The Ebon Talon Part One

Cast: Leo, Samantha, Dirk, Pith, Jean
Premise: Small summery here

rating: +1+x

In Media Res…

Four hours out from Maracaibo, the USS Independence watches the sun set in the distance. A tour has been given of the ships systems, including the cramped, but well equipped flight deck, the top of the line fighters (Hughes Bloodhawks, sleek and deadly) hanging in their cradles, American emblems freshly painted on the wings.

The tour would proceed then to the command deck, the forward gondola that hangs beneath the ship. "And here is the heart and soul of the Independence." Says Dirk, gesturing to the wood pannels and brass that lines the instrumentation panels. His own chair is a leather high backed affair, where he can observe the deck, the map table and the icons of fighters, ships and islands, and all the other little things that make this ship function.

Samantha has come outfitted for the BEACH. That means, somehow, she's wearing even less than usual. A white miniskirt, still short enough to leave full access to the two guns on her thigh holsters, and a canary yellow halter bikini top with white polkadots. She's got a pair of overly large white sunglasses settled into her blonde hair and her stilettos are the final white piece to the sunning picture. She pops a bit of gum as she walks along…"Flying balloon AND the beach…this trip couldn't get better, handsome…" She calls out to Dirk…"Just ducky…this whole damn place! Seems almost impossible, but it ain't!"

Jean certainly wasn't looking forward to the preperations.. but at least now she had a little bit of luggage, her old traveling outfit, freshly laundered at the expense of a few of her precious quid, in a well-mantained but second-hand valise, the more rugged apperal… bought on unilaterl credit worn now, a Webley loaded and in it's holster on her back, under a canvas jacket.

"I should think you're a bit mistaken." The woman says to Sam, eyeing her… somewhat garish apperal. Her English accent sounds… a bit disapproving. "We are aboard a top-of-the-line military airship, with fighters, new and from /Hollywood/, no less, and all you can think about is sunning yourself on hot sand like a lizard."

Leo is walking at the back of the group, looking a little tense as he looks about at his surroundings. He moves with a very calculated, measured stride, his hands clasped in front of him as if he was some elementary school kid at a field trip, fidgeting with his thumbs. Leo is nervous and the way his hands are white and drained of blood because he's holding them together so tight betrays his emotions. He mutters softly to himself, "I hate flying…" Not even Samantha's attire or lackthereof is able to quite put him to ease.

"Well, it's no Aerodreadnaught, but it'll do good man, it'll do. The colonials have done quite well for themselves, well some of them. I hear the Americas are having a bit of infighting?" The moustache wearing man says as he adjusts his pith hat and pipe, "We British had the same troubles, in a less civilised age. Past that, I'd say, but you boys will get a handle on it soon enough, if you work hard." His accent thick and his condescending voice rumbling.

The crew is professional, the vessel immaculately kept. It may seem a curiosity that each wears the uniform of a nation a decade dead, but it doesn't seem to bother anyone. "Well, thank you, Ms. Lancaster."

Ensign Miller lets his eyes travel up the lines of the bombshell, but a simple cough from the Captain has the man's eyes back on his radio-scope.

"Captain!" He calls out a moment later. "We're getting an SOS!"

"Put it on the speakers." Says the Captain. He moves then to the command chair, sliding in to it without any preamble. "Passengers, have a seat in the chairs to the left and please be quiet."

The man at the radio pulls a series of plugs, like seen in old telephone switchboards, then reconfigures them. The sounds of dots and dashes then fills the room…

.... -- ... / .... . .-. --- -. / .-. . .--. --- .-. - .. -. --. / -.. .. ... - .-. . ... ... .-.-.- / .- - - .- -.-. -.- / -... -.-- / .--. .. .-. .- - . ... .-.-.- / ..- -. -.. . .-. / .- - - .- -.-. -.- / -... -.-- / .--. .. .-. .- - . ... .-.-.- / -... .-.. .- -.-. -.- / .- .. .-. ... .... .. .--. --..-- / -- .- ... ... .. ...- . .-.-.- / .... ..- --. . .-.-.- / ..-. .. .-.. .-.. ... / - .... . / ... -.- -.-- .-.-.-

Samantha lofts a brow…"SOS? Like… a distress call? Well, that ain't good." Sam pops her gum, but smiles sweetly in Dirk's direction as he says thank you…"Call me Sammi, handsome…" She winks at him once more and then turns upon the ball of her foot, looping her arm through Leo's grasp and escorting him back towards the chairs. Possibly she's just being flirtatious… but very possibly she sees his nerves, and there is a tender, supportive nature to her touch. Her eyes betray it more than anything. She smirks to the other woman as they pass…"Yeah, well…I ain't in the military and I can have my fun while I'm workin' too, yanno. Loosen up, luvvy…"

Code is: hms heron reporting distress attack by pirates under attack by pirates black airship massive huge fills the sky ple *Messenge ends*

Failing to head the advice to sit down Pith puffs on his smokeless pipe (He forgot to light it, but refuses to admit fault), "My dear cousin, it seems we have a distress call. Sounds dangerous!" His monocle drops from his eye. He walks forward and looks out the view ports, "Sir Steele, if you haven't decided to go in already, I will pay you a fortune to bring me to that battle." He taps his pipe and twitches his face fur with a wicked smile.

"Bloody…" Leo blurts out, his arm stiffening when Samantha looks it around his before he loosens up slightly. He turns to Samantha and offers a weak smile, "Hey. Adventure eh?" A weak chuckle. He is happy to sit down, his whole tough-man stoicism terribly contrived as he looks down onto the ground. He doesn't start shaking or anything, but he sort of grinds his teeth back and forth - barely audible considering all the various sounds that arise from a zeppelin, but nonetheless, audible.

She frowns as the message comes in, concentrating to it, dechipering it… before looking over to the moncled man, her own eyes sparking a bit. "Danger… you say? Well, it /is/ a vessel of Her Majesty. As subjects to the Crown, we would not be doing our duty if we did not… implore your assistance, Captain." She leans forward in her chair, a bit… excited to say the least.

Dirk narrows his eyes, one hand raising to stroke down his hand. He listens to what the others say. He's not really set up for fighting right now. The ammo stores are low and only four of the five planes are air worthy… but he's Duty Bound to answer. Offering a grunt to Pith, he turns back to the command deck. "Do you have a bearing, Mr. Miller?" He asks calmly, looking them to the map.

"Aye sir. Bearing is 42 degrees, with a range of.. based on the strength of signal… 40 miles."

"Very good. Helm to 42, go to full military power. Flight deck, prepare to launch fighters. Damage control, stand by. All hands to action stations." The commands come swift, cool and composed on the part of the Captain. "Mr. Dewinter. Check the log book for any instances of pirates using a black airship."

Samantha settles down next to Leo, one of her tiny hands protectively resting against his back. "Adventure, dear… it's worth it. I promise." She turns her head and kisses against his cheek before she looks back to the room (now having left a good red lip print on Leo's poor jaw). She looks up to Jean and gives a throaty, husky voiced laugh as she gives just a hint of a show of crossing her legs and smiling in one of the controller's direction…"On the contrary, I think they -appreciate- the distraction very…. Very much… hmm, Lieutenant?" She winks over towards the man, giving a little wave and blowing a kiss in his direction. "A little reward for all their hard work."

The ship almost shudders, a vibration running through it as the 16 V-12 engines roar to full power. The Zeppelin rolls to the right, the deck slanting as it reorients to the north by north east. The sailors aboard move with it, expecting and understanding it, but for the civilians aboard who didn't you know, sit down, it may be somewhat disconcerting.

Below, fighter bays swing open, the planes getting pilots rapidly. The ship rocks back to it's normal standard orientation when the come-about is completed. The sun hovers on the horizon, about to sink under. "It's too late in the day to launch planes." The captain says. "What's our speed?"

"Sir, 80 naughts. The new engines are holding up well to the stress."

Jean looks over to Samanatha's display, and simply shakes her head in mild disgust. "Really, you can't find anything better to do than tempt these poor souls while they head into the breech of conflict?" She sighs, and stands… woobling just a bit as the Zepplin starts moving, but maintaining relatively good posture as she moves to one of the windows, looking out… before looking back to the captain. "Too late in the day? What would that have to do with flying out of here?"

The Captain quickly explains to Jean that to launch fighters in the night from an air base that by its nature is moving, will be a great way to -lose- your fighters.

Samantha clears her throat and smirks, folding her arms across her chest and reclining back against Leo as she relaxes in for the strangely tilting ride. "I think, just incase something goes wrong, they should all enjoy having a pleasant sight to view to inspire them into battle!" And with that, Sam gives a brief, short nod and grins contently, trying to hold onto Leo, reassure him, and maintain her confident posture the whole while.

Not being quite able to hold himself steady on the turn the British wealthyman instead pretends to stretch oddly, "Getting ready for the ensuing action I am." He mutters to the Navigator giving him a weird look. He pulls out his case when the Zeppelin returns to normal bearings and he stuffs his non-lit pipe into the ivory holdings. He puts the case back into his multipocketed jacket and he looks at Jean, "Well, you know, not everyone can be as good as the Empire."

Leo takes a deep breath as he just swallows hard and grips his chair hard when the ship rolls to the right. "This whole flying thing is so much easier drunk… or high…" Leo mutters, letting out along sigh when the ship rolls back to a more neutral position. He tries to maintain a faint smile for Samantha.

The ship roars forward, hitting 90 miles an hour with a tail wind. Its a breakneck pace for a 400 foot bag of gas with engines strapped to the side. "Sir! Approaching the location of the signal… but there's no ship here!"

"Scan the area, bring the spotlights out. Perhaps she's gone down…"

Outside, the darkness is cut as spotlights come on with a sound like a thunder clap, snapping open, beams peircing down to roll over the water.

"Sir, no oil slick, no debris.."

"Uh. Sir.." Says Ensign Miller. "We.. uh… the wind.. sir… it… pushed us off course. We're 20 miles south of where we need to be, by this calculation.

"Miller, you are relieved. Johnson, Take over navigation. Get us where we need to be. People are dying." Says the Captain, unhappy but not letting it come in to his tone.

Ensign Miller starts to object, then shuts his mouth… heading for the aft bulkhead, eyes flickering over to Samantha as he moves past her.

Samantha blows a little kiss, though she bites her lower lip guiltily at the man's look…

The ship doesn't stop, instead, gliding forward to the north, the engines pushed to their capacity by the engineer…

"Sir, I've got contact… 4 miles, north by north east. Bringing the ship to bear."

"My glasses." Says the captain rising from his seat then, being handed a pair of binoculars as he peers out the ship. The moon is full, hanging over head and providing silver light to see by. The seas are calm, almost a mirror reflecting the moon perfectly.

Jean looks between the two, Ensign and… harlot, before shaking her head just a bit, and looking back through the window, scanning the sky.

In the far distance, Jean can see the form of a ship riding low in the water.

Pith will see: The ship is not only riding low, but she's listing to the poor side.

Now Leo. Eagle eyes there, Leo. He sees the ship's screws are stopped, she's riding low in the water and there's a massive gash, like someone took a massive claw and just ripped the top deck open….

Sam doesn't see much of anything.

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