Dealing with the Governor
Mission: Chapter 6: Desperate Times
It was midnight, and in the basement below Barnacle's Bar a harsh conversation was taking place between two old friends. Captain Daenelia Bradley was leaning over the old gambling table, and insisting that the crew of the Steamhawke was ready to act against the so-called Governor of Seaport. Rosita Martinez was stood against the far wall with arms crossed. She was equally insistent that Daenelia shouldn't intefere with the politics of the island nation. Daenelia was even more equally insistent that Seaport belonged to all skyfarers. And so on.
"But this can't go on!" Daenelia burst out. She smashed her fist on the table. It hurt. "The moment we leave, he is going to attack you again, and again, until you and your sons are all very dead!"
"You're full of it, Daenelia!" Rosita shouted as she pushed herself away from the wall. "Seaport has protected its own long before you sailed down from the sky, and it will do so long after you are dust!"
Daenelia growled and lowered her head, looking up at Rosita like a wolf hunting a lamb. Or a fox. Rosita was not meek and easy, Daenelia realised. Inside she smiled at that, knowing it was why they ended up as friends. "Please. Rosita. Take advantage of the fact that I have a crew that knows how to fight, who want to help you and your sons. To keep Seaport free!"
Rosita stepped closer and glared at the Captain. "You're a fool, if you think that getting rid of the Governor will solve anything instantly. Who will replace him? What can Seaport expect if the big man on the island disappears? Occupation by Brittania, at last? Merovingians landing on our shores? Prussians bringing their wars here?" She hissed at the thought of foreigners ruling Seaport.
Azzo cleared his throat. He'd been at the Barnacle when Daenelia had stormed in, and had attached himself silently to her side when she stormed down the stairs to the cellar the Sons used as a meeting room. "How many people live on this island?" he asked. "Keep shop or raise family, I mean. And how many of the people here are Merovingian deckhands or Prussian hired swords or Brittannic merchants?"
The owner of the Barnacle Bar frowned at him. "They're here today and gone tomorrow," she said. "The sun doesn't even set on their heads."
"Well I've got stitches in mine," Azzo retorted, gesturing at his shock of curly hair. "As many as Tomas or Leon have ever had. These sailors dock here and its the longest their boots have touched ground in months. You didn't argue when some strange Prussian started fighting for you. Don't argue now."
"You were fighting for room and board," Rosita shot back. Azzo rolled his eyes but Rosita ignored him, turning back to Daenelia. "You think you can come in here and in a fortnight turn Seaport into what you think it should be." She put her arms out, gesturing at the walls around her. "I live here, like my father and my grandfather before me, and I know killing the Governor does nothing!"
"Anything is better than this!" Daenelia shouted again. "Someone will step up... some..."
"If you think I will step up in his place, you can forget it!" Rosita shouted back. "We can handle the Governor! We can bribe him, hurt him, whatever it takes to make him behave...!"
"So let me hurt him!" Daenelia interrupted. Rosita just stared.
"No." She said it calmly, as if telling her grandchild he wouldn't get a cookie. Daenelia lashed out at the closest thing to her on the table, and a jug of water was sent crashing to the floor.
"I don't really need your permission." She said equally calm. She adjusted her pistol on her side and walked out the building.
Rosita stood, looking at Azzo as the cellar door slammed behind Daenelia. She raised her eyebrow at him, and then at the door. "You've got a new captain to follow."
Azzo had already taken two steps toward the door when the words hit his back. He paused, hand on the doorframe, and looked back at her. "He hates you," he said. "You and Leon and Tomas and Matteo and Jaime. Going after Josep? That wasn't about protecting himself or keeping a racket. He'll never give you peace." He jerked the door open. "Killing him might not fix Seaport, but it might keep you out of a pine box."
Rosita watched him go, lips pressed together in a tight line.
Things on the Steamhawke had taken on a more frantic feel. People were running around sharpening weapons and preparing powder for what they all thought was about to happen. In chaos though, things don't always go to plan. A knife knocked from a table scattered against a wall, a loose plank is ignored and so on and so forth, little things which may not amount to anything but may also ruin the course of the coming days.
In the engine room the master of all things he could see was stood slightly raised bellowing orders, "Keep the engine ready!" and "Don't put that there!" Brem didn't know what was going to happen but he knew that they most likely would need to make a quick getaway, he also knew if things weren't right before what happened happened then more people would be hurt. So he prepared, defenses for the ship if it needed them and supplies for a quick escape if it didn't. If the captain gave the word, he'd get those propellers spinning.
Elsewhere, Mei put on her armor along with a pair of old brown boots and a few spiked hairpieces when she realized she'd have to make up for the bombs she had lost over a short period of time, usually she could borrow something from Ed but... Wait, she could still borrow something from Ed in a way. With great discomfort, Mei-Xiu walked over to Ed's old workshop. 'Please don't let Copper be there, please don't let Copper be there', she chanted in her mind. Once she arrived, it was a long and awkward moment before she was finally able to open that door and look for small bombs. As she was missing an arm piece, she had to stuff a few into the metal folds of the dress-like part of her armor. The automaton could make out a strange shape in her peripheral vision and quickly turned around to see the fuzzy face of Kichi and took him into her arms. "Be a good boy for me, okay?"
An angry Daenelia strode onto the deck of the Steamhawke. She raised her pistol and fired it into the night's sky, getting the attention of the crew in the immediate vicinity. The boatswain Faizel Naji correctly read the meaning on Daenelia's red face and grabbed hold of the nearest communications pipe. "All hands on deck!" echoed the man's voice throughout the ship.
Mei heard a loud noise in the air, causing her to instinctively look up before hearing Naji's call. She quickly realized that the sound must have been the Captain's gun going off as she sprinted for the deck, wondering what was going on. It probably had to do with the Governor or his Men. Whatever was happening, she hoped Josep was safe.
Jack's was working on an engine part when he heard the gun go off. "My lord, I nearly cut my hand!" He ran up to the deck and find out the commotion.
The captain watched as her crew assembled on deck. She put a hand on the steering wheel and her other hand on her hip. They were rowdy, pushing and shoving each other and calling each other names. Daenelia reached for her pistol again, but before she could use it, Faizel shouted in a loud voice: "Pipe down! Listen to the captain!"
The crew fell silent and all eyes were on the captain. She hesitated, not sure what she was going to tell them. "Men, women," she glared at Finn who usually add his outcry of 'and Elphins!' at this point. He remained silent. "You all know Rosita and her Sons. They have always provided us with a warm meal, a bed, information, sometimes even jobs! They have the great respect of all sailors who come to Seaport, and all people who live here! Not two days ago they needed our help and we gave it to them. Now...," her voice trailed of as she decided what the plan actually was, "Now, we can help them and all of Seaport to get rid of the Governor... once and for all!" She raised a hand and as on cue most of the crew cheered.
"We will strike fast and swift and bring the Governor down!" More cheering followed.
"How, Captain?" A voice shouted.
"We will go to the Governor's office and burn it down!" More cheering and another voice asking: "Can we loot it first?" Daenelia ignored the speaker and jumped down from the steering deck. Even if Daenelia had not specified whether they could loot the office, these pirates knew to take any opportunity to grab riches.
Daenelia was still angry and her anger was bleeding through to her crew. Some felt the injustice of what was done to Rosita just as strongly. Others were in it for the chance to pick through the Governor's shiny belongings. And there were some who just liked the sound of some violence and mayhem.
Not many stopped to think what this would do to Seaport. Or that Barnacle's Bar was just across from the Governor's house. Or that there was no way to know what the security measures at the office were like. Daenelia certainly did not stop and think.
Mei was one of the few who did, perhaps because she knew very well how far rivals would stoop. She ran towards the emotionally charged Daenelia, mechanical heart beating with fear. "Captain, someone needs to guard the bar." The girl hoped to whoever was up there that Daenelia wouldn't yell at her. "I'll do it if given the chance."
Jack stood up. "Captain, those men barely know me." He took a deep breath. "I wish to stand guard. However I fully respect your orders and will do as I am commanded."
"You're either with me, or not, I don't care" spat the captain. "But for those that come with me, we'll make this a night to remember!"
Azzo, who had dogged Daenelia back had arrived aboard just in time to watch the scene brew. He shifted with the knot of sailors and pirates and caught Daenelia's eye. Nodding, he put a hand to the hilt of his sword. The mob that was forming made him uncomfortable after witnessing the chaos that had gone on at the bar. A mob brought more noise than a squad could have, and caused more notice, but he'd bet there'd be more crew dead or hurt at the end of the night then there needed to be. "You have me," he volunteered.
Brem had been stood at the back of the group as the captain shouted, he had been leaning on the frame of the door leading to the engine room, several of his engine crew had been trying to push past him to get into the town but he stopped them. "No, we will stay here and protect the ship, if they are attacking the governor then maybe someone will want to come and attack us." It stopped the first sailor but those behind kept trying to push forward. "NO!" Brem shouted.
In the end, a sizeable mob of pirates flocked to Daenelia's side and followed her down onto the docks. They Governor's office wasn't far away, and neither was Barnacle's Bar. Little Josep let out a gasp as he watched the Steamhawke crew traipsing into view, but his father quickly closed the curtain in front of him. "It's time for bed" he advised the boy.
The thug guarding the office also couldn't help noticing the pirates coming along the street. "What's going on here?" he wondered, then wondered out loud as the mob stopped in front of the building. "We have an appointment with the Governor" called Daenelia, casually waving her pistol at the man.
As it happened, the Governor was already talking with somebody in the meeting room. Valentine was in disguise as always, the leather gas mask covering the agent's head completely. The mysterious man spoke without any emotion, making it truly impossible for the Governor to detect his intentions.
"But if you haven't dealt with Rosita yet, what are you doing back here?" asked the Governor with as much strength as he could muster. It was hard to maintain his position of authority when the person in front of you is not the least bit intimidated. But he had hired agent Valentine to do a task, and that task had not been done.
"There's been a change of plan. Rosita will live." replied Valentine.
A couple more of the Governor's men were playing cards in the lobby. One of them put down a two of clubs and stroked his beard. "I wish we knew how to play this game" he sighed. It was just then that the front doors came crashing into the building, with a group of sailors not far behind them. "What is it with the doors in this building?" cried the second of the thugs, kicking over the gambling table and reaching over the top of it with his revolver. Cards and wooden splinters went flying as the crew of the Steamhawke opened fire.
"Did you hear that?" asked Valentine from inside the meeting room.
"I'm.. I'm sure it was nothing, just my men picking fights with one another again. It seems it's hard to hire professional help around here." The Governor was standing hands on hips. "And what do you mean there's been a change of plan? We had a deal! You're a Jackal of the Brittish military, you have to stand by your word!"
Valentine slowly unfixed the Jackal pin from his collar and tossed it to the floor. "But I'm not a Jackal" replied Valentine coldly. The Governor's eyes grew wide.
Chaos had broken out in the building. Fists and bullets were being exchanged, bodies were hitting the floor, furniture was being rifled through, and fires were breaking out. "No sign of the Governor captain, he must be upstairs." "Then we take the top floor! Men, with me!" Daenelia leapt up the carpeted staircase, her sword flashing between hired men as they tried to get in her way.
The sounds outside the room were alarming, but Valentine kept the Governor's attention. "Who are you, then? And what do you want?" asked the Governor.
"I want to follow the Steamhawke, but its captain isn't going anywhere while you are alive. So, Nigel Bonney, I need you to die."
The fighting on the top floor was fierce, but Daenelia overcame the odds. For a moment she could have been mistaken for Carol, as she hacked away at the men in front of her with nothing but rage behind the swings of her sword. After a few tense moments the battle was won, and with a fresh bullet in her pistol Daenelia triumphantly pushed open the doors to the Governor's meeting room.
The Governor was already dead. Nobody else was in the room.
The man's arms were both twisted into unnatural angles, and when Daenelia kicked him over onto his back, she could see that his neck had been broken as well. A metal pin glinted in the light of the alchemical lamps, and for some reason Daenelia felt drawn to pick it up. But she didn't have much time to admire the intricate engraving because at that moment the side doors were kicked open and Aurelia Bonney came screaming into the room.
"Father!" she cried, dropping the gun she was carrying and dashing to the Governor's side. She cradled the man in her arms, and looked up at Daenelia with hatred in her eyes. Anger and grief overcame the words she would have said to Daenelia Bradley at that moment, curses and vows for revenge. The captain could have just shot her there and then of course, Aurelia being just as dangerous as her father, but at that moment Rosita Martinez stepped up behind Daenelia, surrounded by some of her Sons and some of the Steamhawke crew. Eveyone stood and stared at Aurelia holding onto her dead father.
For a moment the only sounds were Aurelia sobbing and the crackling of distant fires, but then it was time for Daenelia's and Rosita's friendship to end. "I was hoping to get here in time to stop the violence before it went too far. You see, I thought about what you said Daenelia, and thought maybe you were right after all. We really did need to get rid of this man, and working together maybe we could have scared him off once and for all. It wouldn't be the first time that somebody stepped over the line and got themselves exiled out of our free haven. But now you've killed a prominent member of Seaport. A dangerous man, yes, but a man with friends and family who are equally dangerous. And I'm not sure what's going to happen next."
Daenelia could have tried to tell Rosita that the Governor was dead before she got here, but who would believe her? In any case, Daenelia hadn't come here to scare the Governor, but to kill him. Just because someone had gotten to him first didn't change the outcome.
Rosita turned to walk away, but she hesitated. "The most dangerous person left on Seaport isn't Aurelia Bonney, Daenelia. It's you. And you better leave Seaport quickly before we decide to exile you instead."