What's that banging noise?
Chapter 2: The Map says 'Go Here'
Location: A room near the Engine room
Timeline: Day 4
A loud bang made the Captain jump, as she walked from the engine room to the main storage room. She had planned on inspecting the storage rooms herself after finding a stowaway there. McGinty's eye sight was apparently bad, and no one else seemed keen on going into the belly of the ship, unless they were engineers. Now there were always noises from the engine room. But this sound did not come from the engines. It came from behind a closed door, one the captain had passed a few times already, but never opened. She had assumed this is where the handyman she hired back in port kept his tools and equipment. So why would there be noise coming from it?
Daenelia reached out and turned the doorknob. A quick push, but the door did not open. She banged on the door. "Are you okay in there?" she yelled loudly. As soon as her voice rang out the banging emanating from behind the door abruptly ceased.
There was a long pause for what could have been a minute, followed suddenly by a crashing noise, and then what sounded like meowing. A small bit of smoke flowed out from underneath the door, when finally the lock of the door clicked.
Edward cracked the door open and peered through the gap, his eyes covered by thick welding goggles. His already thin features looked somehow even more frail, as if he'd lost ten pounds since Daenelia had last seen him. Ed stared at her for a second with a monotonous expression before speaking.
"Ah, Captain. It's you. Do you need anything?" Edward queried flatly.
Daenelia tried hard to remember the handyman's name. "Mister Marketh, isn't it?" Daenelia tried to peek around him into the room, which looked dark, and smokey. "What was that sound? Do you need any help? I could get Erm to help you fix things. Or get Laudine to help you clean up the room."
Something moved in the room. Was that a .. big rat... Or something? It had a tail, she was sure, and it was obscured by the smoke. She fixed her eyes on Edward again. It was impossible to tell what he was looking at, because of the goggles and it irritated Daenelia for some reason.
She waved at the goggles. "Mind taking them off?"
Edward cracked the door open a little more and pulled his goggles up to his forehead, although his expression didn't seem much lighter even with his eyes visible. "Ed is fine." he replied. Edward was fond of the nickname Ed. It was short and didn't require two syllables.
With the door open slightly more a rather alarming amount of smoke began to pour out of the room. Through the black mass a few things in the room could be made out, namely a large amount of machines, what looked like firearms, and possibly a cannon or two. Many of them looked like they'd come from the storeroom, and almost all of them seemed to have some new attachment or gizmo welded onto them somewhere. All the way in the back of the room it looked like something was burning, or possibly glowing, and the smoke itself was thick enough that it probably had been gathering for at least a few hours, maybe even a day.
What was undoubtably a meow came from the smokey room, and Ed turned to look in the back of the room for a moment before turning back Daenelia. "I could use more ventilation. Copper is getting upset." Ed responded just as flatly as before.
"Well, you're below the waterline and we can hardly make windows in here, in case we need to make an emergency..." Daenelia registered that Ed had mentioned a name, after she heard a meow. "Copper?" Daenelia pushed open the door unceremoniously and strode in, stopping in the middle of the room as she was confronted by a cat. The cat pulled its ears back and hissed as it crouched lower. It made Daenelia take a small step back. She pointed a finger at the cat, and whipped her head around to ask Edward: "Copper?" The Captain's eyes had gone wide open. Another stowaway!?
Ed had stumbled back into the room as the door was forced open while smoke began to billow out of the room. Someone elsewhere in the ship who saw the large smoke cloud might think a fire had broken out. The room slowly began to clear while Ed kneeled next to his cat and began stroking his back to calm him down.
"Copper." Ed repeated. Copper quickly began to calm down and purr, rubbing his face against Ed's hand as he did. "I thought I mentioned him." Ed continued, although the tone of his voice implied it may very well have slipped his mind.
With the smoke in the room finally clear, a few more things about the interior became apparent. The glow in the back wasn't fire at all, but a set of silvery cylinders resting on a table. Each one emitted a glow, as well as what appeared to be a crackle of static inside. In addition to the odd appearance each one emitted a dull hum, and the occasional hiss. Resting next to them on the table was a seemingly modified clockwork rifle.
Daenelia was immediately distracted by the shiny things. The gun looked intriguing. Certainly very different from her own rather simple old-fashioned pistol. "You make guns... weapons?" She sounded happy. She turned and reached out a hand to Copper, who sniffed it and then rubbed his face against Ed again, as if to emphasize he was a one-human kinda cat. Daenelia's feeling of being snubbed were dimmed by her happiness at finding her handyman being so much more than just handy. Edward looked at her as flatly as before, though.
Daenelia tried to contain herself. She took a deep breath, and said in a deeper voice than she normally used. "Yes, well. You can't just go and experiment in here, on your own. And working on weapons is dangerous. If something blows up here, you could damage the engines, or blow a hole in the hull."
Though his expression didn't change Ed's eyes seemed to brighten at the praise he received for his work, even if it was tempered with a small lecture on the importance in safety. He walked over to his work table and gently picked up one of the silvery cylinders. As he did the ends of his already messy hair seemed to raise slightly.
Though he hadn't really been asked, Ed began to explain. If he had any passion, this is where it showed through. "To put it simply, it's supposed to shoot lightning using a combination of alkabellum and various magnetic ores. I've already had success making a cannon that works under the same principles, but the stream emitted has a tendency to dissipate beyond about twenty or thirty feet. Such close ranges are more suitable for anti-personal weaponry then a shipboard armament."
Daenelia couldn't quite grasp the explanation, and a gun that shoots lightning sounded ... fantastical. She decided she needed to see this in action before saying anything that made her look stupid.
Ed set the cylinder back down on the table and scratched his head slightly before continuing. His gaze wandered from Daenelia to the gun on the table. "I've been able scale the weapon down without a loss in range, allowing for around ten seconds of total firing time per cylinder. However I've had problems with the stress it puts on the gun itself. The lighting has an infuriating likelihood of blasting the back out of the barrel, but I think I can solve that in a day or two."
The captain nodded as if she understood everything that Ed said, while she kept thinking that someone with such knowledge would need to be kept aboard at all costs. She imagined shooting ships out of the sky with lightning and almost giggled.
Suddenly realizing he had ignored his guest, he turned back to the Captain. "Oh, right, explosions. I haven't had anything major so far. Just a couple holes in the walls. If you're really that concerned I could reinforce them. It can't be that hard to do..." Ed's voice trailed off at the end, almost as if he was unsure of how to go about actually doing so.
"You are to report to the Master Gunner, once you think that rifle is any use. If Master Salazar approves, I would not mind you modifying a few more of our ship's weapons." Daenalia remarked, causing Ed to finally give a small smile, although it wasn't much of one at all. Approval to fiddle with things was much more preferable to smuggling items out of the storeroom, and a lot less dangerous.
"I could even be persuaded to give you a little more pay for your troubles. And... I'll send the cabin girl to you, to bring some food for Copper. And for you." added Daenalia. It occurred to Ed that he hadn't eaten a single thing since he arrived on the ship a little over three days ago. He nodded his approval at the idea.
"That would be nice." Ed muttered.
"I'll go and find that girl then. Haven't seen her since I sent her to the mess with an errand for the cook." With that the Captain walked out the door, turning around before Ed could close the door behind her, and grinning at Ed. "It is a pleasure to have you aboard, Ed." She stalked off in search of the cabin girl.