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How do you hide a ship

Posted on Wed Jul 31st, 2013 @ 11:42am by Captain Daenelia Bradley

Mission: Chapter 8: Pirates and Cowboys
Location: A fair distance from the ship
Timeline: Day 5 after arrival

The clouds drifted overhead like silent angels. Daenelia was in a particularly poetic mood, as she lay on her back, her hands behind her head. She needed abreak, away from the troubles on board the ship. Not thinking about her crew trying to kill each other. Not thinking of Colton.

She raised herself on her elbows and stared out over the plains. Steamhawke was quite conspicuous, a large ship, with its sails rolled up and the landing spikes sticking in the ground. When they left, she would have to leave a small group of her crew behind to guard the ship, to protect it. That didn't sit well with her. What if the crew decided to fire up the engines, and try to take off with the ship, while she was away raiding the treasure? She wanted everyone off the ship and the ship safely stowed away. But how do you stow away a ship that size?

Her gaze moved along the horizon. She noticed a high roof, behind a few farm houses. Probably a cowshed build on a man-made hill. It was close enough to the river, she mused. If the river had a tendency to overflow, the cowshed would remain high and dry. But why weren't the farm houses around it not build on a hill? She sat up and strained to see better. She couldn't see a hill. Now she was curious. She got up, dusted off her backside and started walking.

"Captain!" Jefferson shouted.

"Not now!" she shouted back and kept walking.

When she arrived at the buildings, she confirmed there was no hill. The building she had seen was merely massive and high. A plan formed in her mind. She walked around, knocking on the wood of the large building. A man came around the corner, a big dog following him leisurely.

"What's goin' on?" The man shouted at Daenelia.

"I was wondering... what is this building?" She said, as she looked up, trying to estimate its height.

"Oh," the man went red in the face as if embarrased, "I guess they told you about me, eh?"

"Who? No, no one told me anything," she said. The man walked up to the massive doors and using a hinge-system opened up the building. Inside was enough space for a sky ship, Daenelia noted with glee.

"I ... I always dreamed of having a sky ship," the man said. He motioned for Daenelia to walk in. "I saw your ship," he added. "It's a fregat? Aye, I always liked them."

"So... you built this for your own ship? Where is it?"

The man shrugged. "Are you...? Are you the captain of that ship? Steamshock?"

"Steamhawke."

He nodded. "Are you?" He waited as Daenelia decided what to tell him. It was obvious he associated her with the ship, and by now she and her crew had gotten quite a reputation in town, what with half of them getting drunk every night. There were plenty of people whispering that they needed to get rid of this ship and its crew.

"Yeah," she drawled. "We're ... explorers." It didnt sound convincing, and the man smiled.

"I also hear you're planning on moving inland, by coach? And horses?" He grinned. "I sold 3 old geldings to two of your men. I made me a profit."

"So... your ship?" Daenelia prodded.

"I had to sell it, when the drought hit, a few years back." He looked wistfully at the empty space. "My wife keeps telling me to tear this down and use the wood for a house for our daughter." He looked at Daenelia. "I just can't."

Daenelia nodded, though nothing he said meant anything to her, aside from the fact that the man seemed honest and a sky ship afficionado. She knew the kind. They'd be standing or sitting on the sky ship docks, and make notes about the types that pulled into port, how long they docked, what the crew compliment was. Often these ship spotters would romanticise pirate ships, as the last true free sky roamers. She hoped that this man was like them. She'd have no doubts leaving the ship with him.

"One can always dream," she said softly. "I myself have been fortunate to sail the skies almost all my life. There is no greater freedom than when you take off into the blue, and feel the wind in your hair, the wheel in your hands." She acted it out, holding an imaginary wheel to steer the ideal sky ship in her mind.

The man swayed almost unnoticeable, as if he was on a sky ship with her. He closed his eyes for a few seconds. "I'd love to feel that." He said it with an edge of disappointment in his voice already.

"I'd invite you for a short trip," she said. "But... I have no time. We need to move out soon, and I will move Steamhawke somewhere safe."

The man nodded. "I understand. Where are you going to leave her?"

Daenelia looked at the man with her most damsel-in-distressed look. "I may have to sell her, to keep her safe."

For a moment the man's eyes lit up, but the reality of the true cost of buying a sky ship sunk in quickly. "I... I can't afford it," he said.

Daenelia reached out to touch his arm. "No, no, I wouldn't, couldn't sell," she said softly. "I'm sorry." She was silent and looked up at the roof, as if deep in thought. "I could... I ... Would you mind? If I err... rented this building?" She looked at the man with wide eyes.

He looked back, while understanding slowly dawned on his face. "You mean...? You'd leave your ship with me?"

She nodded. "Well, there'd be a contract, of course, so I pay my share, and you don't sell my ship without reimbursing me," she said as she was thinking in how many pieces she'd hack this man if her ship had so much as scratch on it when she returned.

"I think, that's a great idea!" The man looked pleased. "I could do checks on the engine as well, make sure nothing gets rusty or stuck, or broken," he said.

Daenelia laughed as charming as she could. "Well, let's go find a lawyer to put up a contract? May I ask your name, sir?"

"Murphy," the man said. "Larry Murphy."

"Well, Mister Murphy, let's seal a deal." And with that Daenelia stuck out her hand, to hook it through Murphy's arm, leading him to the town's centre.

 

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