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Port Said, Egypt, Mediterranean Sea, 12:30 AM
In spite of its robust name, the Royal Savage was anything but royal or savage. On the journey from Liverpool, the armed merchantman seemed just barely capable of making the trip. The seas had been choppy and several times, the engine had broken down and had needed repairs. And that was just the least of the crew's worries, with rumours of U-boats skulking under the waves.
But thanks to the Captain, a pleasant though incomprehensible Welshman whose name the passengers were pretty sure was Tarrant, they were finally away from the gray coldness of the Atlantic and into the balmier Mediterranean. Port Said, their destination, was within sight.
But rather than be above decks where they could stretch and enjoy the sun, they were below in the galley. From wherever each of the passengers were, they were gathered by the slender but stoic executive officer to meet in the crowded compartment what often smelled like boiled dinners, sweat, and tea. Before them on one of the tables, was set up a bundle of technology they were informed was a wireless. They've seen a variant of the device before, normally strapped to the chest of a sharply-dressed man. And from a speaker, was a smooth and cultured female voice.
"Good afternoon, Project Canticle. I trust your journey was pleasant?"
Right next to the device was a thick folder, with a thick red stamp of a lantern surmounted by a crown and the bold words "TOP SECRET."
Edited by KR_Vandal on Dec 17th 2018 at 10:38:50 AM
It was safe to say that Lucky most definitely did not expect her weekend to be anything other than curled up in some ratty alleyway with perhaps the long-discarded remains of a quilt being her only comfort. But no, through methods she was still trying to sort out in her head, she was currently on some decently large ship. The girl had been doing little more than blankly looking out to sea when the officer fetched her.
She was... uncomfortable. That much was clear. A slight purse of the lips, perhaps. Delayed reactions to directions (she had nearly walked straight past the officer's indicated corridor at one point). The only aspect of herself that she could remain confident in of its impassiveness were her eyes. Large as they were, they never seemed to blink at the average rate—and the glow issuing from them was constant and bright enough to hide whatever subtle movements were below.
Nevermind that the skin around her eyes looked a little cracked and callous. Which was never a thing one would want to have. At least they weren't as severe as her hands—Lucky could safely say she had no sense of contact in them anymore due to the sheer thickness of the scar tissue. Or... whatever remained of it. It had been torn asunder by her initial capt– er, pickup, and had been rather clumsily wrapped by a shred of her own clothing. She hadn't even considered the possibility that these people had actual bandages on hand.
But here they were. Some stuffy cabin. At least it was warm. In fact that had been her go-to observation in all their methods of travel—at least they were warm. Suffice to say that her initial reaction to being picked up wasn't one as calm or accepting as she had been now. But thankfully for the local groins she had reassessed her priorities.
She surely wouldn't get a free meal if the chefs couldn't stand up straight.
And after that stray thought she'd been meek as a lamb.
“Pleasant enough,” she stated in a dull monotone to the device. “What is this? Remote communication? Lots of wires. Why not come here?”
“Can you even hear me or am I just talking to the air?”
Probably should have asked that first. Undeniably the ingenuity of the device was fascinating. Lucky personally hadn't seen anything like it. Surprisingly the cold streets of London hadn't been the most preferential place for technological exhibits. At the very least the speaker had sounded pleasant.
She made a note to carefully match her tone for the next time she spoke up.
Edited by Enirboreh on Dec 18th 2018 at 10:57:47 AM
The Royal Savage—Sage Miller
Sage had been peeking at everyone curiously for most of the voyage. Some severe-looking adults were there—boring! (Not that she voiced that thought aloud, of course, she was too polite for that.) A girl two years older was there too, but she had a genuine high-society accent that put Sage's soft American twang to shame. Who were they?
She was curious, but she had to wait to get answers. She hated it.
The monotony of the voyage was pierced by an announcement of some sort coming from some kind of radio.
"It's been pretty—pretty good so far," she said to thin air. Wait. Wait. Wasn't there some kind of button to press so you could speak or...?
Sage craned her head to look at the wires critically. So confusing...
"How'd you think you use a radio like this? she asked the adults in the room quietly. "Isn't there some kind of button you press to talk?"
"'M sorry, I haven't read much about this kind of thing at all..." Sage said, beginning to squirm in her seat (she was anxious that she would be given grief for her age, you see) and eye the mysterious folder curiously.
Amelie looked up from filing her nails. "My complaints are minimal at best" She replied, examining her nails from multiple angles. "Of course you have also made very clear I'm only here on the grace of my partner so I will simply endeavor to be useful to the discussion rather than volleying you with what I find lacking on this ship."
Although in truth I'm simply glad something is finally happening. No one to woo and con and nothing to steal but midnight snacks for weeks on end.
Amelie put down the file and began rapidly tapping her fingers against her thigh. "So am I to understand we are close to finally being free of this raft with delusions of grandeur?"
Doctor Victoria Stryker hated boats. More specifically, she hated being on the ocean. It was rough, unpleasant, and full of new and interesting ways to die you'd never see on land. Oh, and she got seasick easily. Fortunately, they were in sight of land - or so she had been told, she'd never bothered to go outside and check, nor had she any interest in doing so, and besides, her and the rest of this 'Project Canticle' were required to attend some briefing. Couldn't they at least have waited until the ship arrived? Whatever. Complaining about it wouldn't solve anything. Not that that would stop her, of course.
She thought about making a snide remark in response to the question, but held her tongue. It wouldn't do to anger her new bosses, that would just result in being more likely to be shafted with a job that would get her shot at. Something she'd very much like to avoid, if at all possible. She had it on good authority it was not a pleasant experience.
So, she held her tongue, crossing her arms and leaning against the bulkhead of the ship.
Felix Culper was relaxing in a chair, holding a glass half-filled with some sort of brown liquid, though he wasn't drinking. He'd made a point to be early to this meeting, and for the past few minutes he been intently eyeing the assortment of curious folk as they entered the room. Today he was wearing a dark blue suit, cream-colored shirt, and a tie with small blue flowers on a gray background. Over it he had on a gray tweed Norfolk jacket with pretentious leather at the elbows. If you looked closely you might notice a few unusual bulges in the pockets of the jacket, and the hilt of a knife just peeking out from his boot.
"Can't say I disagree with the lady. I don't mind a bit of a cruise, but there's few things better than land under your feet, what?" He took a small sip of the beverage and leaned back, crossing his legs at the ankle. "Of course, in a few days we might all long for the comforts of these cozy berths." He grinned and took another sip of the mysterious concoction.
HMS Savage: Subject S-132
Among those gathered in front of the speaker was a woman with blonde hair and icy blue eyes, and clad in what looked like a German army uniform, strange enough considering the group's main enemy was the Nazis. And yet, she stood at attention, without saluting, as the speaker talked.
"It has been...interesting. I've not been transported on a boat before.", the blonde woman said with a German accent. She had little to no life in her eyes, like a statue almost, and anyone who'd tried to chat with her over the course of the journey would've found she was not one for conversation.
The Royal Savage
Mayumi was slightly annoyed. Only slightly mind, which honestly slightly clashed with the fact that she was cursing in three different languages. But who could blame her? She had wasted the past few hours arguing with the stupid boat's staff to let her access the damn kitchen.
Honestly, here they were, on their way to enemy territory and they didn't want her to prepare her chicken adobo? Soldiers fought better on a full stomach!
No matter, she got her way in the end.
Shoving the door to the cabin open, Mayumi shuffled in, carrying a large metal pot, muttering under her breath about "People these days not respecting their elders."
With a grunt, the woman slammed the pot (narrowly missing crushing the wireless with it), and dusted off her hands.
Mayumi glanced at the others in the room, eyes narrowing slightly at the two teenaged girls. (What had this world gone to, sending literal children off to fight? She cheerfully disregarded the hypocritical fact that she wasn't much older when she joined the Revolution.)
"Well. I have lunch. All of you eat up, I reckon that we'll have some long days ahead of us!"
She glanced at Lux. "Especially you! Girl, you're skin and bones!"
"Woah, smells delicious!" Sage exclaimed, eyes widening.
"Well, you're all older than me. Go on and have first pick," she gestured for the others to take their share.
Amelie gave the German-looking woman a wary glace as she spoke, the frenchwoman's hand drifting down as if to grip a weapon that she did not currently have with her.
Watch you step, fascist. You hardly belong here
Amelie was distracted when Mayumi brought in the food. "How kind of you Madame Mayumi, what's in this? It smells absolutely magnificent." She said as she gently brushed her fingers against the older woman's arm touching some exposed skin as she went.
I am reduced to using my gift as an expedient method to avoid possible allergens. Oh how the mighty have fallen
Amelie turned a sigh of disappointment into a satisfied sounding one. "The smell reminds me of one of the society parties from last year, horribly vapid of course, but if the oppressors are going to try to sway us I can at least enjoy the benefits while the mademoiselle robs them blind."
Adrian was sitting against the wall, fiddling his thumbs to try and keep his nerves down. He didn't really get seasick, but the rocking of a boat always left him feeling a bit queasy. Hermes on the other hand, was rather fine with the situation. Strutting about on the ground next to Adrian, remarkably calm for a bird restricted to the insides of a boat, Hermes even hopped up to Mayumi as the dish was revealed, leaning in curiously at the delicious smelling meat. "Hermes, have some manners why don't ya?" The sniper spoke in a distinctly Irish accent, before lifting himself up to join his partner next to the food. "Thank ye kindly for the food ma'am. I hope Hermes having some wouldn't be too much trouble?"
“I hadn't noticed,” Lux retorted to Mayumi in a tone extremely difficult to identify as either joking or not, but nonetheless she made a beeline for the pot and sniffed at it cautiously. Evidently satisfied, she glanced up at the older woman; nodding slightly in subtle thanks and mouthing a quick “thank you”.
The girl didn't even wait as much as lunge for it—grabbing a piece of the meat from the pot and acting completely uncaring of the heat as she sat down in a corner moments later. The meat was marinated and dripping slightly as she scarfed it down, but she honestly paid that no mind either. She was still sure that this was one of the only hot meals she'd ever get.
In fact, the only thing she seemed to be paying vague attention to excluding the meat was the nearby bird. And it wasn't the type of ‘attention’ one would associate with an innocent desire to pet it as much as one would associate with ‘next meal identified’.
Royal Savage Galley, Port Said, Egypt, Mediterranean Sea, past 12:30 AM
"Be sure to try that on steamed white rice," said the voice from the speaker horn. "It soaks the sauce well."
The tone was still airy, light, even when the executive officer glared at Mayumi from under the brim of his cap. "Captain Tarrant, pass the folder, if you please." The folder was handed to them. In it, was a detailed map of the region, along with routes up and down the Nile Delta. There were also pictures of people, including one of an arrogant-looking officer dressed in a Wermacht uniform. And then there was another of a young-looking scholar with a neutral and somewhat supercilious expression. Lastly, there were three locations; a nightclub nearest the offices which served as the German embassy, a warehouse at the docks, and a messier-than-usual alley.
"Some friendly agents have tripped across some rather worrying rumours. Ever since our friends," the voice was referring to the German armed forces. "Arrived, there's been an uptick in unrest, but lately, even that has risen in octave." There were more details revealed about mysterious murders that happened after something was moved into the warehouse and of an altercation which happened at the night club.
"As the newest agents of Project Canticle, we are tasking you to look into this unrest and, if it ties back to the Bosch, put a stop to it."
Rhona, in her many years on the planet, had been involved in countless wars and world-changing events, but even so, she couldn't remember ever being involved in something like this 'Project Canticle', but beggars couldn't be choosers as the Canadian military was refusing to field her on the frontline, where she knew she'd be able to aid the war effort best. But, whatever the case may be, she was here now and looking forward to her new job. Project Canticle had picked her up in Paris, where she was both visiting old haunts and joining the resistance's battle against Nazi oppression. It took a great deal of convincing to pry Rhona away from her newfound allies, but after being told that her skills and knowledge would be best put to work with Canticle, it was hard to argue with them.
Now, aboard the Royal Savage with the rest of her teammates, Rhona, or Iona as the case might be currently, was sitting alone at a small table, sharpening her Gladius as she wondered how many of this crew of mortals would see the end of this conflict. Whatever the case might be, she tried to banish those morbid thoughts from her head as she took note that everyone seemed to be getting along rather well, though she took special note of her 'compatriot' in the german army uniform. No doubt the higher ups were aware of the potential for treachery, but Rhona was more than happy to act accordingly.
As the mysterious voice started briefing the assembled team on their mission in Egypt, Rhona spoke up "Just for clarification, is it just a select few targets you want dead or is anything flying german colours and carying a german rifle fair game?"
Amelie looked over the locations with interest.
A small nightclub but it's the most enjoyable place to make these bastards feel my presence. A little recon followed by crashing their party should do wonders for my mood.
Amelie tapped her finger on the nightclub, taking a moment to fish a bite of food before speaking. "My social talents will aid us best here. Not to boast, but I have acquired quite some skills at...let us call it 'schmoozing' our German friends. I may be jumping to conclusions but I do believe it's where the mademoiselle will want to put on her appearance as well. And woe betide me if I am not present to provide my illustrious partner her support."
The man who went by Will Speare was also one of the first individuals in the meeting room, although he hadn't said much. To be frank, he'd never been good with small talk, so he had hoped that once the mission was assigned there'd be something worth saying. He hadn't expected being given the bare minimum of information, though, and he got the feeling that most of the information was in the portfolio of papers he couldn't make out.
Still, he wasn't the only one in this group. Hopefully everyone overall understood enough that there wouldn't be any issues with the mission. And yet, he couldn't shake off the irritation of not knowing what exactly they were doing, nor could he get himself to swallow his pride long enough to ask for the details.
His internal indecision was thankfully broken by a familiar scent. It had been a while since he had chicken adobo, but he wouldn't forget that dish even if he lived a thousand years. Would it be as good as... as her's? Only one way to find out.
"...I would like some," he said to Mayumi.
Felix chugged down the rest of his drink and ambled forward to sample the source of the delicious smells. The tension surrounding the tall woman in the German uniform intrigued him: what was her story? Clearly their "patrons" trusted her, and yet the clothing meant something to her or else she would have changed. Fascinating.
It seemed that some of his shipmates were uneasy at the idea of being kept on a short leash. Culper wasn't wild about the idea himself, but from what little he'd been able to put together this wasn't run by amateurs, so they probably had good reason for keeping it mum. On the other hand, Professor Gallowglass back at Cambridge had kept things quiet too, and it had all ended in blood back then...
"I love a good nightclub, but sadly my German is terrible, old bean. Unless I can get in as some kind of mute, I'd request the alley posting. It sounds like something's been hunting,and that's something I do know about." He was smiling again. Or at least he was showing his teeth. Either way, it was a trifle unsettling.
"I'm very good at remembering things," Sage said, helping herself to some chicken. "I want to check out the warehouses. I can memorize the locations of any suspicious crates—if the place is indeed being used as some kind of depot for storing or shipping arms or other skeevy things."
"I can be pretending to be looking for a seed shipment. Of course, I'll need a fake name and maybe someone to go with me..."
Edited by JumpingFruit on Dec 21st 2018 at 3:42:59 AM
Both Navy representatives shared a look and then simultaneous shot Rhona one. When the voice spoke again, they could hear the slight amusement, as if they were a teacher presiding over a lively classroom.
"Now you understand why we brought most of you into the Project. We will need every iota of your talent and resolve to see us through these dark times. Captain Tarrant, how much longer 'til the Savage makes port?" The captain responded in something which might've meant "not much longer."
"Splendid, Captain. There isn't much more help that we can offer you here. The minute the boarding ladder descends, you are on your own. And while we prefer you keep casualties to a minimum, they are the enemy and have made their choice." Still with the easy tone, but with a schoolmarm's chiding accent.
"The supplies and munitions aboard are yours to use. And if you need help, watch for the winged star." And with that, the device powered down. Just as a last picture fell out from the folder; an insignia of Middle Eastern origin, the profile of a jackal's skull.
Edited by KR_Vandal on Dec 23rd 2018 at 12:22:18 PM
"Come on then, there's plenty for everyone." Mayumi grunted as she handed out plates of the adobo, listening to the mission briefing in the background.
She didn't like this, not one bit. Her vision had given her the premonition of a coming disaster, and she had the feeling that whatever was happening right now was connected to it all.
As for the mission itself...well, she didn't mind going anywhere but thought that she better hang around those kids. Because, putang ina, she was going to keep them safe.
She glanced at the bird hopping next to her bowl and snorted in amusement.
"Well, of course he can have some. Probably relieved he didn't have to hunt this himself."
She carried a plate over to the blind man and patted him on the back.
"Huh, recognize the dish, bata?"
Then she walked over to Sage and wrapped an arm around her.
"Look, I'm fine with going whereever I'm needed, but this old lady would prefer keeping an eye on these kids."
“A nightclub?” Lux echoed, looking up from her meal with a sudden weary expression. “Nothing but trouble. And don't you dare even suggest I try and ‘schmooze’ them myself. No man's gotten within three feet of me and I intend to keep it that way,” she adamantly stated. “Or anyone, for that matter.”
Mayumi's proclamation merely received a blank look from the emaciated teen that was soon accompanied by a hollow monotone of speech.
“You'd needn't be obligated. At least not on my account. I have been doing fine on my own. Or am breathing, at least. And that's good enough for me, thank you very much. I'd rather not have some nanny breathing down my neck. I've been ‘pitied’ before and ended up running away with nothing but my dignity tarnished and my dreams made nightmares. So I appreciate the sentiment. But leave me out of your ‘care.’”
Edited by Enirboreh on Dec 24th 2018 at 12:06:31 PM
Amelie raised an eyebrow at Lux's comment.
Well isn't this one forward?
"That's an awfully large chip on your shoulder, mon cherie." Amelie commented. "Un-needed some would say given the current shape of things. A flower such as myself needs no competition for the attention of the public and I had no intention of dragging anyone along. And Madame Mayumi gave you some food already. If she wanted to hurt you or any of us she would merely need to slip some poison in" Her tone by the end of her speech was positively scornful despite the pleasant smile never leaving her face.
“I was avoiding an uncouth word. And don't be ridiculous. Rats aren't lured in by the poisoned food. It catches them off-guard when it's replacing the clean food. Same principle,” Lux dismissed. “And if I have a chip, you must have the whole vegetable garden. ‘Flower such as myself.’ Good grief.”
The girl had still yet to blink, but her eyes were still as wide and inexpressive as ever. Most of the emotion was present in her inflection; and even then it was very little. She didn't look quite real—and her incredible slightness didn't help in that regard.
Edited by Enirboreh on Dec 25th 2018 at 4:24:05 PM
Still munching on his delicious chicken, Felix started cataloging his companions. The French lass sounded like she had a chip on her shoulder for the Bosch, while the skinny one was not feeling any affection for her (or anyone else). The German lady seemed cold and focused. Hopefully that would stick. The fellow with the handsome bird was a little quiet, but this was a queer deal. So far, the chicken lady was his favorite because he wasn't hungry anymore. It certainly made him wonder how they'd found this eclectic bunch. Felix finished his chicken and wiped his mouth off on a silk handkerchief.
"While I certainly understand the lure of going off on your own, that sounds like a terrible idea here. We're going into dangerous territory that's unfamiliar against an enemy that will not take mercy on any of us. Going in alone will let the beast get the drop on you no matter how ready you feel. I've seen it happen to smart, strong lads and the bones that are left over afterwards. So at least two-person teams should be the rule here. People who say they don't need anyone in the field eventually get what they want and don't have anyone when it counts. Those people become lion food if they're lucky."
As he was speaking, Felix had pulled his Bowie knife out of its sheath and was busy sharpening it on a whetstone. It made a soft, almost hypnotic noise.
"Skeevy alley's right out for me, and I don't like my chances with the nightclub. I don't look like I belong in either of those places," Sage muttered.
"Warehouses are probably the best option for me, though I could probably help with mission control if you insist that I not go..." she trailed off.
Sage fiddled with her shotgun's stock, tapping her fingers against it nervously.
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