Storming the Church
Posted on Sun Feb 23rd, 2014 @ 5:33pm by Snot Rag Chops McGinty & Captain Daenelia Bradley & Master Brem de Berg & Sailor Shanen Trevor & Mate Akito Himuro & Mate Herring Finn & Sailor Dorothea O'Toole
Chapter 9: Steam City
The group had gathered earlier in the dormitory yard. After someone had heard that Yorvlad had been abducted by shady figures in a dark alley, it had been decided he would need 'rescuing'. There were plenty of volunteers for that, each with their own motive for wanting to get their hands on the doctor.
"Stinkin', right?" Shanen asked the question as he announed his presense to his fellow sailors. "Best part about it is, no one from around here seems to know what it is. Apart from smelly, I mean." The handsome man smiled. He was refering to the smell coming from the bubbling black stuff in the yard.
Akito had a sooty handkerchief pressed to his nose and mouth. "What is it?" he asked as he pointed to the stuff.
Shanen shrugged. "Always assumed it was waste from the factories. Never did get around to asking what it was but always gave it a wide berth, just in case." He replied as he slung his rifle comfortably over his shoulder.
Brem raised his eyebrows, which pulled his eyepatch a little upwards as well. "They bury their waste in the ground, in the city? Well," he looked at his boot, which was now stained with the goo. "City folk."
"This isn't exactly city living." The blonde man replied looking at their surroundings, feeling a pang of homesickness for Londinium as he did.
Brem coughed and remarked: "Sometimes, I really do miss the clean air of sky travel. Even in the confines of the engine room."
"Tell me about it." Shanen mused. "Work here in Kanesville has paid well, when I can get it but it's...dirty. The place isn't healthy. I look forward to the next time I can get back up into the Blue."
"Enough chatter," Herring said in a gruff tone. "Let's get to work." The Elphin pulled on the harness keeping his arms attached to his shoulders and moved towards the gate.
The group moved quickly, spreading out and heading in the same direction by different streets. They only had a hint from Erm where the Church of the Machine was, and they hoped to find the doctor there. There were so many reasons to get him back, though not everyone was all for keeping the doctor around.
The elphin looked grim as he stopped and raised a metal fist. His companions stopped. They quickly scanned where the others were. Brem's bald head appeared around a corner to their left, Akito just ducked back into an alley to their right.
Quick hand signals confirmed the plan. Herring uttered 'Go!' and the group advanced on the building with a door with a cog on it. Herring and Akito used their metal arms to break down that door.
"It's one of those things!" called Shanen, pointing through the doorway as the dust settled. The group had expected to encounter brainwashed members of the cult, but instead a more literally mindless figure stood before them. It was one of the machine-men, a worker that had volunteered to be transformed. The monstrosity grappled with Herring, two pairs of metal arms interlocked, and shoved the fierce elphin into the wall. Rivets jammed and springs snapped, and Herring was helplessly overpowered.
Shanen raised his rifle and took aim at the transformed machine man. He stopped as the rifle came to bear, aimed directly at the monstrosities head, unsure if he should take the shot and put Herring in further jeopardy.
Akito had no such qualms and fired at the metal man. The bullet bounced off and got stuck in the door. "Hold your fire!" Shanen yelled.
Herring was kicking uselessly at the machine-man, and it seemed that all hope was lost until a bald head appeared next to him. Brem reached over and stuck his wrench between two important-looking cogs. The monster crashed to the floor with eyes wide.
"Is it dead?" asked Shanen, still pointing his rifle at it. "No, but it's lost control of its mechanical parts." said Brem, as he worked with Akito to disentagle Herring from the machine-man. The elphin was still alive, but his prosthetic arms had seen better days.
"Looks like the left arm is ruined" said Brem while stroking his chin. "Can you move your right one?"
"Barely," grimaced Herring.
Dottie looked around the room and asked: "Where would they keep Yorvlad?" Everyone looked at her. "Well, that is why we're here, right?"
Akito pointed his gun to the door. "Through there," he said confidently. Everyone started to move at once. "Wait a minute!" Herring said. "What if there are more of those... things?"
"Take it slow and quiet." Shanen advised as he moved toward the door. "If we keep a low profile for as long as possible there's a good chance we won't alert anyone or anything else." His voice was barely above a whisper as he turned the metal door knob and pushed.
Herring took his left arm off and followed Shanen through the door. The rest of the group followed slowly, without making much sound. The room beyond was large, lit only by a filthy skylight twenty yards above their heads. The only thing interesting about the room was a small skyship in the centre of the room - a single-masted cutter only twice as large as the rowboats back on the Steamhawke. There were plenty of decrepit boxes and barrels scattered about, casting plenty of shadows that members of a cult could hide behind.
"Ah-ahh-Chooo!" Dottie sneezed. "Damn it, it is so dusty here," she said loudly. Over the ongoing echo of the sneeze, came a series of thudding footsteps. Half a dozen more of the machine-men came into sight, led by Doctor Yorvlad himself. He looked worse for wear, with his injuries bandaged up and a half-disguised limp from his wounded foot. His rounded glasses were cracked, but none of this seemed to bother him.
"The clock is ticking, dear friends. Ticking for Kanesville, and ticking for you."
"Guess he wasn't hard to find after all" remarked Brem.
"Where are your fellows?" demanded the Elphin.
"The machine-god foresaw an end to opportunities in this place. My brothers are scattering as we speak."
"And they left you behind? Why was that, were you slowing them down with that limp of yours?" suggested Dottie cockily.
An flash of different emotions gripped Yorvlad's face. "My beautiful creations will respond to my every command. Time to die!" he laughed.
The crack of a rifle rang out, and the good doctor dropped to his knees, clutching his heart. Shanen slowly released the trigger, sweat dripping from his hairline. "Too right" he said.
"Good shot, blondie!" Dottie looked at the machine-men. "Why aren't they moving?"
"They're waiting for Yorvlad's command. Looks like they'll be waiting for a long time" said Akito, looking down at the man's body.
"So much rescuiing him" quipped Herring with a darkness in his voice, "but we didn't have much of a choice. I think if you asked Brem, he'd tell you that this wasn't a waste of time after all!"
Brem was stood by the clockwork sky ship, running his hands over the wooden hull and the brass railings. It had been too long since he'd touched a beautiful piece of technology like this one.