USS Traveller
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Welcome To The Brass City.

Posted on Mon Nov 30th, 2020 @ 2:32pm by Captain Remas McDonald & Lieutenant Commander Shadi Zatra & Lieutenant Jolani Kohnar & Lieutenant Garrett Davies & Innocent Bystander & Lieutenant JG Addison Wheeler

Mission: S2:1: Good Will Gunboat Tour
Location: Flyer enroute to the City of Brass
Timeline: MD27 1415

The crew of the Traveller were bundled into the large flyer, and it took off smoothly. With a gesture from Eacle’s the smooth walls of the flyer changed to become transparent, with such clarity they could have been riding upon a narrow plate instead of an air craft.

Their craft swept across the jungle, leaving the Traveller in its wake. In time they passed over small lakes and lagoons, each one home to one of the angular starships that had escorted them in. Machines and support equipment rose on graceful gantry towers to cradle and nuzzle against the ships, making the art of ship maintenance and cross decking look almost beautiful.

“Our scans detected your ship was powered by antimatter. Is that the source for your motive devices, or is it the power source for your weapons systems? We’ve always found antimatter to be a useful energy source, but hard to manufacture without access to the wider resources of the solar system. With that in mind, we must assume you have some sort of support infrastructure in our star cluster or a considerable stockpile of fuel.” Eacles asked.

Shadi sat still with arms folded, quietly muttering over the "Pet" remark that she'd finally figured out had referred to her. Questions about the energy source, however, perked her lobeless ears.

"Our MAM reactor powersss everything," she said. "Good enough to power universal expansssion after the Big Bang, good enough to power our ship. And we do have stockpilesss! Fuel! Weapons! Space demons! Fuck us once, shame on you, but fuck us twice, shame on us, sssooo... don't try it."

Remas coughed lightly into one hand, and nudged Wheeler with his elbow.

"Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on that?" Remas pondered pointedly.

The starships looked beautiful as they passed by; Gaz stood there with the rest, his arms folded; his hand always close enough to his phaser as his fingers twitched as Shadi had been suddenly set off - no doubt due to Eacle's passing remark. He glanced between her and the rest of the Traveller crew, making sure that nothing was about to go down so soon.

Addison turned her head so quickly at the feeling of the captain's elbow that the twists of her hair smacked her forehead, and she peered back at him with her eyes wide with innocent honesty. "Elaborate on what, sir?" In truth, she'd been paying more attention to the horizon than the conversation. After all, the chief was here, so why would they want to talk to a lowly JG? Besides, out there looked fascinating!

"On what Chief Zatra was saying, I'm sure Eacles would like to hear the particulars that Shadi glossed over. Like any good chief, big picture, and a good understudy no doubt you have more of a focus on the details?" Remas said with a thin smile. "Lieutenant."

For her part, Addy still wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but it was often the case that she had actually heard something but it was a background process rather than an active one, so she blinked at the captain for several moments before catching up. "Our matter/antimatter reactor creates enough power to maintain our motion drives and ship's power. I don't know that I feel qualified to comment on where we get our fuel from, however," she said carefully, her light eyes looking askingly at the captain.

"I think until we know where we all standing, you'd understand us not wanting to let on too much," Remas said.

"Yes. Loose lips sink ships," Eacles said with a bob of her head. They had now fully passed over the docking marinas with their berthed starships, and the jungle was now spotted with buildings and structures of unknown providence. More than likely they had something to do with the ships at anchor, but such questions were not asked.

For they had arrived at the City of Brass.

It arose from the centre of a wide circular lake. Brass towers shaped like blades, their bases wide and circular and the crew watched as the entire city pivoted as one, turning with an unseen wind. Lights dotted the side of the towers, and the flyer rose until a landing platform could be seen protruding from the top of the tallest.

The flyer landed, and when its wide doors opened no hint of wind raced in to assail them. Clearly, the pad, the entire city, had been turned for their benefit. Eacles exited along with the other guards and were met on the pad by other Casstauilli. These guided machines with gentle, flowing gestures, which slithered to the flyer and connected them to umbilical.

Wide doors at the mouth of the landing pad opened, and a mass of Casstauilli came out. Many were dressed as Eacles in the martial uniform of the guard, but others were dressed in narrow vests or long tailored coats.

And in the middle, scales whitened by age, her narrow head heavy under a circlet of gold, was undoubtedly the Arch Duchess of Casstaul. The other helpful note to this rank was aided by Eacles and her guards bowing abaysence to her.

"So...these are the friendly aliens," the Arch Duchess said, her voice reedy and wisened through the translator. "I know that the scholars taught me that cold-blooded sapients were a rarity, but you cannot blame someone for hoping for more of a showing."

"Your Highness," a white scaled courtier said, leaning in close.

"Away with your Vittles, this is a moment of honesty before the politicking starts. Let me savour the bluntness of it before you bury it under kinder words,| the Arch Duchess hissed.

"Of course," Vittles said with a well-meaning tone to his voice. "You would expect no less of me as your Prime Minister."

The Arch Duchess smiled and then slithered forward to the fore of the group. The guards near her rested hands and other limbs on their weapons, clearly taking no chances.

"Are you to be friend, or foe?" she asked, looking at them each in turn.

"Most definitely a friend, and certainly no friend to the Myriad," Remas said as the others chipped in. A general relaxing of the air among the group of serpentine aliens.

Jolani waited for the Captain to answer first. She answered simply, "I am a friend."

Addy was suddenly very unsure of why she was there. This seemed...terribly official. Formal. Diplomatic. ...not her area of expertise. She found herself kind of sliding to the side, making sure she was somewhat beside and maybe a little behind Shadi, even though she was a touch worried that her boss might get them into a brawl. Oh well, at least she'd have a chance of understanding what was going on if that happened.

Bystander stood tall, shoulders back, fascinated by everything from the flight in to the display of Casstauili and the splendour of their leader. His bronze skin shone with pride as his golden eyes studied every detail, every colour, every motion and he... remembered.

"Old friend," he said, simply, as he bowed deeply and respectfully from the waist. As he bobbed back up again, he beamed a child-like grin. "Very old."

"We had thought perhaps you were. We...did not wish to hope. But, you must allow me to ask of you a question: are you the Benefactor? That being who came to us so long ago with warn and time to aid us?" The Arch Duchess asked, peering at Bystander with milky eyes. "Not a one remains who could vouch for you, but you are...single unique. So, are you our oldest friend?"

He canted his head and considered her words, contemplated her question with humility and internal curiosity. Was he? The Benefactor. It sounded... important, detached and yet close, personal and comfortable.

"I am not, entirely, yes." Bystander answered, his gaze conveying a complicated mix of happy sorrow. Conflicting ideas, memories and visual information assailed his mind. "They slept and I awoke. We are the same, yet different. My origin and their continuation. Protection of indigenous life outweighed personal need. Parental unit unsustainable. Diversification necessary." He reached out his empty right hand, palm up and stopped short of actual physical contact. Golden eyes held a lock with her milk-white.

"We warned. We helped. I guarded." Bystander cast his gaze around in awe, then returned his full attention to the Arch Duchess once more. "I see you. Safe. You are magnificent!" He said, with deeply proud enthusiasm. "Friends."

"That we are," the old Casstauili said and reached out to take Bystander's hands. "My people owe you a debt we can only hope to repay by doing to others what you did to us, forewarned us of the oppressors prowling our skies and gave us time to prepare."

She let go, and with a sigh turned to the emerald scaled Casstauili she had called Vittles, her prime minister.

"And now, I think, to the business of our mutual interest," she said with a sigh. "As much as I might want to ask you all so many questions, time I fear cannot be our ally in this."

"Agreed," Vittles said. "Let us depart the landing pad, we have a chamber prepared for this eventuality where Mazarian can rejoin us. Unless any of you have pressing questions to ask?"

Gaz had made multiple glances between the aliens and Trav's crew. There were a lot of formalities being exchanged and he wasn't sure what it was leading to. Looked like a lot of talk and not a lot of action happening; then again there wasn't a lot for them to do on the flyer but to exchange pleasantries. He had been the one to ask for his transfer to Project Longjump and as such, he had to deal with everything that came with it. So far, he had learned of the Arch Duchess and that of her Prime Minister.

He pivoted to one side, readying himself to take up the rear as they would depart from the landing pad. His blue eyes looking all over the place as he took in what could be useful to him in the future.

Bystander had nodded slowly to the Arch Duchess, and stepped back to settle himself between Jolani and Dinui, allowing anyone else to step up and introduce themselves. He didn't truly understand what the Casstauili meant about 'owing a debt' but if that meant they would pass on the warning and protect others, then all was peachy. Her hands had been warm to the touch, like those on the Traveller and he was curious to see what this 'business' would be. His gaze tracked to Remas and Shadi, fully expecting the latter to have some bizarre question or obscure insult to throw into the mix.

Thus far Shadi was not impressed. These space dragons were surly, pompous, and altogether self-righteous. They might as well have teats. Shadi secretly suspected that Eacles might. With all the talk taking place between the ghost Innocent Bystander and the Arch Duchess, all Shadi could do was consider whether the poetry she had written for Mazarian had been in vain. For all their cold-blooded likeness, his people were... not at all like her people.

Jolani watched the interaction with Bystander with interest. She whispered to him, "How do you know them? Why do they owe you a debt? Please explain."

"It was a long time ago," Bystander replied, his voice lowering in volume to match Jolani's. He leaned towards her, his face close enough to her ear for those words to tickle. "We were. Different. Didn't understand until it was too late." Those words were infused with a sadness. "I lost..." His voice trailed as if he wasn't sure exactly how to explain. Then he mustered up a smile. "We found them. Gave warning. Helped build." He looked up and around them both, slowly and deliberately, then made a simple announcement. "I'm hungry."

How old are you? Jolani mused regarding Bystander. She also wondered at all of the meanings of his words. Some were lost at the moment but what did seem clear is that he helped secret these people here from threat. The innocence of Bystander was endearing and when his face was close to hers and her ear was tickled, she suppressed a reaction of shock at the intimacy. How long had it been since anyone dare approach her like that? Why couldn't you have taken me with you, Fell? she wondered as her facial expression changed to one more sour, as if she had done something that besmirched his memory and their bond.

 

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