a look of shock on his face but it soon broke into a grin. “You’re going to do the Reynolds woman then?” he asked thrusting his hips to emphasise the point.
“Spoils of war that is, my old son! You’ve seen the huge tits on her, how could I let them pass me by. Besides, watching what thy did to Buxley got my balls to aching I gave me some new things to try. Pitty we ain’t going to be keeping hold of young Miss Holt, I know you’ve got a bit of a hard spot for her!”
“We ain’t keeping her?” Brewer was crestfallen.
“Nah! Holt won’t get off the boat if we don’t hand her over, and the rest of the crew will go nuts. They all love her! He wasn’t such a bad skipper to start with, but then he hired some wrongun’s and got into bed with the posh types, all a bit above his station, and they corrupted him. So he’ll live and so will his daughter, if he plays nice.”
Wade meant what he said too.
“I’ve got to hope Holt isn’t so smart!” Brewer huffed.
“Don’t worry, I’ll let you look after Paige while we’re conducting our business, up to you how you keep her in check! Then you can have the little Reynolds girl until we get to Africa. What is she, twelve? That’s a little young for me, but I know you like ‘em like that!”
Brewer looked elated, his eyes sparkling, and with good reason, Wade thought. Very soon they’d have the Witch, he’d be the new captain, and he’d be up to his nut in posh pussy. Wade guessed similar thoughts would be going through Brewer corrupt little mind too.
“Alright boss! You can count on me,” Jonah said fidgeting slightly and then turning for the door.
“Oh, don’t go just yet Jonah, my lad,” Wade said with a tone that made a chill run down Brewer’s spine. “You bring that clever mouth of yours over here, I got something needs sorting out.”
As he said the words Nestor Wade pulled a throbbing erection from his pants.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:29 pm

Inside the scope it always amazed Reynolds how real things seemed.
This strange otherworld to which peoples conscious minds could be send through the use of drugs or through cybernaughtic neural interface was just pure ether, manipulated through magnetic impulses to take on the shapes and forms and other properties that one wished.
But people hadn’t constructed this New London out of purely simplistic shapes, no, it was as intricate as the real thing. In fact it was more so as far as architecture was concerned with great towering structures that bore both gothic features and the more modern looking glass and steel. What people didn’t have to worry about in the scope was gravity. If the gravity imposed on a place was too much for the building to stay standing, then they altered the gravity!
Of course there were certain domains within the scope that chose to have completely bizarre laws of physics, with diametrically opposed gravities and other such oddities that would confuse the casual traveller.
Thankfully New London, as did most of the huge sprawling city-domains, adhered mostly to the normal rules. Someone had even gone to the rouble of studying the movement of trees in the breeze so that they could be simulated here!

The masked figure moved swiftly off the well-lit stage and into the darkness around the sides.
This was his domain and so there was no need for subterfuge, but he applied it anyway.

Outside, the city was dark, corresponding with the time in the Prime Reality, again there was no need for such a thing, but the New London domain’s creators had obviously thought there was. The better to keep things normal, Reynolds mused, but he didn’t mind one bit as this worked to his own advantage.
Like Prime London, many of the streets were lit by lamps only here they were burning an imitation of the volatile ether and the glow of the lamps would have surrounded them whether there was a flame there or not. Reynolds forced himself to put aside the thought so that he might enjoy the cool, dark night.

Reynolds avoided the patches of light and the sparse few souls that were still wandering around the city at this late hour. There were still those who preyed on the unsuspecting in the scope as they did in the dark streets if Prime London.

That said, the scope was a marvellous place in Reynolds’ mind. A place where class was less of an issue or at least less of an obvious one as here, an avatar of your psyche represented your physical form. For many casual users, especially the tab-jammers, this avatar reflected ones self-image, which meant that people tended to look like themselves, albeit more stylised.
But a market trader who saw himself as just a plain, honest and hard-working man would probably have little difference in his avatar to what he saw in the mirror when he was shaving.
A man who was full of his own self-importance would have a more regal or flamboyantly stylised avatar, whereas someone with low self-esteem would likely have an avatar that blatantly emphasised whatever part of them they saw as lowly.
Reynolds liked to try and guess how close to their true selves an avatar really was. Of course, for those who came here often and had the skill or those who connected with the scope through a cybernaughtic link could choose their avatar’s appearance, as Reynolds himself had.
There were scopers who chose hugely outlandish avatars and there were those who chose more subtle forms.

It didn’t take Reynolds long to find the not-so-discreet entrance to Xenotopia. The doors appeared to be open and a large figure in a golden breastplate emblazoned with a huge X was standing guard. Alongside him was a pretty woman in tight golden shorts and a t-shirt.
As Reynolds stepped out of the darkness she beamed a radiant smile and came straight over to him.
“Good morning, sir,” she said a little too robotically. Have you been to Xenotopia before?”
“No,” Reynolds lied.
“Well, sir, we are offering one month’s free membership today. You pay for the first eleven months and you get the twelfth for nothing. Could I interest you in signing up?”
Reynolds shook his head slowly in a distracted manner. He was looking beyond the girl, beyond the hulking guard and into the very fabric of the etheric representation of the club.
“Oh!” the girl chirped in surprise as when the dark figure’s eyes glowed crimson and then faded back to the spooky pale lights.
Reynolds turned and strode away without a further word. He had spotted a weak point there the etheric gateway to the clubs own domain joined that of the New London street and he intended to exploit it.
He concentrated for a brief moment and a shimmering rectangle appeared before him. It was about the size of a door and Reynolds stepped into it only to emerge mere seconds later in the small space between Xenotopia and the adjacent domain gateway. Over his left shoulder he could see the back of the hulking guard.
Again the red eyes appeared and this time the code that had formed the connection between this domain and Xenotopia’s was revealed overlaying the etheric fabric.
Reynolds reached out and grabbed a line of this code gently easing the symbols apart so that a gap formed.
He stepped forward insinuating himself between the characters. The symbols of code flowed around the structure like some strange gravity defying stream.
It didn’t take long for Reynolds to find himself beyond the New London domain, the stream leading him down an empty corridor in the back of the club. It was there that he stepped back out of the code.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:10 pm

Xenotopia was a huge venue. Even at this hour of the day it was busy, as people from around the world tabbed or jacked into the place.
As Reynolds stood in the quiet passageway he could hear an undulating, almost haunting piece of music coming from the main concert hall. Although it ad classical nuances the sound was definitely what the scope fringes were terming ‘electro-beat’.
The Baron in Reynolds liked the old classics, of course, but there was the Jimmy Ambrose side of him that liked the underground sounds of the Scope music industry.
What they had called Metal was one such format that his Ambrose side liked to listen to, but standing there with this artists tunes washing over him, it appealed to both sides of his character. The classical style and the electro-sound, such a combination would irk the establishment, which was what Reynolds found secretly added to its appeal.
“Strange,” he muttered to himself, “thsat I should want to rebel against the establishment on the one hand, and forcibly support it on the other!”

As Reynolds moved along the passageway and out into the hall he saw a man on the stage with stacks of piano-like keyboards in front of him.
This one man was playing enough music at once to make it sound as though there was a whole orchestra up there.

Many young women wandered about the place with drinks and collecting empty glasses. They wore brief golden shorts and tight fitting black tops with a large golden X emblazoned on the fronts.
“My God!” Reynolds mused. “Imagine if women were allowed to walk around the streets dressed in that manner! There’d be accidents and men wouldn’t get an ounce of work done!”
Keeping to the darker parts of the club he made his way towards one of the women.
“Excuse me, miss,” said he, making the young woman jump. “Who is that playing on the stage?”
She looked at him, this dark hidden figure that far from feeling sinister, just seemed plain ok to her. “No idea, honey,” the brunette woman answered. “He’s French,” she added as though it was some kind of an explanation.
“Thank you,” Reynolds said.
“Do you like the music?” the woman asked.
“It’s not bad,” the baron responded. “I’ve heard worse.”
“Maybe, but I’ve heard better!” she confided with a little giggle and found herself wondering why she was sharing this conversation with a customer and a complete stranger to boot!
The masked man smiled, although the woman would not have seen it. “You had Etherica her a few days ago, I hear?”
“Yeah, now that’s more like it! They had a whole orchestra with them and the two styles together sounded incredible! I hope that group makes it big.”
Reynolds refrained from saying that it was unlikely as their vocalist was shot through the throat and died, although the memory of the event stabbed into him.
“I appreciate it would have been busy but is there any chance you could have seen this woman here that night?” Reynolds asked as he drew a square in the air with his fingers and a grainy sepia picture of Lilly appeared inside it.
The woman looked at the picture for a moment and Reynolds watched her reaction for any signs. There didn’t seem to be anything obvious.
“No, sorry. It was packed in here,” she said with truthful apology in her voice.
Reynolds thanked the woman and moved on through the crowd.
He asked several more people about Lilly and eventually ended up at the bar. When he asked the barman the man stared at Reynolds for several long moments before he spoke. “Nah, not seen her mate.”
“Are you sure?”
“As sure as you’ll ever find me,” the barman said turning his back on Reynolds.
The baron detected a fair degree of hostility now and wondered why, as all the others he had spoken to had been so approachable.
“I’m sorry, but would you mind having another look, as it is important that I find her.”
The barman span around and leaned across the bar grabbing Reynolds by the lapel. “I said, I haven’t seen her and that should be enough for you. We get busy here most nights and I can’t remember everyone that comes here, especially on a night with a metal band.”
Reynolds cocked his head inquiringly. “I hadn’t mentioned her being her on a metal night yet!”
The barman’s eyes narrowed as he regarded the masked figure.
“Is there a problem here?” a voice said alongside Reynolds.
Instantly the barman released Reynolds. “No,” he said, “just a mouthy customer is all.”
Reynolds turned to see two sizeable behemoths, both glaring menacingly at him. “You keep your tongue whilst you’re in here, pal, or you’re out!” one of them growled.
“Actually gentlemen, you may be able to help, do either of you recognise this woman?”
Both figures exchanged glances. “Yeah, I think I do,” one said.
“Yeah, me too,” the other nodded.
Suspiciously Reynolds eyed the men but quickly turned on a naïve air. “Oh good! You wouldn’t happen to know if she left with anyone would you?”
One of the huge men shook his head while the other said, “No, but she did go to a private room.”
“You lying bastard!” Reynolds thought silently but instead gave a rather optimistic sounding “Really? Which one?”
Both men appeared almost exactly the same Reynolds now noticed, except for one had slightly longer hair. Were these men really twins or had they merely altered their avatars to appear that way?
The one with the shorter hair jerked his head as an indication for Reynolds to follow.
Still highly suspicious, Reynolds did as they bade him.
The two men led him to a door. Reynolds was prepared for a fight and was on the verge of summoning forth his weapon, just in case.
Inside the room was dark, but a dull light flickered on as they entered. Even so, it didn’t do a very good job of illuminating the room, leaving the walls in shadow.
Suddenly there were things moving, humanoid shapes formed of shadow themselves, or so they appeared. They gathered around the three men.
“He’s been asking about the woman Schimler was interested in,” said one of the big bouncers.
Reynolds glanced from the men to the shadows. He’d seen them before, very recently, on an ether image of a pretty young woman getting brutally abused.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:11 pm

Silently the shadows surrounded Reynolds and the two big men backed away, exiting back into the club.
Reynolds was glad that these things were just shadowy figures, he thought that they would actually seem more menacing if they had discernible features.
Strong hands grabbed him and although he struggled against them he put up more a show of resistance than any actual attempt to fight them off.

One of the figures produced a hypodermic syringe and approached Reynolds menacingly while the others held him still.
Reynolds’ gleaming red eyes scanned the object as it got near and he was able to see the code. Essentially it was a stimulant that would activate certain glands within his own brain to produce a variety of chemicals which would have the same effect on the mind as a scope-tab.
So this was how Schimler was keeping Lilly in the scope!
Knowing the formula of course meant that Reynolds was very quickly able to create a counter to in in his own avatar.
It was as the needle touched his arm that Reynolds noticed another part of the concoction.

Reynolds reacted now, ripping himself clear of the group. Immediately a huge gun appeared in his hand and he fired the weapon. One of the shadow-men disintegrated in a shower of reddish sparks.

Reacting now to Reynolds’ sudden hostility the shadows surged in at him, one managing to land a hefty punch as the masked avatar darted this way and that trying to avoid them. The blow sent his sprawling and as he arose, firing the huge pistol at another shadow at point blank range, yet another form managed to land a kick into his side.
As the reddish sparks faded away Reynolds scrambled to get to his feet but for some reason he felt sluggish.
He glanced down at his feet wondering if he was stood in some sort of gloop but instead saw only the hypodermic protruding from his leg.
“Damn” he cursed aloud before essentially losing consciousness.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:34 pm

“Where the fuck is she?” Muldridge asked the room.
With him in the small cabin were Smith, Guthrey, Brewer, Chambers, McConley an Irishman and of course Nestor Wade.
“Keep your voice down, man,” Chambers warned.
“Well!” Muldgridge said as if that were justification. “The whole plan only works if we got her.”
“No it don’t!” Wade snapped. “We’ve still got Reynolds’ family, but the bitch has got to be here somewhere. We’re four hundred feet below the surface, she can’t have just got off. What about the Bastard Baron?”
No one spoke.
“You sayin’ we don’t know where he is either?” Wade was angry.
“Perhaps he’s shaggin’ Paige somewhere!” Guthrey laughed.
“No he isn’t!” Brewer snapped, his voice desperate as he sat up in his chair.
It was an open wound and Guthrey couldn’t help but poke at it. “Does seem a bit strange though Brewer, don’t it? Them two’s disappearing off somewhere. I s’pose they could just be having a nice long chat someplace quiet, ‘cos that’s what I’d do all alone with a beautiful girl!” Guthrey leered at Brewer and the young man folded his arms and huffed.
“All right!” said Wade bringing the conversation back on track. “We’ve got four hours by my reckoning. We search the boat and find Paige,” he looked at Brewer, “and maybe we find Reynolds on top of her! But be discreet. Don’t want anyone getting suspicious and getting their guard up. This really does only work if we catch them with their pants down!”
“Anyone who sees her just has to let Chambers know and we’ll get the grab party ready,” Muldridge added.
“Whatever happens we go ahead with the plan just using the Reynolds family instead,” Wade ordered. “I don’t reckon on Holt letting anything happen to ‘em, and it’ll keep his lordship at bay too, wherever the fuck he is! From now on, Paige is just a bonus!”
The men, with the exception of Brewer who seemed to be sulking again, all nodded their heads in agreement.
Wade smirked as he dismissed them all and noticed that Jonah Brewer was the first to the door!

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:35 pm

Lord Sebastian James Ambrose Reynolds ‘awoke’ with a start to find himself shackled to a bare stone wall in what appeared to be some sort of dungeon.
The floor before him and the ceiling above was constructed of dull grey slate slabs, although above, they rested on thick beams of wood.
Directly opposite Reynolds was a thick ironclad door with a square barred opening at head height, but Reynolds couldn’t make out what was beyond it as a large featureless shadow-man stood motionless in front of him like a statue of black onyx.
Just for the hell of it Reynolds tried the chains and of course found them to be suitably string enough to hold him.
The movement was enough to illicit a sudden reaction from the statuesque shadow-man. Its head moved as though it were looking to Reynolds’ wrist, then the thing turned on its heels and walked out, leaving the door open.
Uncertain as to whether he was in the right place, Reynolds decided against showing his hand just yet, and so waited patiently.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:29 pm

“All hands, all hands! Docking Stations. Repeat – All hands to Docking Stations!” came Mr Whitby’s voice over the ship’s intercom.
Nestor Wade cast a confident look at the men around him, nodded to each, and set forth for the bridge of the Waterwitch.

As he stepped onto the main control room for the unusual vessel he gave a mocking grin to Gecko but remained quiet and took his seat behind the ship’s wheel as a young man named Harry Luck climbed out. Harry was one of the vessel’s third-watch coxswains and didn’t have the experience Wade had in docking the huge boat with the airlocks on Haven.

Wade perched on the edge of his seat instead of adopting his usual laid-back attitude as he wanted quick access to the pistol shoved down the back of his trousers.
“Slow to one-third!” Gecko ordered from the back of the compartment alongside the chart table where Captain Holt was studying the maps, making calculations and issuing his instructions.

**

“Oh for fuck-sake, you arsehole!” Jake Cotton swore at Gary Tuke as he fumbled with the keys in the lock.
“Those were the keys on the hook!” Gary defended.
“Wade’s going to do his nut!” Cotton groaned. “We can’t well take over the boat without any bloody guns now, can we? It’s no good, we’re going to have to go back and get the right ones, you twat!”
“All right, you English ass, enough of the grief. How was I to know the keys hanging on the hook for the small arms locker weren’t the keys for the small arms locker?” Tuke shrugged.
“Come on you Yankee twat!” Cotton ran back through the passageways towards the quartermasters office.

**

Nestor Wade huffed in his seat and fidgeted, looking over his shoulder towards the bridge door.
“Where the hell are they?” he muttered under his breath.
“Is there a problem. Mr Wade?” Seth Gecko asked from behind him.
“Not yet!” Wade whispered then shouted “No!”
“Good.”
Tension was high on the bridge at the moment and it was obvious.
“Five degrees left rudder!” Gecko called. Wade turned the wheel.

**

Jim Muldridge glanced down the corridor. It was clean and bright here, with white painted bulkheads and what appeared to be walnut doors lining the passageway. Beyond the doors were the passenger cabins.
It was the door on the port side, at the far end of the passage that interested Muldridge – that was the door to the cabin suite of Mr Jonathan Reynolds and his family.
Right now they were inside, but there was no telling if they would come out or not. Until Guthrey’s men turned up with the rifles, they weren’t going to be pushing anyone onto the bridge and holding them hostage.
Muldridge jumped as Leon Chambers emerged from the end of the passageway and came up alongside him.
“Can’t bloody find her anywhere!” he informed Muldridge.
Jim shrugged. “No good now, mate. We’re out of time.”
“Talking of time,” Chambers said looking about, “where’s our bloody guns?”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:30 pm

It had been quite a wait for Lord Reynolds and his arms were aching, but now two of the shadow-men entered ahead of another figure, this one clad in a grey business suit with an odd, plastic looking head.
Reynolds recognised Eric Schimler. Good, he thought, at least I am in the right place!
Schimler came and stood before Reynolds looking for all the world like a man sizing up a slab of beef for the best cut!
“I’m not sure that the scarf thing you have wrapped around your ace is entirely necessary as I can guess that you are either from the crew of the Waterwitch, or you are under the employ of its captain?”
Reynolds refrained from answering him so Schimler pulled the scarf away. The German frowned, not recognising the face before him.
“So who the hell are you?”
Again Reynolds refrained from answering.
Schimler looked disappointed. “Oh, come now,” he said with a sigh, “are we going to play games? I find such things so tedious. I obviously don’t recognise you even after I have removed your theatrical disguise. I can understand why you would wish to remain anonymous but such impoliteness’ aren’t conducive to a civil conversations. So which are you, crew or contractor?”
Reynolds gave a little derisive laugh. “Neither, you omitted friend.”
“Of course, yes. That would be the other reason. So you are a friend of Miss Buxley, hey? She will be pleased to have company but it is a great pity for you, as Miss Buxley has found herself in a situation and has now dragged you into it. I am afraid you will have to remain here until Miss Buxley’s situation has been resolved. You are being administered with a cerebral concoction that will mix with the effects of your tab and prolong your stay in the scope indefinitely. Do you have anyone taking care of your body? I do hope so, but tell me where it is, that way I can send someone to take care of your physical self while you are detained?”
Ignoring Schimler’s waffle, Reynolds glanced at the chains holding him. “You talk of civil conversations, sir, but continue to keep me trussed up like this. Hardly conducive either is it?”
Schimler’s plastic face smiled condescendingly at Reynolds. “And let you go running around my domain – guns blazing? Oh, we took the gun off you by the way. But we have much to do today. Miss Buxley gets to spin the wheel again. This time though, she’ll have you as company.”
Schimler turned to the shadows and said, “Bring him to the room and keep his hands bound.”
With that the German turned on the spot and walked back out.
“Likes to hear himself speak!” Reynolds mused silently.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:55 pm

Huang Che Sung was just thirteen years old and he had served on the Waterwitch for nearly five years.
His father had been the laundryman on board and, having no other family as they were killed in the Chino-Japanese wars, he brought his son aboard to learn the trade. When old Ho Min died of the fever last year, Holt offered the job to Che Sung.

Che looked suspiciously at the boiler in the corner of the laundry. It gurgled and burped as the water reached boiling point. The lid rattled and chinked and Che huffed.
He hauled a sodden bed sheet out of the cleaning tank and slopped it onto the draining board.
A huge clang rattled from the cylindrical boiler followed by a great gout of steam rising up to the deckhead and spreading out like a fog.
Che swore at it in Chinese. He was the opinion that as long as he didn’t swear in English then god wouldn’t mind.
The boiler was a nuisance as the run-off valve had rusted and was too stiff to operate by hand.
Che grabbed a wrench and squared up to the dull grey cylinder. “You play nice!” he threatened wagging the business end of the wrench at it.
He fitted the wrench and gave it a hard tug. The valve creaked open slightly.
With a concerted effort Che yanked hard on the wrench again.
The valve gave, releasing the contents of the boiler down into the large mechanical washing machine, but the sudden lack of resistance had made Che stumble backwards where he cracked his head on another valve.
Wincing and staggering forwards he rubbed at the back of his head. His hand came away bloody and he gave a sigh of resignation.
After shutting off the valve again, he poured powder and bundled more bed linen into the steaming tub of the machine cranked a lever to set it running.
Then, with an annoyed shrug he departed in search of the doctor.

At sick bay Che found it empty, with the exception of an unconscious woman he knew to be Lilly Buxley.
With his hand pressed to the back of his head still, he gave an frustrated sigh and turned for the doctor’s cabin.

Jim Muldridge saw him as he the far corner of the passageway.
“What do you want chinky?” he asked then noticed the boy’s wound.
“looking for the Doc,” Che responded indignantly and fixing Muldridge with a steely glare. He didn’t like Muldridge.
“He ain’t here boy, so fuck off!”
Che gave a start and turned to leave. As he did he noticed some men from the stores party carrying rifles.
Smart enough not to react and to just carry on out of sight he quickly turned back to peer around the corner of the bulkhead.
They were definitely there to cause mischief, Che could tell that from their whispered conversation and their generally nervous demeanour. Jake Cotton, Gary Tuke, Leon Chambers and Jim Muldridge, Che noted, and watched dumbfounded as the men, all now armed with rifles moved cautiously towards one of the cabin doors.

**

Cpatian Lindsey Holt moved now from the chart table to the sound-o-graph room, where the operator was seeing an image of the ocean floor projected like an Etherscope viewer, onto a green tinted device that looked similar to a porthole.
“Outer markers just coming into view now cap’n,” the man said without taking his eyes off the screen.
“Good,” Holt nodded. “Switch view to pilot’s station.”
The sound-o-graph man turned a heavy switch and his screen went blank, another similar screen just in front of Nestor Wade sprang into life.

“Mr Wade, you have the markers, take us in nice and slow,” Holt commanded as he returned to the bridge and took his seat.
Wade couldn’t be bothered to answer him, besides, his mouth was bone dry due to his nerves. What was taking them so long? His men should be here by now.
Thoughts of how his plans could have gone wrong slipped unbidden into his mind.
First, he considered how everyone had backed out at the last minute, but dismissed the idea as Brewer would have found a way of letting him know.
Perhaps they’d been discovered and were in a fight to gain control? Again he dismissed the idea, someone would have reported something to the bridge by now.
Then his thoughts came to HIM – Reynolds! The interfering toff had somehow discovered the plan and was sneaking around the boat slitting his men’s throats? No, stupid idea!
“Damn you Brewer!” Wade cursed the greasy haired young man and his stories of Reynolds sneaking through the night like some sort of old world assassin.
“Is there a problem Mr Wade?” Seth Gecko asked.
Wade glared at Gecko. Had he cursed Brewer aloud? “No, just cursing Brewer and the disgusting coffee he made earlier. It’s playing hell with my guts,” he lied.
“Do you need to be excused from your post?” Gecko asked optimistically.
“No!” Wade barked, very aware that Gecko would have liked nothing better.

**

Jonah Brewer was nearly shaking with a mixture of fear and excitement. He was disappointed that he hadn’t managed to find Paige, but that could wait. What troubled him was trying to figure out how he could get Wade to keep her.
He was pondering just that dilemma as he climbed the ladder up to the cabin deck.
Standing against the bulkhead ahead of him and peering around the corner was little Che Sung. Brewer’s eyes narrowed evilly as he realised the boy was watching what was happening at the Reynolds family cabin.
He crept along the passageway, failing to notice the comparison between himself and Reynolds at that point.
Pouncing on the boy he hoisted him from the ground by his collar. “Gotcha, you little fucker!” Brewer said jubilantly.
“Whatya doin’?” Chambers inquired.
“Caught this little bugger spying” he said. “Come on then. Let’s get on with it, we’re late already.”
Che Sung perched on tiptoes, watching wide eyed as Leon Chambers knocked forcefully on the cabin door.
It was opened by a man who reminded Jonah Brewer of the older of the Reynolds brother, but this one was much rounder in the face and wider at the waist.
Jonathan Reynolds’ pleasant smile dropped the instant he saw the guns.
Muldridge and Chambers pushed their way into the cabin, their rifles held threateningly, eliciting a scream from Mrs Reynolds, and frightened whimpers from the children.
“What is the meaning of this?” Jonathan demanded.
“This, my old son,” said Muldridge with delight “means you’re fucked!”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:09 pm

“This is preposterous!” Jonathan Reynolds fumed, standing tall in front of his family. “My brother will hear of this,” he added and without realising it he had just undermined himself in both the eyes of his wife and the armed men surrounding them.
“That’s the plan!” Jonah Brewer sniggered. “Then we’re going to be killing us a Reynolds, one way or another!”
Jonathan bridled and Mrs Reynolds whimpered and slumped into a chair as her legs went weak.
“That’s enough Brewer,” Muldridge said, then turned to Cotton and Tuke. “You two stay here with Brewer. We’re on our way up to the bridge.”
Brewer stepped forward and said, “Sit down ,” then whipped the butt of his pistol across Jonathan’s face.
Mary Reynolds screamed as Jonathan hit the floor with a resounding thud, his expression one of dazed bewilderment.
Brewer chuckled, then yelped as Che Sung stamped on his foot pulling free of the crewman’s grasp.
Before anyone could react, Che was out of the door.
“Shit Brewer!” Chambers cursed then called “Get him then!”

Tuke, Cotton and he charged after the little Chinese lad.

**

“Engine Room, Bridge,” Mr Whitby called over the communications channel.
“Engine Room!” came the response.
“Begin charging hydraulic cylinders five and six,” Whitby ordered.
“Aye sir, begin charging five and six,” the man on the other end of the comms line repeated the command.
Whitby heard the man relaying the orders over the open channel and awaited confirmation of commencement which came a minute later.
“Engine room confirms charging on five and six,” Whitby called out.
“Thank you Mr Whitby,” Gecko answered.
“All stop!” Captain Holt called from within the sound-o-graph room and gecko relayed the command to Wade.
“Aye, all stop,” repeated Wade whilst pulling on the signal lever that would relay the command to the engine room.
Again Wade glanced over his shoulder but found the doorway onto the bridge disappointingly empty. Of course, he could have delayed matters by accidentally relaying the wrong information to the engine room, but subconsciously his own pride in his abilities wouldn’t let him.
“Engine room reports all-stop, Mr Gecko,” Whitby announced, the handset still pressed to his ear.
“Very good. Tell them to lower the forward and after lateral thrusters,” Gecko said.
Whitby nodded at him and relayed the order.

Within a few minutes the Waterwitch shuddered as she made contact with the huge docking clamps on the outside of Haven.
“Kelland says we have a hard seal, sir!” Whitby announced.
“Well, done Mr Wade

**

Che Sung darted around the corner and leaped for the ladder.
“Oi! You little shit! Get back here!” Tuke called out as he made a grab for the young lad, but the boy was too quick for him and scurried up the ladder to the next deck.
The three men followed quickly too, chasing the Chinese boy through narrow passageways until he made it finally to the bridge ladder and took it at a run just as Jake Cotton reached it.
The man managed to get a hand to Che’s ankle but the young boy stabbed at it with the small set of scissors he always had in the pocket of his worn waistcoat.
“Ow, you little fuck!” Cotton yelped, snatching his hand away and dropping his rifle to block the scissor blades as they were swept in close to his face.
The rifle clattered to the deck, the hammer jumping back and darting forward with the pull of the spring.
The shot going off was a shock to all four of them and the stood as though frozen in time, staring at the smoking barrel.
Leon Chambers slowly looked down between his legs to the tatty hole in the bulkhead and not too far below his crotch.
When he looked back up Jake Cotton, Gary Tuke and Che Sung were all staring at the hole too.
It was then that Leon realised he had been holding his breath. He let it out in a long sigh of relief and glared at Cotton.
“You twat!” he snarled through gritted teeth.
Che snapped out of his stunned inertness and clambered up the ladder.
Tuke barged Cotton out of the way and followed.

**

All eyes turned to the door of the bridge and a silence had fallen across the men gathered there.
Holt stepped out of the sound-o-graph room. “Was that…?”
“A gunshot?” Gecko finished, and then answered. “It sure as hell sounded like one.”
Then, before anyone could say anything another sounded, this time from just beyond the door.
Che sung fell in the doorway, hitting the hard deck with a resounding slap, a huge bloody hole in his back.
“What the hell?” Gecko moved towards the boy but stepped back when Chambers and Tuke rushed in brandishing their weapons.

“At last!” Wade sighed, as he moved from his seat.
“What the hell is going on here?” Holt demanded angrily of the two interlopers.
Wade didn’t give them time to reply.
“All right there Gecko, get your hands away from that shooter!” he ordered, flicking the pistol he now held in the first-mate’s direction.
“That’s it, take it out nice and slow and drop it on the deck.”
“Wade? What are you doing?” Holt demanded again.
“Everyone, hands in the air!” Wade barked, ignoring Holt’s question but waving his pistol in his direction to get him to comply.
“Well it’s about damned time!” Gecko said with what sounded like relief, as though he had been not so much expecting something like this to happen, but actually waiting for it.
There was a moment of confusion that ran through Wade’s mind. Was Gecko actually glad? Had he wanted Holt replaced? Had Wade misread Gecko?
“Oh don’t get your britches all in a twist there Wade, I ain’t offering to join your little party, no, I’m just glad I’ve now got the excuse to put a rope around your neck or a bullet through your skull, you mutinous bastard.” Gecko’s face oozed loathing as he stared at Wade.
“Enough of your shit Gecko. You’d best consider yourself lucky that little chinky here bought it, cos I was going to shoot you straight off, just so the captain knew we were serious. Well now my point’s been made for me. And just to make sure you don’t do nothing stupid, we’ve got your girl and the toff’s family as insurance, understand?”
Holt exchanged a worried glance with Gecko, but nodded.
“Good! Now I’m taking over command of thin boat, you understand that?”
Again a nod from the captain.
“Very good, Holt! You play nice and you get to leave with your daughter and whoever remains loyal to you. But the Witch is mine, you hear?”
“For now,” Holt hissed.
“Oh, and by the way,” Wade continued choosing to ignore Holt, “where is the bloody toff?”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:22 pm

The plastic like avatar of Eric Schimler led a chained Reynolds through a number of passageways that were designed to mimic the dungeons beneath an old medieval castle.
There were even cells which contained all sorts of things, mostly instruments of torture, but as they passed one such cell the door opened and a woman in leather straps adorned with silver studs stepped out. On seeing Schimler and the shadow-guards she pressed herself back into the doorway, a slight look of fear on her face.
Beyond her, Reynolds noticed a man chained to a wall. He was naked except for a vicar’s dog-collar around his neck. He was also sporting two things of which Reynolds happened to note: an erection and a huge smile. That man may have been bound there, but he was sure pleased to be so.
“Nice place you have here, Schimler!” Reynolds quipped.
“Thank you, Mr Mystery-man, but alas I cannot take the credit. This wonderful world of debauchery is the domain of a business acquaintance. I am merely renting a small part of it from him.”
“and he knows you are torturing a young woman here?”
“Of course, in fact he approves! Miss Buxley is set to make our host some considerable profit during her short stay here. True snuff experiences are so hard to find, you see?”
Reynolds made a mental note to find out who this other man was and to pay him a visit one day, in the flesh, and find out what he truly thought about snuff experiences.

Eventually Reynolds was led into the circular room he had seen on the scope recording. He glanced back at the door making a note of its location.
Eric spotted the interest. “Oh don’t bother, now the door has closed its destination will have randomly changed.”
Another door opened and a nude Lilly May Buxley was led from it, flanked by two of the shadow-guards.
Reynolds smirked as he saw her stride defiantly up to the circular dais where Schimler had now perched.
Despite her lack of clothing she walked straight backed, her breasts pushed forwards and stood before the plastic looking man with her feet apart and her hands on her hips.
“Well Eric, what are you going to throw at me today?”
Schimler gave a little laugh. “Ah Frauline, you are a card. You know we’ll have you screaming for death, or in ecstasy, or both within the hour don’t you?”
Buxley gritted her teeth then spat at Schimler.
Reynolds laughed then glad to see that Lilly’s mind hadn’t cracked. “Good for you!” he said.
She glared at him. “Who the hell are you?”
“A friend of Mac’s,” Reynolds said with a slight nod of his head.
“Your would-be rescuer, my dear!” Schimler added jovially. “Not a great effort so far, don’t you think?”
Reynolds shrugged. “I cannot deny what Mr Schimler has said, so far my efforts at a rescue do seem somewhat shoddy.”
“Well enough of that!” Schimler said seriously. “Now you get to pick another door, and this time Mr Friend-of-Mac gets to watch. Hell, he might even get to join in! Shall we?” Schimler waved a sweeping arm towards the surrounding doors.
“However,” Reynolds now said, continuing his own part of the conversation. “As rescues go, surely they can only be judged on the outcome once the said rescuer has found the rescuee. Before that point it is purely a hunt.”
“What?” Schimler frowned at Reynolds.
“And,” Reynolds added with a smile, “Mr Schimler really ought to have paid better attention to his prisoner.”
“What are you talking about?” Buxley asked, not following the strange top hat wearing figures speech.
“Yes, what indeed, my dear?” Schimler said getting annoyed with the supercilious twaddle.

Suddenly the shackles binding Reynolds’ wrists and ankles clattered noisily to the floor.
Reynolds reacted quickly then, a huge pistol that resembled an oversized sawn-off shotgun appeared in his hand and was levelled at the shadow guard to his right.
Flame and smoke erupted from the barrel, the weapons creator had gone to great lengths to get the effect right. The shadow guard disintegrated in a shower of red sparks.
The second guard lunged at Reynolds and nearly got hold of him except that Lilly barged it aside.
As it regained its balance it came face to face with the swan-off. A half second later and it was just so many red glowing dust-motes.

Reynolds moved, assessing the situation and the position of the remaining shadows.
Oddly, both had adopted a defensive posture, positioning themselves between Schimler and himself.
Did this mean Schimler was concerned for his own safety?
The German stood and clapped his hands slowly in mock praise. “Bravo, sir, Bravo! However you still have the issue of escape. You need to find the right door!”
Reynolds considered the man’s words then pointed the gun a Lilly.
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Mr Mystery-man. The chemicals we’ve been programming her to self-produce have an odd side effect. It convinces the subconscious that this is reality. Killing her here would convince her subconscious mind that she is dead and more than likely will kill her for real.”
“Eric, you’re full of shit!” Lilly spat.
Reynolds wasn’t so sure of that. Schimler’s concern over his own safety demonstrated by the shadow guards protecting him, made the Baron wonder if Schimler might have been partaking of his own product?
“Been in the scope long, Eric?” he asked coolly.
Schimler stiffened and narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “You’re a smart one, Mr Mystery-man, which means you now know I’m not bluffing.”
Glancing at Lilly Reynolds knew he had to come up with a different plan.
He thrust the shotgun to Lilly. “Take this ,” he ordered and she gladly obeyed.
“If any of them moves, kill them, starting with Schimler.”
“Whatever you intend to do, I would make it quick,” Schimler interrupted and as he spoke several doors opened and more shadow guards emerged, surrounding Schimler in a protective sea of black.

Reynolds pulled Lilly back, nearly as far as the wall behind them, and at the same time pulled a contraption that looked like a net-gun from some hidden fold in his clothing.
“When I fire this a door will appear. You must run for it as quickly as possible, do you understand?” Reynolds whispered quietly in Lilly’s direction.
The nude woman nodded. Reynolds rolled towards the shadows, coming up so that he had his back to them.
The gun fired, four round weights spreading a thin net out which struck the wall and stayed in place.
A shimmering blue-white doorway appeared between them.
“Go!” Reynolds yelled as several black shadow guards grasped at him.
Reynolds was already dodging sideways, avoiding the clawing hands.
Lilly bolted for the doorway passing through the wall as though it wasn’t there.
Reynolds was close on her heels.

Eric Schimler watched the proceedings with surprise.
“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” he mused to no one in particular.

As Reynolds too disappeared through the gateway the German yelled for his guards to follow, but as the first one approached the four round weights exploded, ripping the code that formed the ether into a wall to shreds. The wall blasted outwards in a ball of flame, destroying dozens of the shadow-men and tearing one of Schimler’s arms off at the elbow.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:41 am

Sebastian Reynolds laughed.
It was the sort of laugh that comes after incredible stress; slightly hysterical.
He was lying face-down on a plush blue carpet, his head to one side so that the back of an old oak desk was in his view.
Both the carpet and the desk were familier to him, as was the rest of the office that came into view as he rolled over and sat up.
Everything that was, except for the naked brunette brandishing a gun in his direction.
She was standing, both hands wrapped around the grip of the shotgun-like weapon he had given her, shaking slightly with the weight of it.
It struck Reynolds as an almost comical sight, and given different circumstances might have proven to be an interesting distraction.
“I recognise you,” Lillian May Buxley said now that she could see the man in the tall top hat clearer. “Aren’t you the passenger on the Witch?”
Reynolds arose and gave a sweeping bow. “Indeed I am, Madam.”
“Ambrose, isn’t it?” Buxley asked.
“Only when I need to be,” Reynolds said flippantly. He was making an effort to maintain eye contact with Lilly and trying to ignore her nudity. He couldn’t help feeling that his gallantry was steadily losing ground.
“So, who are you when you don’t need to be Ambrose?” the young woman inquired.
“Perhaps we’d better carry on this conversation when you aren’t pointing a gun at me, and when, sadly, you are wearing more clothes!”

Lilly looked down at her own nakedness and the realisation that her ordeal was indeed over hit home. The big gun sagged in her hands as her arms seemed to lose all their strength and her shoulders shook with the beginnings of a sob which very soon boiled over into a flood of tears.
Reynolds took the gun from her and it disappeared, then he removed his coat and wrapped it around the woman who looked at this moment more like a frightened little girl.
Taking her in his arms he let her cry, her face buried in his chest.

Reynolds imagined he’d be there longer but Lilly seemed to pull herself together after only a quarter of an hour.
“Get me out of here,” she pleaded in a squeaky voice that still seemed to be fighting back the emotions.
Bur Reynolds couldn’t, not yet. She’d have to stay here until whatever Schimler had done to her wore off.
This was his domain, he informed her, so she would be safe as long as she stayed put.
He told her that he would have to go and report back to Captain Holt and let him know that she was safe.
What he didn’t want to do right now was sit here with her covered only in his own coat, with thoughts of her beautiful nude body running wild in his head. Besides, the longer he remained, the greater chance there was that she would ask after Mac, and that was the last thing she needed right now. It was better that she found that out surrounded by friends and in familiar surroundings.
Lilly surprised Reynolds in her pragmatism as she simply agreed to his rules.

Now of course would be the time Reynolds discovered if Schimler’s mind control trickery had worked on him.
Mentally he flicked a switch.
His office faded to black and he had that familiar giddy feeling as his senses were swept away towards the Prime Reality.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 pm

Edgar King, a man of some six feet in height, had to hunch slightly as he looked around the noisy, confined compartment at the astounded faces of his colleagues.
Each of them had heard the events up on the bridge being broadcast aropund the engine room thanks to Mr Whitby keeping his fingers on the transmit button on his handset.
They heard Wade issuing orders, sending Holt, Gecko and the other bridge officers away to the brig and calling for more of his men to come forward and take over.
The intercom speaker went dead as Whitby was forced to leave the handset.

“No way in hell!” King heard someone from down below call out angrily.

Before any more could be said the intercom sounded, Nestor Wade’s distinct voice crackled into life.
“Now hear this you lot! Captain Holt has been relieved of his command of this boat and the senior command crew has been replaced. I, Nestor Wade, am taking over as the captain, and owner of the Waterwitch. I trust the change in ownership will go smoothly and warn anyone and everyone that I have armed crewmen who will shoot anyone trying to stop us. That include the women and children we have as … insurance.”

“What the hell do we do now?” another voice called from somewhere below King.
King leaned on the hand-rail and broadcast his voice across the engine room like a minister preaching from his pulpit.
“I’ll tell you what we do… We turn off the power, make life difficult, then we get some guns and fight that slippery son-of-a-bitch!”
“Hell, yeah!” came a shout from the back of the room that proved infectious and swept through the compartment.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:17 pm

“Move your arse!” Muldridge said sternly as he gave Holt a shove with the barrel of his rifle.
Holt had stopped to speak with Gecko and Wade’s man had interjected immediately.
The former captain stumbled forwards and glared at Muldridge, his jaw clenching and unclenching as he bit back his anger, but he said nothing.
“You mind yourself, James Muldridge,” Seth Gecko hissed dangerously.
“Shut your mouth, Seth. You ain’t in charge round he no more. Pitty Wade didn’t shoot you like we’d planned.”

The group were led on, Holt Gecko and Whitby flanked by Muldridge and five other armed supporters of Nestor Wade.
After a short while they came to the brig where two barred cells awaited them.
“You’re all Damned to hell for this, Muldridge,” Holt stated. “If Anyone else gets hurt then God help you!”
“Keep your religious babble, Holt! Ain’t no one comin to help you out so you better be more worried about what’s going to happen to you.”
“How about this, you fuck?” Gecko pressed himself against the bars to get as close to Muldridge as he could. “I’m going to kill you all for what happened to Che.”
Muldridge sneered but there was a look in Gecko’s eyes that made the words of a retort catch in his throat.
Muldridge had seen a man with just such a look in his eyes many years ago. Pathological hatred, someone had called it. That man, whose family had been killed when the British had ‘quelled’ a rebellion in New Guiney, had gone on a spree that left fifty two British soldiers dead and maybe as many again injured. But he hadn’t gone on a mad rampage though, no, he’d meticulously planned his assault and had sat in the bar night after night with that dreadful look that Jim knew he’d never forget. And he knew he’d just seen it again.

Suddenly there was a distant cracking and popping and the lights went out casting them all in absolute darkness.
“What the hell?” Jim Muldridge wondered aloud.
Emergency lights flickered to life so that the vessel appeared as though it was illuminated by candle light.
“That’s gunfire,” one of the other men announced.
“Shit!” Muldridge cursed. “Two of you stay here, the rest come with me.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:19 pm

Edgar King threw himself flat to the floor and crawled back towards the open door.
Two of the engine room crew were shooting over him towards the similar heavy doorway at the far end of the passageway.
Their shots were fast and poorly aimed, which didn’t matter, they served their purpose in keeping Wade’s men hidden while King got back into cover.
Edgar hauled himself through the steel framed doorway and slammed the watertight door in place then sat panting rapidly and looked to his friends in exasperation.
“What about Walt?” one of them asked.
King shook his head his face shadowed with sadness. “He’s gone,” the big man said.

A few minutes later another of the crew arrived with news that the port side team were having similar problems.
“Alright,” King said hauling himself up. “Forget two-deck. Now we take the service tunnels that hold the ether pipes. I don’t suppose Wade’s goons even know they are there!”
The other noded their agreement and left two of their number behind to secure the door and make sure that Wade’s followers couldn’t come through that way.

As King climbed through the maintenance hatchway into the dark hot and confined tunnel he looked over his shoulder as said, “Remember, quiet down here. If Wade’s lot discover us and start shooting they could rupture a pipe and blow us all to kingdom come. And tell the three deck boys to keep pressing forward.”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:31 am

Ruud Booekers was a Dutchman with thick brown hair, which he kept long and wore tied back in a ponytail.
Although no heavily set, a life of physical work had honed his body so that it was lean and muscular.
He was a man with bright blue eyes and a cheeky grin and never had problems wooing the ladies, even after his comrades revealed his childish nickname: Boo.

Boo had been one of James Hartfield’s close friends aboard the Witch and having mourned the loss, with help from a bottle of rum, he was now looking for payback and Nsetor Wade’s mutiny had given him all the excuse he needed.

He shifted position now, as he crouched behind the heavy steel drum his gang had brought up from the engine room. He wished he’d remembered to bring some old rags to kneel on as the cold steel deck wasn’t doing him any good.

“You alright there boo?” a whispered voice from the darkness inquired.
This end of the passageway was much darker that the far end, the crew having disabled the lighting.
It gave Boo and his men the advantage over any of Wade’s crew that came this way.
“Ya, I’ll be okay,” Boo replied.
There was a cling from the other end of the passageway and both men turned towards the noise, staring down the barrels of their Lee-Enfield rifles.
“Here they come,” Boo announced, unaware of how pleased he sounded. The other four men readied themselves in the doorway.

The heavy hatchway swung open and a man in a shirt and waistcoat stepped through, followed by several others.
It didn’t take long to notice how dark the end of the passageway was and bring those behind him to a halt.
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he became aware of the shapes at the far end.

“Don’t you move a muscle, Aubrey Crabtree,” Boo warned, then added, “we got guns too, man!”
Crabtree recognised the voice.
“Boo? What are you doing?”
“Giving you the chance to change your mind about this, man Stop being so bloody stupid.2
“No mate! You’re the one being stupid. Put your guns down, Wade said no silliness. If you don’t want to stay you can leave with Holt.”
Boo shook his head in disbelief. “You’re crazy, man. Wade’s a fuckin’ lunatic and so are you if you think this shit is right.”
“I’m a lunatic?” Crabtree spat in disgust. “Fuck you, you South African prick, and your mother.”
“How many times do I have to tell you – I’m not South African – I’m Dutch!”
That’s when the shooting started.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:32 am

Paige Holt had sat with the pages of her book angled towards the ether lamp.
Earlier she’d heard people moving around outside the compartment and had been worried that if she had the lights up full, then whoever was out there might see the light under the door.
She had turned down the valve, dimming the lights but it had made reading all the more difficult.

Then came something that had chilled her to the bone: Wade’s broadcast about taking over the boat. Now she was scared, trapped here and not knowing what was going on.

Paige had gone to the door, then thought better of it, then paced around the compartment wringing her hands in worry and gone to the door again but had once more dissuaded herself from that course of action.
How she had wished for Baron Reynolds to awaken at the moment, but he hadn’t.
Should she pull the plug out of his head? God no! What if that killed him?

So she sat fretting in the gloom, wondering what was going on and, as she had no answers, making up dreadful scenarios in her head.

After a while the lights had gone out and Paige’s heart had leapt into her throat with fright.
Then there came echoing through the vessel which sounded like people hammering on metal, but which she quickly realised was gunfire and tears welled in her eyes.
“Oh for pity’s sake, Sebastian, wake up!” she hissed into the blackness.
She yelped when a voice said, “Alright girl, give me time!”

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:06 pm

“Shhh…” Reynolds hissed from somewhere behind her. “Paige, what’s happening? Was that a gunshot?”
“Yes it was, Baron Reynolds!” her voice was laced with hysteria.
Somehow, in the complete blackness Reynolds found her and put his hands on her shoulders.
“Paige,” he said calmly, “tell me what has happened.”
“Wade has mutinied,” she blurted. “He’s taken over the ship and I don’t know if my father is alive or dead, if Wade’s killed him I don’t know what I’ll do… and you were asleep and the lights went out and I couldn’t leave you and…”
Her voice was cut off as Reynolds pressed his lips firmly to hers in a passionate kiss, his tongue exploring her mouth.
When he broke away from her, her knees felt weak and all she could say was “Oh my!” in a giddy little voice.
“I think I get the picture…” Reynolds said as though nothing had happened. “… Wade has taken over and we don’t know what is happening, right?”
Paige didn’t reply.
Her mind, which had been beset with worry had just been bombarded with something akin to emotional overload.
No one had ever kissed her like that before and she felt tingly.
“Paige!” Reynolds said sternly.
“What? Er… yes, yes you’re right,” Paige replied glumly as reality came crashing back in.
“Where’s my coat?” Reynolds queried and rummaged around in the darkness.
After a few moments the room was suddenly awash with a greenish glow as Reynolds turned on his ether-comm and the hologram-like globe appeared above the device.
“We can’t stay here honey, don’t you agree?” Reynolds asked as he adjusted thee holster at his side.
Honey? She blinked at him. He called me honey?
“Paige?” Reynolds asked slowly, hiding the beginnings of a smile when he saw Paige’s almost mesmerised face.
“Yes, Lord Reynolds?” Paige responded almost automatically.
“Come on,” he said calmly as he came up to her. “I need you with me, Paige. Are you with me?”
She nodded.
“Good. Can you use this?” He knew it was a big ask for the seventeen year old.
He had placed something heavy in her hand. It was cold and hard.
Looking down she saw a pistol, a large revolver with a long tubular extension to the barrel.
Christ! “Ye…yes!” was all she could muster in reply.
“All right then! Quietly, follow me, let me do the work. Only use that if you absolutely have to.”
Paige nodded and adjusted her grip on the weapon which had suddenly brought home just how serious and deadly their situation had become.
Reynolds withdrew a large knife from a sheath at his back and quietly unlocked the door.
He pulled it open a crack and looked out – nothing.
He opened it further so that he could get his head out and look in the opposite direction – still nothing.
“All clear,” he announced in a whisper. “Ready?”
She nodded.
“Let’s go,” he said, slipping through the doorway.
Wade did not know that death was now hunting him.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:57 pm

Paige holt examined the body of the crewman like a patron might look at an oddity on display at the circus, with a mixture of curiosity and revulsion.
The lifeless form was lying in a pool of dark liquid which, thankfully, the lighting was too poor to show in all its crimson glory.
She couldn’t believe how efficiently with which Lord Reynolds had dispatched the man.

Four men had come down the passageway towards where Paige and Reynolds had been lurking.
The lead man – Bomber Griffin – had told one of their number to stay put and guard the stairwell and report back to Wade if any runners came this way.
When the other three had gone Reynolds had moved down the corridor at incredible speed, given that he did so in utter silence, and had cut the man’s throat before the poor fool even knew anything about it.
Paige had known that there was more to the son of Earl Reynolds than met the eye but had not, until now, witnessed him in action before.
Even though she knew he had fought his way through an armed band of American thugs to rescue Lilly, she hadn’t expected the cold ease with which he carried out the murder of another human being.
Oddly, it didn’t seem to have any affect, positive or negative, on her opinion of him.
“I think I might be sick,” she whispered.
Reynolds grinned, “I get like that sometimes,” he said, which didn’t make her feel any better.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:22 pm

King ushered the five men behind him out through a small square hatchway into a dimly lit passageway that was lined with cables and pipes on both bulkheads.
He said nothing himself and reminded each man to remain silent as they came out, puffing and sweaty after their long crawl through the dark awkward tunnel that smelled of oil and tallow.
When they had gathered themselves he led them cautiously towards number three hold.

As they came to a heavy door, built to be air and watertight, King had them stay back whilst he went about the slow business of unclamping the door as quietly as he could. All six men winced whenever the rusty clamps gave a banshee wail in protest. They all had visions of Wade’s men, alerted by the noise, getting themselves into position on the other side, ready to riddle whoever came through the door with bullets.

At last the final ‘dog’ was released and King tugged at the door.
No movement.
It took him a moment to realise his error, then with a huff of annoyance he shoved hard at the door.
It flew open with a squeal from its hinges pulling King off balance so that he fell over the lower part of the coaming into the compartment.
Frozen where he fell like an oddly placed ebony statue, King awaited the shot that would kill him, as did the other men behind him.
No shot came though as the compartment was empty.
There was one more entrance to the large open space, except for the huge hatch in the roof of the chamber and King figured that if anyone opened that then Wade’s followers would be the least of their worries!
He directed two of his men to climb the ladder and secure the doorway there.
“So far, so good,” King mused to himself as he looked around. Number Three Hold was the smallest on the ship and could only be accessed by the service passage down which they had just come and the upper door which led directly into Number Two Hold, on the opposite side of the forward bulkhead.
This was Engineering’s store, a small workshop resided in one corner but wasn’t used due to it being so isolated.

With a nod and a grin to his fellows that showed them his startlingly white teeth, King led the men back out into the dim passageway which would take them past the Ether Chambers and into the small control room.

That is where he expected to find resistance.

He wasn’t disappointed.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue May 14, 2013 1:34 pm

Jonah Brewer paced about the Reynolds' family cabin, a cold sweat drenching his brow, his bottom lip pinched between his crooked yellow teeth. he was drumming his fingers on the Butt of his rifle as he walked in nervous agitation.
He was here, away from the action and as he considered it; out of the loop. He wanted to know what was happening and yet he didn't, which made him both nervous and angry.
Supremely confident in Wade's plan he had convinced himself that it was going to succeed, but ever present was this little doubt that just wouldn't go away.
Sighing he turned to face back into the room and the little nagging feeling increased again. Brewer was looking at Jonathan Reynolds and he suddenly realised why this nagging wouldn’t leave, and what the source of the feeling was; Sebastian bloody Reynolds!
While the toff remained at large Brewer couldn’t get that horrid sinking feeling to abate.
In frustration his fist slammed into the bulkhead as he neared it, the echoing thud soliciting frightened whimpers from the children.
Their sound annoyed him and he turned to glare at them. The boy wasn't looking at him, he was holding his sister's hand and had his other hand on his mother's back, consoling her while she cradled the unconscious Jonathan's head.
But the daughter was watching him, tears streaking her cheeks, her eyes wide as saucers.
Brewer straightened, combing his fingers through his lank, greasy hair and flashing a smile that looked to the girl as foul as the man's breath smelt.
Little Millicent Reynolds looked away burying her face in her brothers shoulder.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Mon May 20, 2013 3:12 pm

Anger welled up inside Brewer, a bitterness aimed at every girl that had ever spurned him and it contorted his narrow weasel face into an unpleasant combination of sneer and grimace.
Well, he'd show this little brat not to spurn him. his eyes darted towards the bedroom door, then flicked back towards Millie and his sneer-grimace turned into an insidious smile, something that made him look even more sinister.

Davie Brown, who was calmly leaning against the bulkhead between two pictures of mountains, the Alps he assumed, watched Brewer's pacing with bored indifference. but now the man had stopped and was giving the little girl the kind of look that he wasn't overly comfortable with.
Knowing how treacherous the greasy man could be and that he was also Wade's favourite lap-dog, he thought twice about warning brewer off, but then his conscience go the better of him.
"Brewer," Brown said slowly.
"What?" Brewer snapped in annoyance, spinning on his heel to face Brown. "What?" Brewer said again, challenging.
Brown didn't respond immediately and Brewer grunted in victory, however, Brown cocked his head to one side. "Someone's coming," he announced, glad of the excuse to change the subject.
Brewer's face brightened like a child spotting a treat in his mother's hand, but the excited look dropped when he saw Brown unsling his weapon and ready himself.
The greasy man followed Brown's example and nodded for Brown to open the door.

A man stumbled as he went to knock on a door that was no longer there and Brewer tittered a high pitched, girly laugh.
The man, Gerald Lipton, was of a burly, mid-height build with short cropped brown hair and a close trimmed beard.
He frowned at Brewer, his dark eyes threatening. "You arse, Brewer! Stop cocking around," he growled bringing the scrawny man's giggles to a halt with the severity of his tone.

Jonas Brewer didn't like Lipton very much, he was far too confident for his liking, and built like a built privy too!
Trying to assert his authority, Brewer said, "Never mind all that, what's happening? Does Mr Wade need me to do anything?" He was trying to sound confident but to Brown he just sounded nervous.
Lipton frowned at Brewer and pushed his way into the cabin so that he could see there was no one else in there, his hairy faced bulk filling the doorway.
"Nestor," Lipton said deliberately using Wade's forename to annoy Brewer, a man whom Lipton despised greatly, "sent me to check that all was well here, He said for me to tell you to wait until he says before opening your present? Don't confess to knowing what he means but I'm sure it means something to you?"
Brewer screwed his face up in confusion. "Present?"
A whimpering sob emitted from the little girl at that moment and Brewer's eyes lit up. "Ah, yes," he drooled.
Brown shuddered as he followed the lank-haired man's gaze.
"Jesus!" Lipton cursed as he too realised what was meant and he shook his head in disgusted revulsion.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Wed May 22, 2013 5:50 am

“Don’t you stand there judging me, Gerald, the wife beater,” Jonas Brewer spat the words out, emphasising the man’s name as though it were some sort of curse.
Lipton tensed, annoyance turning to outrage at Brewers sudden and uncharacteristically strong outburst. “Mind your tongue, Brewer!” he hissed through clenched teeth.

Suddenly Lipton jerked, standing straighter, his eyes wide in surprise. The movement made Brewer flinch and step back, wondering if Lipton was about to attack him.

Again Lipton jerked, letting out a grunt and his face turned angrier still. He span around, his bulk now facing into the back into the passageway.
“You bastard!” the big man growled before jerking yet again.

Brewer and Brown both stared in confusion, unable to see into the darkness beyond Lipton’s massive frame.
Then the back of Lipton’s dirty, once white shirt darkened. A patch spread from the centre of his back and flowed down towards his waistline.
Despite the dim emergency lighting sucking the colour from the room, both men knew that the patch of growing darkness should be a bright crimson red.

Lipton stepped backwards, one foot unsteadily behind the other, forcing the second foot to scrape back across the carpet in order to maintain his balance.
He had his hand clasped to his own throat.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:25 pm

Edgar King motioned for quiet as he crept towards the corner of the darkened passageway.
He had two men with him, having left the rest to secure the passageways around Cargo Hold C.

Taking a round-about route to get behind what he was terming ‘enemy lines’ they were approaching the small brig.
Peering around a corner in the passageway he saw that the main door was open and a dim light was coming from within.
Grinning, King flexed his shoulders, looked back at his companions and nodded. Then guessing that they might not notice the movement in the darkness he whispered, “We’re on.”
He received a pat on his shoulder – OK!
King had acquired himself a long machete which was normally used for cutting open packaging or hacking through mooring ropes in an emergency but now was to be used for a far more sinister purpose. He readied the weapons as he crept forward.

Seth Gecko paced angrily around the confined cell, his fists clenching and unclenching in pent-up frustration.
Every now and then he would cast a glance at the doorway especially when the muted bass of gunfire would echo through the vessel or there was some spurious clang or creak.

Whitby watched the pacing lion, his own eyes never straying from the tough, scary executive officer.
Lindsey Holt noticed the worry on Whitby’s face.
“For the love of God, Seth, stop your pacing will you?”
Gecko stopped to fix Holt with one of his stern looks. “Aye,” he muttered, before setting off again, a caged lion looking for the first opportunity to escape and pounce on its captor.

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Re: Waterwitch

Post by Keeper » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:26 pm

There were four of Nestor Wade’s men guarding the brig.
King knew them all. He didn’t particularly get on with any of them.

Jack Laurence was a man of average everything, build, height, weight, non-descript brown hair and plain clothes. He had a dull personality that even those on Wade’s ‘payroll’ tended to mock.

Paul Burrows was a tall thin man in his early fifties with hair that had already turned a shocking white. His lithe, almost skeletally thin body bellied an uncanny strength. King and Burrows had come to blows before, and it hadn't gone well for the big black man.

Nicholas Clough was a Yorkshire man, King had been able to tell that when they'd first met, before the man spoke in his rich Barnsley accent. There was something about him that reminded King of an old friend who also came from the north of England. Clough was another average guy.

Last there was Schmidt, Shmitty to everyone that knew him and called themselves his friend.
Shmitty was tall, broad, square-jawed, blue-eyed, blond-haired and had muscles that rippled and bulged even when he was asleep. No one here knew it of course, but there was a man on certain worldlines, a little ways in the future, who would have drooled over the sight of such Aryan perfection.
If that wasn't bad enough, Shmitty was also a mean vicious animal who would happily punch and kick a man to death just for the entertainment of it. King hated the big German with a passion.

Gripping the handle of the machete tightly he moved forward with caution. He didn't want them to realise he was there until he was amongst them.
Behind him his men followed.

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