Sea Trials

Jun. 19th, 2009 03:31 am
jdagger: (Default)
Captain's personal log
NBS Charger
Location: Open ocean

We've been under way for hours now, and I had to go topside. So here I am, sitting on turret 1 watching the sea roll by and listening to the gun crew working underneath me. Looking aft, the other ships in the line plow ahead, running along into the twilight, towards...an uncertain future.

Earlier today, I woke up to a typical hazy New Babbage morning. Things in town were even more tense than when Doctor Obolensky made his move to take control of the city government. Given the state of relations between his goons and the remnants of the militia, I had been planning a way to move the remaining operational ships out of the harbor.The key was how and when.

The first thing was to secure my effects at the office. I placed the majority of the case files and company information in the safe, and packed the majority of my personal papers in a satchel, and delivered them to my prearranged hiding spot in the coal chute of Peacock Place. I slid the note under the door, and walked back over to the salon for a final cup of coffee.

"Dear Ladies, There is a package that I am entrusting to your safekeeping that is now in your house. If circumstances allow, I will reclaim it from you when I return. If not, I leave it to your discretion to do with as you see fit. As always, I hold you both in the deepest of esteem. Bon chance, Jed"

I changed into a plain working gown, pulled back my hair and donned a blonde wig, and topped it off with a rather austere bonnet. Armed with my shopping basket, I felt I favored one of the domestics that would be out shopping during this time of the day. The streets were largely empty, save for the Doctor's automatons. They were menacing, yet for all their ability, they were not inquisitive.

The docks were active with sailors, most of whom were milling about looking for work. Sadly, the fast packet ships were not operating as they normally did, since the Doctor had rerouted most of the traffic to his fleet of airships. This was most obvious in the market stalls, as the only foodstuffs I found were a few old tins of corned beef, wiggyfish chowder, and a sad lot of rapidly aging bread. I walked across the docks to the outfitting pier, and took a long look at the two flagships of the fleet, the Industry and the Commerce. Work had ground to a near halt since the occupation, and both of them languished there at their moorings. Luckily neither one of them would pose much of a threat as they had not been outfitted, fueled or provisioned.

I walked back towards the quay market, wondering what I would do next. The four operational navy ships were moored on the far end of the prier, under what I had estimated to be a very light guard. Luck was on my side, as the Smashingtons had not been programmed to detain ladies with shopping baskets. Armed with this knowledge, I walked towards the one place I expected to find some help. Sitting in the corner booth at the Gangplank, was a very disconsolate navy officer. Jack Palmer had been a newly promoted Lieutenant in the Wrath fleet when an angry redhead walked into Commodore O'Toole's office with a letter of introduction and a second-hand uniform. We had served together for a long while, and he had followed me to Babbage once he found out about my commission. He refused promotion, content to be my second, and I was very glad to see him at this point.

"Sir, may I have a seat?" I smiled at him, and he looked up from his beer in some degree of surprise.
"Miss? You..I.." He smiled back, and I sat carefully, adjusting the petticoats as I slifd onto the bench across from him. "thank God, Jed. I though you'd be in the jail by now."
"Not yet, bud. What's the word on the ships?"
"Not much. The goons that pass for the constabulary moved off most of the crews, and only left a few of those clanks to keep onlookers off the docks"
Not good, but still hopeful. "How many of the boys can you quietly round up?"
"Most of ours, with a few extra from the other boats."
"Jack, get them ready to move. See if you can find the Greeks, and have the bosuns meet me back here this evening. We're taking the fleet out. Tonight."
He grinned, tipped his cap and walked out into the street.

I returned to the Gangplank later that afternoon, and found that Jackie had managed to get six of the senior crewmen from the fleet together. They sat in the corner, and looked like any group of friends chatting over drinks. The boys knew what was at stake, and didn't make their normal show of jumping to attention when I slid in next to them. I relayed the plan to each of them...they would each take a group of men, secure the ship, make enough steam to get underway, and meet up on the edge of the Vernian once we were out of range of the Observatory. We would use the cover of darkness, and I hoped that the airships used by the pirates under the Doctor's employ could not track us once we were seaborne.

(more once I get some sleep)
jdagger: (Default)
It was a typical morning at the office. I walked down to the postbox, and picked up the mail, returned to my desk and my coffee to review the day's correspondence. The normal letters were shuffled to the appropriate places on the desk...requests for information, bills, letters requesting updates on active cases...and then there was a large envelope on the bottom of the stack. It was sealed with an engine stippled binding, and the return address read simply "City Hall, office of the Mayor". The contents were dumped onto the desk, and I looked at them in turn, a certificate, a typed letter on official letterhead, and two handwritten envelopes, one which said "read me first" and the second stating "read me last".

"
Mosseveno Tenk
The Mayor of the City-State of New Babbage

To all who shall see these presents, greeting:

Know Ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of Jedburgh Dagger.
I do appoint her a Captain in the New Babbage Naval Militia to rank as such from the 14th day of April 18XX. This Officer will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.
And I do strictly charge and require those Officers and other personnel of lesser rank to render such obedience as is due an officer of this grade and position. And this Officer is to observe and follow such orders and directives, from time to time, as may be given by me, or the future Mayor of the City-State of New Babbage, or other Superior Officers acting in accordance with the laws of the City.
This commission is to continue in force during the pleasure of the Mayor of the City-State of New Babbage for the time being, under the provisions of those Public Laws relating to Officers of the Armed Forces of the City-State of New Babbage and the component thereof in which this appointment is made.
Done in the City this 14th day of April in the year of our Lord 18XX"

I stared at the paper, and propped it against the cubbyholes on the back of the desk. I had not expected this, and wondered aloud how this had happened. Yes, I had been approached about joining, but..this.

The letter was next...
"City-State of New Babbage
Office of the Maceholder

To: Commodore J Dagger, New Babbage Naval Militia

You are hereby ordered to take command of the city's Naval Squadron, and make such preparations as you see necessary to ready those forces for any military contingency.

For the Mayor:

Aeolus Cleanslate"

I sat the letter down, and took a long sip of my coffee. I opened the first letter, and it contained a small handwritten note...
"Jed,

Congratulations. Now get to work.

AC"

This was just too much, so I wadded up the note and threw it at the bookcase. I pulled out a fresh sheet of paper, and began to write my resignation. As much as I wanted to take this on, I was too busy. Too much was going on with the agency, too many other things to attend to. The words came fast, and the text on the page was close and thready. Pausing for another sip of coffee, I stared at the second envelope.

"Jed,

Aeolus figured you would buck. I told him you'd say yes. Prove him wrong.

Tenk

PS Your uniform is at city hall. Get to work."

Damn.

I got my jacket, loaded the Remington, and walked to City Hall.

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Jedburgh Dagger

April 2014

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