Mission: Chapter 7: Going West
"I don't know who took it!" "It wasn't locked because I did not think anyone would steal that!" "Captain, who is going to pay for the damages?" Four people were shouting at Daenelia as she walked from the aft to the bough of the ship. "Shut up! Shut up! I can't hear myself think!" She felt angry, that among pirates there were those who were surprised that things got broken, lost and stolen. What did they think? That there was some sort of pirate code of behavior?
She stopped and pushed Winters to the side. "You! Find Jefferson and tell him to get this sorted. I am going below, I need some peace and quiet," She rubbed her head as she opened the hatch and jumped down. The gun deck wasn't so high and the jump from the deck was easy. She stalked off towards the rope ladder which lead deeper down the ship. She needed to get something out of the hold, and she wanted no one snooping on her.
In the hold, she searched for the key to the vault. The jingling of her key chain didn’t hide the sound of shuffling behind he. Actually, she thought as she spun around, it sounded like rats scratching on wood. She pulled out her flintlock pistol and proceeded to load it. The pistol was good enough to kill rats at close range, but never powerful enough to blow a hole in the side of the ship. It was old, the gun powder she used not strong enough to propel the bullet very fast or far.
When it was loaded she crouched and walked slowly and as low to the ground as she could. The sound was close, from behind that barrel...
"Ha, Ha!" She yelled enthusiastically as she pointed the pistol low, expecting to see a frightened rat sitting there. But she saw something else. A flurry of feathers was all that appeared to greet her as a mysterious winged girl squawked at the sudden intrusion and darted behind another barrel, dropping the bit of salted meat she had been previously munching on happily.
The girl’s head poked out briefly from the new hiding space, though just as quickly darted back behind cover as she glanced the pistol in Daenelia’s hand. A scuttling sound emanated from behind the barrel, presumably as the feathered girl darted to a better, less obvious hiding spot.
"What the..," Daenelia started but she wasn't fast enough with her question nor her pistol.
Though no longer behind the barrel the remnants of the strange girl’s presence remained. A sizable chunk of the salted meats from the barrel were missing, and a small tuft of down and feathers were caught in the boards of a crate leading away from the barrel the girl had briefly taken refuge behind.
The captain thought quickly. It wasn't a rat, it wasn't a girl, it wasn't a bird, but it had feathers and it was, she was, whatever it was was hiding somewhere else. Daenelia slowly turned around in place.
At that moment the silence was broken by a supremely large growl, though not the kind of an animal. Instead the sound was the growl of a hungry belly that just had it’s meal cut off partway through, and it was coming from the tiny crate just off in the corner. Though the crate was far smaller that should have been able to conceal a humanoid figure the growl had clearly come from it, and it was furthermore punctuated by the quiet “Shush!” of a girl from the same place.
With quick and quiet steps Daenelia made her way to the crate. With her pistol in her right hand, she used her left to push the lid of the crate.
Inside the tiny crate the mysterious feathered figure lay on it’s side, curled up into a tiny ball in order to better fit into the small space. The moment the lid was off the figure unfurled and sat up swiftly in the crate, raising it’s feathered arms slightly in a non-threatening manner. “Geeze! Don’t shoot! I’m sorry!” the girl squeaked out in response to the gun wielding captain that had cornered her.
Daenelia was waving the pistol all over the place. It went off when it wasn't pointed at the girl-bird, causing the girl to wince heavily before realizing she was unharmed. 'Icari!' Daenelia thought. 'On my ship?!' "It can't be," she said as she looked the fragile looking thing over. When the pistol had gone off, a trembling had gone through her body that tugged at Daenelia's heart strings, again.
Most sky captains would clip an icari's wings and throw it overboard. They were always hungry and could eat a month's worth of food supplies in a few days. Daenelia had given the order to stock well, but not that well that they could afford to feed this little thing. But it was such a little thing. She'd already put down the pistol, useless as it was now that it had fired its only bullet.
"Come out then," she said sternly. "I won't hurt you." Yet. The girl obliged slowly and cautiously, stepping out of the crate with her wings still raised slightly in surrender. “Alright...” she mumbled. meekly.
The girl looked shiftily looked around for anyone else, still visibly nervous about getting caught. “Look, if this is about the frying pan I’m sorry, alright.” the girl explained, hoping to get out of the situation without getting any more feathers ruffled. “I just wanted to cook some eggs, yeah? I was gonna return it when I was done!”
"Frying pan...?" Daenelia frowned. "Oh! The pan! That was you?" She was mentally calculating how much this icari needed to eat before it would pass out. Maybe she should let her pass out. Save some food for the crew. "What do they call you?"
The girl fidgeted slightly as if unsure whether she should answer or not. Finally she opened her mouth to speak. “Harriet. I’m Harriet Brooks.” she said, breaking out into a smile as she did. It seems she’d gotten over the shock of being caught. “I’m on a quest to see everything!” she exclaimed happily. Harriet paused briefly to fidget again before continuing. “I’ve never been on a ship before. Can I stay? Please?”
"Harriet," Daenelia began, "I can not let you stay on the ship. There is not enough on board to sustain you and keep my crew fed. You can eat one meal, just one! And then you have to go." She looked at the tiny girl with a concerned look, which kind of negated her stern words.
Harriet pouted slightly but quickly perked back up after thinking for a moment. “If it’s food you’re worried about there are lots of fish in the sea! I’m used to hunting on my own!” she giddily exclaimed with a grin. “And I can be useful too! I’m good at learning things, and I can fly real good!” With how excited the girl had become it seemed she had caught a sudden fascination with skyships. Clearly she was hoping to convince Daenelia to allow her to hang around, having completely forgotten the previous incident with the gun.
Daenelia sighed. "Well," she said hesitantly, knowing she was going to welcome another possible mistake on board, "if you can stay out of my crew's way, and not eat their food... I guess you can stay fo..." She didn't get to finish her entire speech, as Harriet let out a happy yell.
"Just be careful! Ask, before you take anything. And don't distract my crew!" Daenelia said in her strictest voice. Harriet gave the best salute she could with her wing and grinned excitedly.
“No problem, Captain ma’am!”