Rescue from the Grand Bourg!

Cast: Dirk Steele, Roger, Dafne, Jenny Cresswell, Pith
Premise: A daring arial kidnapping has a prominent businessman within the Industrial States of America hire no less then Dirk Steele's services to retrieve the victim from the Sky Pirate's clutches, deep within the West Indies… But who is it that the pirates have taken? What plans do they have, and what horrors have they inflicted upon their victim? Have our heroes arrived too late?

rating: +1+x

TWO DAYS AGO…

Dirk Steele enters a crowded bar in the armpit of Maracaibo. Smoke pours to the ceiling in cylindrical little rivulets and the stink of sweat, urine, and blood is thick in the air. Filthy, vulgar Portuguese quiets as he enters. There are a few strained, suspicious whispers.

"… Americano…" they whisper.

Steele enters, undaunted. "I'm looking for the man they called 'Thunder'," he says, without a flinch, and the sea of n'er'do'wells parts.

A sandy-haired man — with a sandy-haired half-beard, stuck through with drying beer and blood from a fist-fight earlier in the day — slumps low over the bar. A half-empty bottle of tequila sits impatiently on the bar before him.

Dirk sets a black and white photograph on the bear with a steady, accusing finger. "This was you, once, wasn't it?"

The photo depicts a man, handsome, square-jawed, clad in goggles and the proud uniform of Her Majesty's Royal Air Force. Roger Thunder looks blearily at it.

"Are you still the man in this photograph?"

NOW…

Captain Roger "Rodge" Thunder (Ret.) rubs his chin — he shaved, miraculously, nicking himself several times in the process, and points a finger at the general store.

"I imagine," he says, in a thick English accent, "That there are drinks there. I'll check it out first."

Dirk steps out of the Hoplite, his pistol drawn, his flight jacket unbuttoned. He leans back in to the cabin… "Return to the Independence, do a circut of the island. Intel says this island has a zep somewhere in the area! Keep a CAP of two birds in the air at ALL Times. Full vigelence!"

Then back to the group. "Alright. Thunder, the General store. Pith, take Leo and do a case of the village as a whole."

Leo is back at the airstrip, helping the air crew secure the airship and also seeming to enjoy being back on solid ground after his medicated daze on the air. He chomps on a cigar as he nods to Dirk's commands. "Yes, Sir," he remarks as he moves over, legs still wobbly from his terror of flying.

Jean steps out of the aircraft, right after Dirk, adjusting the canvas jacket she's aqquired only recently, hand on the butt of her own Webley. She looks over at Dirk Steele, his own pistol drawn, with a slight amount of mild disdain. "I should say we aren't in harm's way yet… unless I missed something of your breifing." The Englishwoman says, staying where she is. "Do you have a task for me? Or should I find some shade where I may avoid daintily fainting from such /oppressive/ heat."

Dirk nods to Jean as he looks over a map, cigarette in his lips. "Jean, you're with Thunder. Dafne, help me look over this map and figure out where you'd hide a zep…"

Roger Thunder walks with a revolver tucked into his belt, clad in boots, khaki trousers, and a loose blue shirt; there is no need for jackets and coats in Maracaibo, after all. "Well, then," Thunder says, rubbing his chin like the feel of beardless flesh is completely alien to him. "The general store it is. I do hope they take good English pounds," he says. "I haven't any, but it'll be good for their moral fiber. Queen's currency is the only one that counts," he says, walking off to the general store.

Dirk glances after Thunder and Jean, gesturing for Dafne to walk with him as he examines the map. "On second thought, Let us all make our presence in the Cantina known… Less a chance of being picked off, but more obvious." And, Easier on the GM.

"I suppose that I could that, yes." Johnbreque Pith says, from the position on the cargo box, pipe in his mouth. He tips his pith hat and stands, hoisting the rifle on his back and patting the saber hilt at his waist. "God hail the Queen, indeed."
"*Save* the Queen," Roger corrects, hastily, over his shoulder.

Sullen, ravenous eyes look towards the airstrip and the strangers noisily talking to themselves. A couple more seem to peek out from the woodwork, making no attempt to move or assist or greet. The general store is an open-air pavillion where a gruff bearded Frenchman stands, surrounded by relatively empty shelves of sundries, food, and drink to be sold.

Upon checking the map, there really isn't much to explore in Grand Bourg, with the outlying buildings either burned to husks or otherwise totally dilapidated and returning to the state of jungle. Only the dusty street from the airstrip and docks to the general store and the jungle beyond it.

Dafne files out after Jean with a wrist idly resting on the butt of her revolver. She quickly falls into step with Dirk, "I think that…" she begins after catching up with the man, "we'll be needing way more than two birds in the air when we skirt the place."

Jean looks over to the rugged Englishman looking for the general store, before nodding. "I would agree… but it is /quite/ hard to find someone willing to deal in it. Strange, this… barbious land." She mentions, before moving forward with the rest of the group. There… doesn't seem to be much to this place. "Well… I suppose we could raid this general store for anything useful, part with a little coin of the realm, and do some questioning of the locals?"
"More can be launched, but this way we have three in the belly with full tanks, because there's no telling how long the CAP will be in the air, so they may be low on fuel. Having three birds in reserve allows them to be slung and refueled while not leaving us defenseless."
"Not when you've got Aerodreadnaughts, my boy. If you're a smart God, you hail the Queen." He remarks with a smirk around his pipe, dusting his hands off on his explorers outfit. He unhooks his rifle and loads in a single bullet to the chamber.
Dirk says that as he moves with the wrencher, twords the one horse town. "Now. Lets see how Misses Cresswell and Mister Thunder do at shaking the tree."
"Barbarous! Ha! You think *this* is barbarous?" Roger says, with a cackle, as he starts picking out a bottle of drink from the shelves of the store. "You've not been to Ireland," he says, with a further cackle. He's already starting to uncork a bottle of whatever the hell he grabbed.
Jean says, "If there's anyone around, I'd like to try rapport to gain some info on a pirate zep."

Dafne nods at Dirk's reply and falls silent aftewards. She gazes cautiously at the sky and shifts her hand to the butt of her revolver, "Don't judge these people, it used to be different here," remarks the young woman after hearing Jean's comment.

The general store manager is washing empty glass mugs with a dirty rag, whistling a tune as he washes his hands in the sink. It's more of an outdoor bar or convenience booth than a general store. The general store manager turns and says in a thick French accent, "Booze is short. Don't think so…" he sort of grunts as he grabs the bottle in an effort to stop Roger from uncorking the bottle.

Roger pulls the bottle away. "Hey, now, hey now, friend, I'm good for it. Quite good for it. Now, why don't I ask you a think or two about a thing or two?"

Jean enters the general store, steps slow and metered, before looking around… and giving a large smile to the first person she sees, almost gliding over. She places one hand on the bar, and extends her other across it. "Oh, please… excuse my friend. He's been on quite a long journey, by plane, you know, and I should say a small glass wouldn't hurt him, if you would graciously extend him credit. Ahh. But my manners /are/ laking today, aren't they? My name is Jenny Cresswell, of Portsmouth. I should wonder if you wouldn't mind a question from a weary traveler?"
"You heard the lady," Roger says, making a 'glug glug glug' gesture with his hand. This guy — is he really supposed to have any place in a mission like this? This boozehound?
The wary crowd has grown sort of large, larger than expected (about 15-20 men) as they all look at the strangers, face gaunt and half-starved. None of them speak any words as they quietly give each other glances before staring at Dirk and crew.

"No. No more liquor coming here…" He growls as he reaches over and puts a hand on top of the cork to try and keep Roger from opening it. His head sort of jolts towards Jean as he offers a toothy grin - or as best as a man with only half his teeth can be 'toothy,' "Why such a darling girl in such a filthy port? Bonjour Miss… Cresswell." He offers Roger a dirty look before passing a mug of lukewarm and slightly dirty water. "Drink that…" he growls as he starts to pull the bottle back to the counter.
Dirk narrows his eyes then, keeping a sharp eye out for trouble as the brits do the british thing of talking down to the natives. It works, but brits always have money… and desperate people do desperate things for money.
Roger looks into his mug. "I'm sorry, but this needs to be distilled at least three more times before I'll drink it," he says, "Which would make for a total of three distillations, I believe."

Dafne surveys the gathering crowd with a careful eye. "There's no doubt they're here," she utters softly to Dirk, "the question we need to ask is where…"

Dirk nods to Dafne. "That is the question being asked right now, in a round about fashion."

Jean gives a strong nod toward the barkeep. "I should say you're probably right, of course. Water would be better for him right now…" She looks over to the rest of the group that seems to have gathered, giving a smile to them all. "Perhaps I may get a better answer with a larger group! We're… well. I should say… bussinessmen and women. Or at least, I am. My associate's are… let us say… temporary employees. Now, I hear that there's a group of less courteous bussinesspeople around here, with their own airship. I should say I'm a bit interested in finding it.
The manager glares at Roger but turns back to Jean, "A what?" He asks, blinking, "Airship? Over there!" He points out to the Independence, visible from a distance. Again, in a tragically thick French accent, "Go away. This is a leper colony!"
One of the air crewmen runs over and whispers what looks to be something urgent to Pith. So urgent that they both hastily go back to the Independence.

Leo is looking around the surrounding crowd, chomping on his cigar as he seems to be appraising each and everyone. "I can whup ya, I can whup ya…" His glance falls to a particularly big mofo in the crowd, "Hm, I'll let Cap deal with you. I can whup ya…" he quietly mutters to himself.

Dafne sighs at the first failed attempt. "Offer them some coin," she calls out.
Dirk moves forward then, to offer a hand to Jean's shoulder. "Allow me to be clear." He says. "That is the USS Independence. She's here to hunt pirates. So." He glances to the woman. Then to the man who works here. "That means I need to find pirates. Either you know where they are, and are not telling, which makes you an accomplice to piracy, or you are ignorant, which, as the one business open on this island, I have a hard time believing. Now, more believable is that these men are somewhere in this area.. and you're scared of reprisals. So I'll tell you what. You and your family, passage to Maracaibo… and 1,000 Empire State Dollars. Make my day nicer than it was a moment ago."
Jean sighs, and leans forward… and continues speaking. In an only slightly accented French. <Monsiuer, I am a /good/ Christian woman. We have been taught that mercy to our fellow man is one of the most pious traits we can show. So. I do not mind that you are leapers. If I am to catch it, may it be God's will. But I should say that,> She turns, and points at the airship. </THAT/ is not the one I'm interested in… there is another. And I would like to know if you have seen it.>

Anyone who knows decent French might realize that she's not speaking it with an English accent.

She'll look to Dafne as she speaks up, but is held off by Dirk's speech. She switches back to English. "Well. My associate has given you a very generous offer, it seems."
"Maracaibo's not a bad place," Roger chimes in, helpfully, to aid Dirk's speech. "*They* have cheap drinks," he adds, proudly. "Not like /some/ places."
The manager raises a brow and says to Jean in French, <I'm not a leper, lady, but this is dangerous of a place and I hope for your sake that your friends all pack up and leave. This is a really unsafe place…> He clears his throat as he looks towards Dirk, "What do I do with Empire State Dollars here? Burn it?" He points to a sign that says only US Dollars, Pounds, and Francs are accepted, "Go home! Nothing to see here…" He looks increasingly agitated. His eyes dart towards Dafne, peering and scratching his head, "This is dangerous place! Leave!"

Roger, Dafne, Dirk and Leo can see at the corner of their eyes that the crowd is somehow awoken from their daze by the general manager's agitation and starts to run towards the crowd with the clear intent to get into a messy brawl, right before the general manager relents and tries to explain something about a hatch to Jean in French… Jean is preoccupied, perhaps by the general manager's horrible teeth, oblivious to the upcoming onslaught of the locals.

Jean is concentrating on the manager's… charming personality. THough those teeth take some skill to ignore. She does notice the agitation, and leans forward. <Whose danger are we concerned about? If it is mine, your concern is noted, but not nessecary… if it it yours… you have seen us bring an air ship. Do you think we are unable to help you? We are skilled. Please. Let us help you.>

Dafne steps towards the manager with a heated retort prepared. She never gets the chance as the crowd begins to charge at that moment, with a hand like lightning she draws her revolver and points it at the crowd. "Back!" She shouts at the oncoming stampede, her trigger finger slowly applying pressure.
Dirk turns then, watching the crowd running for them. One hand slides the US NAvy 1917 from its holster while the other grabs Jean and shoves her down, then behind him… "DOWN!"
"Ah, it's that time already, eh?" Roger steps away from the bar and pulls off his gloves, stuffing them hastily into his back pocket — all the better for a little bit of brawling, after all. "Hey! Uncle Sam! One thing at a time, eh? I've been clearing out bars for years, now"

Dafne steps towards the manager with a heated retort prepared. She never gets the chance as the crowd begins to charge at that moment, with a hand like lightning she draws her revolver and points it at the crowd. "Back!" She shouts at the oncoming stampede, her trigger finger slowly applying pressure.

Jean is talking to the manager, and then pulled down by Dirk, obviously suprised, hand fumbling for her Webley.
Dirk pulls the pistol back; At the ready but pointed to the roof. Bemusedly, the Captain gestures with his head for Thunder to bring out the big guns. "By All Means, Captain Thunder, how gauche of me. Please, instruct these fine people in the delicate matter of British Diplomacy."

Thunder steps forward, gingerly rolling up his sleeves and stepping into a boxer's posture straight out of Oxford. "Now, then," he says. There is one Roger Thunder. There are a great many angry-looking locals. "Who's first?" Who says they're going to take turns?

Dafne stays her pistol as Thunder emerges, she storms toward the manager and slams her fist down. "We are quite aware of the danger, one might say we're seeking it." She brandishes her weapon, "Now if you have /any/ information, /at all/ we'd really like it."
Jean mutters something about uncooth action, before pulling the hammer back on her Webley, finger poised on the trigger. "I don't see why we couldn't just shot one or two of them in the knees. It may calm things down."
There's only one thing really scary to a mob of 10 guys. It's not gun fire, it's not screaming and its not threats. It's Confidence. WHen one man can, without blinking, stand in front of them and lay down a challenge in a voice that indicates it's real.

Thunder is a man like that. The crowd pauses then, unsure what to do, as if daring each other to be the first, none of them wanting to be such. Then the crowd parts as one of them steps forward. A brawny, wiry sweed if there ever was one in the world. Muscles like twisted rope, a jaw like an ice berg and a nose like a bomber landed on it.

Repeatedly.

"Jah! Joo are seeely man!" He says, cracking his neck and limbering up. "Now Sven will show how to fight!"

Roger's neck cranes up. Higher. Higher. A little higher. Oh. There's his chin. Well, then. "Ah. Right. In that case," Roger says, with a brief pause. "I'll start," he says.

And then he kicks him in the crotch.

Roger's foot hits like kicking a brick wall; the Briton stares with vague disbelief. "I don't particularly care to know where or how you picked up that remarkable talent," he says. The Swede looms over him. With the blink of an eye, Roger — not terribly noble of him, either — reaches for a bottle and SMASHES it over his head, sending him reeling but not quite done. Roger pours the trickle down his gullet, careful of the broken glass. He discards the remnants, tossing them to the floor. "Now, then…" He swallows. "… your turn."
Sven takes the hit with barely a grunt. "Norveeegan Fishing Trawler." He doesn't expound upon this, as Captain Jim Beam comes around to clout him across the temple, He spins away, staggering backwards and shaking his head. "Ocht!" He says, then barrels forward with a hay maker of some impressive power!

Dirk tilts his head, like a dog that hears a sound it just doesn't understand, when the foot connects with the mans testes, but he doesn't seem tested. "Mother of god." He mutters. "What dot they make men out of where he's from?"

Dafne focuses intensely on the manager awaiting an answer until her attention is diverted by the sound of breaking glass and she looks over just in time to see the swede collide with Roger. "Yikes."

The Manager is currently hiding under what miserably passes for a bar!
Roger ducks away with a boxer's step — one pace to the side, one pace forward — delivering a jab to the Swede's throat. "Everyone has a soft spot," Roger says, stepping aside — like a tree, the Swede falls, tumbling onto the floor. Roger places one foot on the fallen fighter, and resumes his posture. "Right. 1-0, visiting team."

The Sweed lays on the ground before the assembled group of cheap barflunkies… And there's CAPTAIN THUNDER. Untouched. He actually managed to get a drink during the fight. And there's his gun toting posse of beautiful women and airship captains. And through all this, the other brawler of the group, Leo, didn't even bother stepping forward.

The group looks to the left. Then the right. Not all at once, but more like the aimless incoordination that one expects from untrained mobs. Then, with the unity one may expect, they flee. Two knock each other down in their headlong flight for the door, one goes through a glass-less window and another just faints.

There's something to be said for a good stage presence.
Jean is currently on the ground with Dirk, fingering her pistol. "I don't think they could have made them out of steel. He wouldn't have fallen that fast." At the crowds dispersal, she stands up, raising her eyebrows, before holstering her pistol. "Do they /all/ run like that? I mean, like… well. Rabble. I suppose I shouldn't be suprised."
Dafne peers back over the counter at the manager after watching Roger defuse the swede. "So, back to the topic at hand…"
Roger waits a few beats for the rabble to clear out of the room. Once the last one is gone, Roger nods, once… and then grabs his right hand — his punching hand. "/Auugh/, for the *love of God*, that man is like iron," he hisses; halfway doubling over. "What do they *do* in Switzerland?"
THe bartender sort of peers over the top of the bar, blinking slowly. "I.. No ones ever laid Sven out like that before." Sweeden, but who's keeping track? Cold Euro-country full of white blond people. "I was…"

Dirk raises an eyebrow, offering a hand down to Jean to help her back to her feet. "My appologies, miss. I was thinking only of your safety."

The bartender sighs… "I can't get out of this now. Either you guys run them off or I'm dead. Look." He exhales, moving to right a chair that had been unrighted. "There's an old French Zepplin hanger on the other side of the island. It was built in to a talc hillside, with doors that look like a hill side… so you wouldn't see it from the air."
Dafne gives the bartender a friendly pat on the shoulder, "Much obliged," she says before turning to the rest of the crew, "I've got what we need, someone compensate this man."
"For heaven's sake," Roger says, still complaining about his hand. He slumps over the bar. "What does it take for a man to get a bowl of ice? I feel like my hand is going to fall off," he mutters.

Ice? In the Carribean, before the widespread advent of electricity? HAH!
"Proper bar would have ice," he mutters. "So — while I'm still sober. What's the next step, Uncle Sam?"
Dirk lays his map of the island out on one of the tables, pointing a finger at it. "Show me where this hangar is." He says to the Bartender. Then, to Thunder… "We proceed to this location, gain entry, overcome the guards, find and rescue the lady we are sent to rescue and we torch the pirate zeppelin, or we bring a boarding party from the INdependence to take her back as prize."
Jean takes Dirk's hand, and comes up, dusting herself off. "Quite all right. And none of my cartridges used. Rather economical, if I should say." She looks over to the bartender, and gives him a smile. "See? Wasn't so hard, now, was it? And now we take care of your problem for you."
"Grand," Roger says. "Can I *please* have that drink, now?" he asks. "We'll deal with this little problem of yours, of course."

Dirk removes a flask of Scotch whiskey from his jacket pocket, a propeller decorating the silver contaner. He hands it over to Roger. "Drink up." he says as the good Barkeep starts to relate where the facility can be located.
"Oh, my stars and garters," Roger says, and drinks entirely too, too much for his own good. That's probably not healthy.

Dafne folds her arms, revolver still in hand, and gazes out at the village as Dirk squares away the pirate's location.

After a few moments of negotiation and haggling, the Captain circles a hillock on the other side of the island, marking it. "Alright. And you say there's a sea-passage here… on the lee side, where they can bring a boat in? Clever. Very sneaky… veyr sneaky. And you have a boat?"

"No. If I had a boat, I'd leave."

"Right. Who has a boat?"

The bartender gestures at the cold-cocked Sweed. "He does."

Dafne peers at the swede, "Should we leave him a note?"
Dirk comments then, somewhat wryly as he rolls up the map… "I think he'll be hearing bells for a week. Plenty of notes in that."

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