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The disappearance and rescue of Miss Beq Janus from the Darkmer of the Vernian Deep

(this is the account of an RP adventure that was partially documented on the Primgraph blog in September of 2009. My thanks go to the other members of the RP who helped make this possible)

Since being given the command of the New Babbage Naval Squadron, I have found that my time has been progressively eaten by administrative tasks. Sadly, even in light of what happened in town with the Obolensky affair, I still am running the squadron with a shoestring staff. I am wearing a lot of hats, to include Chief of Intelligence. There are days when I wish I could spirit the Duchess away from Hotspur, because I could use a second set of eyes when going over all the briefs and notes that come across my desk.

I had just finished my second cup of coffee when I saw the pile of paper neatly dropped from the repeating telegraph in the office. Typically all of the reports from inbound and outbound shipping are sent to me for review, and so I read through them classifying them for possible action, whether it means increasing the coastal patrols, checking on harbor watch or any of the other myriad things that come from 'someone somewhere saw something'. The Caledon air packet made a report into harbor control that they saw an oil slick with debris out by the Vernian Deep marker buoy. I made a note to send someone out to check, and looked at the forwarded port entry/exit log. Debris could mean anything....the log didn't indicate anyone missing, but it could be smugglers or some private craft that failed to check in. I happened to reach for my cup when I saw the byline on the copy of the Primgraph Reporter..."missing correspondent". I grew more concerned as I read the article. I knew Miss Janus had been going on an assignment, that it had been a while since I had seen her in town...

I quickly telegraphed the pier, and told the watch officer to get my Seahawk ready to sail. The Seahawk is small, in comparison to the other gunboats in the squadron, but is fast enough to get me out where I need to be. Once I arrived at the docks, the harbormaster already had the message that Black Queen was outbound for the Vernian. We got underway, and after a short run at speed found the debris field. It wasn't much to see, litter, odd bits of flotsam...and then I saw it. A jacket. I fished it out with a gaff hook, and it didn't take much to know who it belonged to. It was hers. If it was as I thought, she'd have taken the Seahorse out. It was a sturdy sub, but even so didn't have an air supply that would last for this long.

I fired off a telegraph to the harbor office for distribution, warning of a possible navigation hazard. This should give me a little time to reroute shipping, and keep traffic out of the area.

Now to find a submarine...


The Seahawk slid into the Clockhaven pier, and I was out and walking the moment the lines were tied. I had some thinking to do before heading back out. I circled back through the square, and picked up a blank quarto and a pack of pencils from a wiry old crofter. I headed over to the Gangplank, since it would be the closest place with a table where I could do some work. Being mid-day, no one was in the place, so I drew myself a beer and got to work. I was lost in current charts, depth figures, oxygen consumption, tank volumes, and a myriad of other things when I was jolted out of my thoughts be a single word.


Kaylee stood there smiling that quizzical little smile of hers; looking over all the pages of notes I sat writing….and I could see the wheels turning. Miss Frye heard the same news I had about Beq going missing, and she was of the same mind I was. We talked for a short while longer, and headed back down to the docks to set out. We asked a few questions, and found out that the city works department had a small 2-seat submersible they used to inspect the pilings of the piers and the sewer gratings underwater. We put it in the water, and headed out.

The trip down took a bit of time and a few navigational corrections on my part. Once I was in the vicinity of where I found the floating debris, we headed down to the bottom. This part of the Deep is very true to its name, and the bottom is laced with peaks and canyons. We found ourselves in a twisting cut, and as the little sub edged forward, the lights illuminated part of our goal. There in a twisted heap lay the mangled bits of the Hippocampus. I edged in close, and did a series of turns around the wreck so that both of us could see if the unfortunate pilot was still aboard. It looked as if the hull had been torn open, not from the pressure of the water but by some external means. This was not quite the answer I had hoped for, and Kaylee agreed with my thoughts that this was not the end of our exploration. I marked the spot on my charts, and followed the canyon out. What we saw next as the canyon opened up into a large flat space took me aback. Here on the sea floor was a village, constructed of a bewildering array of flotsam. We had discovered a colony of Mer-folk, living on the bottom of the Vernian. I edged the sub closer; making turns this way and that to look at all the wondrous things in the little village. I decided that we wouldn’t linger, because even though I didn’t see any activity or residents, it would not be wise to shake what could be a potential hornet’s nest. At the end of the ‘street’, I saw a very large angular object. It turned out to be a leg piece from Tiny Tin, which begged a whole different line of questions. It looked as if it had been cut and modified, and as we edged closer I saw that it had a window attached to the side. I skid-turned the little sub, playing the lights across the metallic surface when the beams crossed the glass dome of the window. Kaylee and I both gasped, because there in the window, peering blindly into the illumination was the figure of the missing Miss Janus. I cut the floodlights and turned on the cabin lights. Kaylee and I both strained to look out the canopy, our hands pressed to the glass. Maybe she saw it, maybe not, but it was a sign that we knew, and that we’d be back. I quickly switched the lights back to running mode, and headed out and up. This was no longer a recovery, this was a rescue.
“Kaylee, we’re gonna need a bigger sub…”

As soon as we hit the docks in Clockhaven, both of us took off in different directions. Kaylee said she could handle the new submarine, and I went to finalize the gear, the logistics, and the extraction. My first stop was the office of one Dr Augustus Dayafter. Knowing what I knew about his background, he was the perfect fit for the extraction team. Lucky for me, Gus and I have worked together long enough that when the redhead walks in with that old familiar look on her face, we don’t have to waste time going over the “what’s going on?” and we can get to the “what do we need to do”. I gave him a quick rundown on the situation, explained that he would need to provide immediate medical assistance if it came down to that, and I wanted him to fly the airship out to the pickup point and wait for us to surface. Gus had flown the Skycrane before, so that wasn’t an issue, and a quick message down to the aerodrome would mean the boys would have it fuelled and ready on his arrival.

I circled back to the office and picked up my dive suit, a spare suit for Beq, and grabbed an extra set of air tanks. After loading the gurney, I headed back to the docks and waited for the arrival of the rest of the team. Gus arrived in the Skycrane, and landed out on the pier, and shortly after that, a large rough looking submarine slid gently into the slip near where I was standing. Kaylee popped out of the hatch, smiling broadly. With the team now assembled, I went over the plan. Best case would be that we would take the sub to the area, approach in dive suits, open the habitat that Beq was in, slip her the suit, and evacuate to the surface. If need be, we could abandon the sub on the surface and fly out on board the airship. The next question was concerning her captors. My plan there was simple as well…negotiate, bribe, cajole, deceive, and finally force her release. Gus had the rendezvous location plotted on his chart, and his instructions were simple. Stand by and watch, and if he didn’t see any sign by nightfall, head back and plan on a much larger rescue. I checked with Kaylee, and she had her salvage suit, so we had just about all the tools we would need, to include an underwater cutting torch. With a nod and a round of good lucks, we boarded the sub and headed out. I circled the sub around the back of the mer village, and Kaylee and I set out on foot. We arrived at the building, and took a closer look at what we had to do. Kaylee went around back, with the intention of cutting a hole in the lower part of the former leg, so we would have a way to get in without losing the bubble of precious air trapped inside. It was at that point, while she was cutting, that we came in contact with the mer. I tried to edge away from where Kaylee was working and draw their attention to me. They were lovely creatures, and they swam around me, trying to figure out just what manner of creature I was in my dive suit. I started to talk to them, and amazingly enough they spoke back. I felt like I had made some progress at keeping them distracted from Kaylee’s work, but one of them saw her huddled behind the structure and naturally called out to his peers that there was another person there. Luck was on our side for a bit of this because Kaylee was able to slip the spare dive suit into the crack, and hopefully Beq would be able to retrieve it from inside her ‘quarters’. I continued to speak to the one of them that appeared to be their leader, and asked about Beq. She told me that they found her in her submarine brought her here and built this habitat for her to live in. Apparently they did know that we couldn’t breathe underwater and found enough salvageable items in order to build this little room. I told her that I was a friend of Beq’s, and that I wanted to take her home. I was told in no uncertain terms that they liked keeping her here and did not want her to leave. In fact, they began to insist that we stay to keep her company. I tried bribing them with some shiny baubles I had with me, but that was not enough to secure her release. One thing I was able to do while I was talking to the mer leader was to make eye contact with Beq through the window. I signed to her to look in the back, and to get ready. She seemed almost reluctant to comply, but walked away from the window to get the suit, or so I hoped. I tried everything I could to get them to let her go, but the mer liked having their ‘friend’ in the tank, and would not agree to let her go. Finally, Kaylee sensed my frustration in my lack of progress with the negotiations, and ran off saying “You can’t catch me!” As they swam away chasing after Kaylee, I knew that this came down to my final option: Blunt force. I swam to the window, got Beq’s attention, tapped on my helmet and then put my dive hammer against the window. She nodded quickly and put on the helmet. I braced myself against the structure and began striking the glass as hard as I could. First there was a crack, and then a spider web, and finally the glass shattered. The window gave in to the rush of water with a thump and a storm of bubbles. Just as Beq emerged from her cell, Kaylee appeared back out of the undergrowth, all by herself. She had managed to elude the mer in the chase, but I saw forms coming back to where we all now were, so I screamed at both of them to run for the sub. Kaylee grabbed her by the arm and took off towards the sub. I stood there and began yelling and waving towards the approaching mer-folk, and after I had a reasonable suspicion they had seen me, I ran away from the sub as fast as the suit would allow me to. They pursued me a short distance, then realized I was alone and turned to pick up the trail of Kaylee and Beq. My hope was this would give them enough time to make it to the sub. I stopped and turned back, just in time to see the running lights of the submarine begin to rise towards the surface. I smiled a bit, then realized that I was now alone to face the angry group of mer that had just been deprived of their friend, plus having the added knowledge that I was on a limited amount of air. I dropped my weight belt, checked the air gauge, and began the slow swim to the surface. I ascended as slowly as I dared, trying to breathe slowly and forcing all those panicked thoughts back to the back of my mind. A long few minutes later and I bobbed to the surface of the Vernian. I unhooked my helmet, and now began to face the prospect of being all by myself out in the middle of the ocean. I floated to my back, and began to slowly paddle towards the Port. My eyes ached at the light, so I kept them closed and hoped that something else wouldn’t make this any more difficult than it already appeared to be. I floated and swam intermittently, and after a while of this, bone weary and nearly ready to give in, I heard a sound. Engines. I stopped, and strained my eyes and saw the approach of the Skycrane. Gus put her down on the water, and I felt the sudden sensation of a metal hand gripping my arm. Kaylee hauled me aboard, and we were off headed back towards New Babbage and safety. Before I could say anything, Gus threw a look over his shoulder and yelled back to me “No one gets left behind.” He smiled that old rakish grin of his and turned back to the controls.

We landed in Clockhaven and disembarked to Gregoe’s hostel, where we all found warm food, hot coffee and the comforts of dry clothes. It was curious as we talked, there in the upper suite, that Beq regarded her captivity. She seemed very attached to the mer, in spite of the fact that she was being held in such an alien place. Hopefully, she will return to herself after a few days rest.

Date: 2011-02-08 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] headburroantfarm.wordpress.com (from livejournal.com)
Excellent stuff! A stirring tale! I hope you'll post more of your past (and current?) adventures here.

Интересно читать

Date: 2012-02-17 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zollyqiw.livejournal.com
Все отлично сделаноImage (http://zimnyayaobuv.ru/)Image (http://zimnyaya-obuv.ru/)


Date: 2012-07-09 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bstrahgar.livejournal.com



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