There is a commotion in the air, a certain type of commotion that only accompanies large construction projects. As the days passed you finally realized the greatest casualty in Akavir of the cataclysm unleashed in Orsis: The water system. Apparently it caused lasting, invisible damage making the main pump suffer a phase shift, which in force gears that generate, well, force causes a change in direction. The city's water system has not taken to that very well and though the damage had been slow and almost invisible to the point it was only noticed around a week ago (or so the newspapers say), the night before the briefing it became completely critical and the water system was shut off, a section of pipe having had it's internal system suffer a violent conflagration ripping off a chunk of the ground above, thankfully in an isolated area.
As you make your way to the Grand Chapel you see much more frantic construction crews carrying replacement parts for the whole of the water system as well as trucks carrying water to houses and workplaces, thankfully none can say that there is no foresight in this city, the emergency plans got put to work immediately and nobody is lacking water in any way and the repairs should be done by the end of tomorrow, unfortunately you won't be around to see it.
Harriet: "Aw, man… I'd love to lean in on structural engineering and see what they're doing with this. Oh, well, gotta save the world."
Serenity: "Totally Not My Fault."
When you finally reach the meeting room, you actually are faced with a line of people. Blocking the entrance to the meeting room is someone you really haven't seen a lot of, Prefect Elijah, the man in charge of running the city's infrastructure and civil works. "You have all recieved your directives already, don't come to her holiness for every detail use your minds, they're there for a reason!
The man certainly looks at the end of his patience, but some more arguing and he manages to finally disperse the line. He turns to you to start scolding you as well and notices you're not quite who he thought you were, he stops himself "Oh, the Fatebreakers. Good to finally meet you, wish were under better circumstances"
Harriet: "Sooo… are you the guy fixing the city, or are you just pissed for, like, unrelated reasons?"
Prefect Elijah: "Oh, yes, let me introduce myself. I'm Prefect Elijah Trein, essentially in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the city including, well, maitenance"
Serenity: "…I thought you had your own office, what're you doing down here?"
Harriet: "Right, right, you're that guy. So, like, we're on a schedule, but just out of curiosity, how *are* you fixing the city?"
Hughbert salutes. "Good morning, Prefect. I hope your engineers have been stepping up to the task at hand well enough."
Prefect Elijah: "Trying to get my people to do what they're supposed to, use their actual minds to solve the problems before them, instead of flocking to her holiness to ask 'But what do we do next?'. They are the damn civil engineers, not her"
Harriet: "Have you tried telling them they're allowed to do what they need to do to fix the problem? If they're going to an authority, they're probably not allowed to actually fix shit."
Harriet: "Huge pain in the ass for any engineer, trust me."
Anton: "She's got a point y'know."
Prefect Elijah: "They're… Honestly they're just panicking, this is the first disaster scenario they're dealing with and are just lookign for assurance that they're actually free to do what they need. Those are just a few who… Didn't believe me the first time I said that, Harriet" he nods at her "Well, we did have plans to restructure the water system at some point to account for an upgrade in the main pump's system, we're just going to have to put all of those resources we've been gathering for that project to use now and enact it earlier"
Prefect Elijah: "I wish the Divine Oracle had told me why to put that project on hold so i'd be better prepared for this, but at least it wasn't the new engine that got messed up"
Amal: "Sounds like the city's in good hands~!" They smile.
Harriet: "If they're panicking, they just need a senior engineer to tell them off. Be right back." Harriet strides to the front of the line!
Serenity: "Apparently there was a fairly low chance of ending up on this timeline for what it's worth…?"
Harriet: "Okay, hey guys." Harriet pauses, cups her hands in front of her face. "HEY GUYS!"
Some of the staff that had been hanging around turns to look at Harriet
Harriet: "Hands up who thinks the Divine Oracle has an engineering degree!"
They look at eachother "What?"
Harriet: "Just shut up and do the thing! Which one of you thinks the Divine Oracle has an engineering degree?"
Amal: "(This is gonna be good.)"
They back off "Uhn… I don't think anybody does" one of them says "But she kind of knows everything?"
Serenity: "Wrong as fuck."
Anton scratches his head.
Harriet: "Cool, question answered. Second question! Who here has an engineering degree!" Harriet's hand, of course, goes up.
Basically all of them raise their hands (only one of them doesn't)
Harriet: "Okay! You," she points at the one who didn't, "you're not qualified. You, you, you, you, you, and basically all of you? You went to school for this shit. Use your heads, why don't you?! The Divine Oracle can't tell you what to do! She's just going to tell you to fix the fucking problem! And you're all smart people, that's what you need to be to get an engineering degree. So stop panicking,
Harriet: you'll be fine. "
Harriet: "I'm Harriet Babbage, and I do not have time to fix this problem, so you all get to be my hands. Go on!"
They're slightly cowed, but just vaguely nod and start moving away
Elijah shakes his head "Wish everyone was a bit more like you"
Harriet visibly slumps a bit as everyone moves out, breathing out a sigh of relief. "Ugh, I hate management. They don't know how lucky they are to just have a problem to solve. Anyway, your shit's fixed, you're welcome, gonna go see the Divine Oracle now."
Prefect Elijah: "Anyway with these guys back to work, sorry for the interruption." he steps aside to let you pass and starts leaving "Good luck on your mission"
Harriet: "Yeah, no problem. Gonna go save the world now, see ya." Harriet waves and heads inside.
Hughbert: "Same to you, sir." He adds while heading to the door, "Well done, Harriet."
Harriet: "Oh man, if you think I did okay I must have nailed it."
Amal giggles at little at Harriet and grins. "You're pretty awesome."
Harriet: "Yeah, I'm basically amazing," Harriet grins back.
Hughbert: "They looked dazed because they weren't expecting it. Once they have a moment to let it set in, your words will fully reach them."
Harriet: "Ha! See? People aren't so hard."
As you head inside, you first see the Pope, although doing something you've seen her do for the first time. At the far end of the room, essentially facing a wall, she's on her knees, hands clasped together over her heart, eyes closed and in silence.
Cor Caroli, however, sits at the meeting table as if nothing special was going on. This time there's some papers strewn about, they look like a variety of schedules, although a particularly long blueprint seems like it's the blueprint of a… Train? There's also a map of parts unknown
Serenity: "…Is she praying?"
Harriet: "But then again, people are boring," Harriet concludes as she zeroes right in on that train blueprint.
Cor Caroli: "She is"
Serenity: "Weird."
Hughbert takes a seat. "Perhaps best to keep our voices down for now, then." He leans in to look at the blueprint. "Hmm…?"
Cor Caroli: "Yeah… But helps keep her mind calm"
Serenity: "Who to, though?"
Cor Caroli: "To the Goddess… It's not so much… Actual belief in the power of prayer. From what she tells me it's just… The act, the sense of faith regardless of reality. They're things that help calm her, like meditation in a way"
Amal: "…that makes a lot of sense to me."
Harriet: "Everyone's got something."
Serenity‘ scratches her head.
Serenity: "Seems like the kind of thing that would really set her off though…? Oh right she’s not a medium is she."
Cor Caroli: "She isn't, no"
Cor Caroli: "Though she did say sometimes she wished she was"
Amal giggles at Serenity. "She can come to terms with the situation."
Harriet: "I mean, I wouldn't complain if people were praying to me. She can suck it up."
Serenity‘ tilts her head in Amal’s direction.
Amal gives Serenity a Mysterious Look.
Serenity: "Don't talk out of your ass at the table Amal, it's rude."
Amal giggles!!
Julian: Hughbert: The blueprints are of a large train that, from the looks of it, is meant to transport a small amount of people in considerable comfort as well as large amounts of raw material and armored vehicles
Serenity‘ slips into a seat and leans over the table to look at all the stuff.
Hughbert starts brewing a cup of the usual meeting room tea. "There’s one thing that helps me recenter myself in troubling times. Wouldn't hurt to offer her a cup when she is finished."
Spread about are various different schedules, train schedules, but they all have one thing in common: A station in Orsis.
Serenity: "Oh huh we were just talking about international trains the other day too, what a coincidence."
Hughbert: "…Right, is this how we're going to arrive?"
Cor Caroli: "Indeed. Akavir saw fit to expand it's rail network to two points in Orsis due to the large amount of raw materials that they import from them"
Cor Caroli: "As the situation in Orsis cooled down I… Discreetly asked that they find a way in which to maintain such a trade for a while longer, having already planned for your incursion in one of those trains"
Harriet: "Aw man, this is gonna be so cool."
Anton: "I can't say I've been on a train yet."
Harriet: "I love trains! Cor, let's put in train lines, trains are fantastic."
Cor Caroli: "Unfortunately, there is no way in which you could officially board one such train. So you're going to have to make your way into the 'Coal Express'" she taps the train's blueprint "One way or another, and from there you'll have to safely make your way to the final destination, a smelting plant on the east side of Akavir and from there find your way to the garrison of the imperial summer home nearby, wherein i've arranged a meeting with Major Sanger"
Cor Caroli: "Unfrotunately Masharas really isn't fit for trains, Harriet. Far too small"
Amal: "Ahahahaha, a train robbery! That's fantastic."
Amal: "…well, sorta."
Cor Caroli: "Then again, they are perfect for foreign trade"
Harriet: "Duh! Train lines to everywhere!"
Amal: "I love Akavir, we get to do all the stuff we've been good about not doing."
Harriet: "It'll do until we can make stuff that flies reliably, anyway."
Cor Caroli: "Well, you'll have aid from the Orsis side, you'll have free access to the station. But the Coal Express is manned by Noble Alliance personnel, and they're not going to be friendlies"
Cor Caroli: "All in it's due time, Harriet"
Hughbert: "Perhaps in the future, we'll have a train line running through Masharas. For now, though… What will they do to stop us from getting on board?"
Harriet: "Are they going to fight us? Because, like, I've got a lot of improvements which need testing out."
Cor Caroli: "They do have armed guards in the trains, which are an obvious measure to stop you"
Serenity: "Hmm… how are your powers of seduction Amal?"
Amal starts giggling.
Serenity: "I'll take that as a 'not great'."
Cor Caroli: "The biggest problem will be, in case you have to commandeer the train, driving it. It should be simple in operation once you have the engineer's safety key to engage the engine, but the rail lines in Akavir are plentiful and their train system complex, and you probably don't want to attract attention until you make landing"
Serenity: "Mechanical or orbal?"
Harriet: "First question: Do we have manuals? Second question: Do we have those little hats?"
[OOC] Serenity: -orbal +gear based
Cor Caroli: "Hybrid system, from what I understand" she pulls the blueprint closer to Serenity "Mostly gear-based with an emergency mechanical system"
Harriet: "Oooh, clever."
Serenity: "Hmm… *might* not need the key then, but still good to have."
Cor Caroli then pushes a somewhat thin notebook towards Harriet "Operator's manual we managed to get a hold of"
Amal: "Hehehe. We'll be -fine-."
Harriet: "But no little hats?" Harriet pouts as she picks up the book and starts looking through it. "Aw, man. How are we supposed to drive a train without the little hats?"
Cor Caroli: "Those you will have to procure on site, unfortunately"
Serenity: "Tiny hats are dumb."
Harriet: "What, like spies? Okay, yeah, that's pretty badass."
Harriet: "No the tiny hats are AMAZING, but you're welcome to your wrong opinion."
Cor Caroli: "Also a word of caution, though i've arranged a meeting with Major Sanger of the Imperial Guard he still has to answer to the king and not just the prince, not to say he has to keep a certain fa├žade of not directly antagonizing any of the current ruling powers. So there might be tension if there are too many people around the meeting site"
Serenity: "You mean factual. It was scientifically studied and published in a paper."
Harriet: "Pshhh, probably in one of those hack journals that third-rate scientists get into."
Serenity: "They don't even block the sun, ie, the primary purpose of a hat!"
Harriet: "That's because you wear them inside the train! They signify your mastery of the vehicle!"
Harriet: "Also, they look really boss."
Hughbert: "What about large tiny hats, Serenity?"
Serenity: "Ugh that's it I quit the fatebreakers, I can't handle all this concentrated wrong in one place."
Harriet: "You can't quit if I quit first, and to the third power!"
Serenity: "…That doesn't even make sense."
Harriet: "Sure it does. Read a maths textbook."
Serenity‘ sighs, rolls her eyes.
Anton: "C’mon now, your life as some sort of weather engineer is way less interesting Serenity."
Amal gives Cor Caroli an apologetic little look. There's no winning out against the little hats.
Serenity: "Huh?"
Anton: "If you quit the fatebreakers!"
Cor shrugs a very small shrug at Amal, it happens
Harriet: "Ooh, what fabulous life would I lead if I wasn't here?"
Anton: "You already know that one, Harriet. You build things that end the world."
Harriet: "Hmm…"
Serenity: "Weird."
Hughbert: "So… We must develop a plan to get on board the train without our destination knowing about us, we must be prepared to conduct the vehicle if necessary, then we must disembark without detection, then meet with the Major, with as few observers as possible. Is that right?"
Cor Caroli sighs "Indeed, Hughbert. Thank you for rescuing the topic at hand"
Harriet: "You know, we could team up despite our differences and - oh, fine, or the mission, I guess. Why don't I just invent us an invisibility cloak? No, no, that's stupid."
Cor Caroli: "But that is a simple summing of the situation. From there, the Major should have a way ready for you to meet with the prince so you can assist him"
Cor Caroli: "You're free to depart as soon as you deem it best"
Serenity: "As a cloak of fabric it would be, but a cloak of mist…? Almost definitely not enough time to develope something like that though."
Amal: "Somehow we're good at sneaking around. I still have no idea how."
Serenity: "For real though do we have a plan to stay undetected? Because beating the shit out of people to keep them quiet is going to set off a lot of warning bells when we get to our destination."
Hughbert: "Hmm… Something that would allow us to walk around in plain sight would be most helpful, though… Hm. Let's take a look at this blueprint again."
Hughbert: "Serenity, look for any service doorways. Something we can ask politely to open."
Harriet: "I mean, we could always pretend to be lackeys. No one ever pays attention to lackeys."
Serenity: "I mean…"
Serenity: "We could probably pass you and Anton off as blue collars and Hughbert as management. Me and Amal though…?"
Amal: "Hehehehe."
Amal: "Hang on."
Julian: The train has basically three sections: A passenger section, consisting of one passenger car and one utilities car, mostly for VIP transport if necessary; A bulk transport section, consisting of four cars for transporting goods (minerals in this case so they're open-air) plus a fifth car which seems to be a sort of temporary crew resting quarters; An armor transport section, which are three flat bed cars with a complex series of straps and balancing mechanisms to secure vehicles.
Harriet: "I dunno, I'm not really a tactics sort of person, that's more Hughbert's wheelhouse."
Harriet: "This is where you jump in with a brilliant solution, by the way," Harriet gestures to Hughbert.
Amal: "I've got this, hang on." They start rummaging around in their pockets.
Serenity‘ gives Amal a side glance, before shrugging towards Hughbert. "Opening stuff shouldn’t be hard, the real issue is so much of this is dedicated to transporting minerals that everything else seems like it's in plain view, except maybe the VIP car, assuming no one's in it."
Hughbert: "If there was a party of five or six boarding as passengers, we could persuade them to part with their tickets somehow."
Harriet: "I mean, by all rights we should be VIPs, Akavir's the one who's bucking the trend of everyone welcoming us as heroes and shit."
Amal finally goes AHA and pulls out two sets of documentation from Reinford Rail Mechanics, the official inspectors for the railroad in question. "HaHAH! I knew I had these in here somewhere. You're a railway inspector, I'm your trainee. They do regular training circuits all the time!"
The documentation is alarmingly official-looking.
Harriet leans over, raises an eyebrow. "Wait, how do you have official documents?"
Hughbert: "Given Coal is in the name of the train, I have little reason to believe the mineral cars would be suitable for stowaways…" He looks over to Amal briefly, then back to the blueprint, then back to Amal but with much more enthusiasm. "…Wow. I'm impressed."
Serenity‘ purses her lips together, then slides the documents over.
Amal grins incredibly smugly at Harriet.
Harriet: "Is that just. A thing you have in your pockets? I mean, I’m not judging, I carry so much I need a belt for it all, but like…"
Harriet: "Dude."
Amal also grins incredibly smugly at- okay, let's just go with they're grinning incredibly smugly.
Hughbert: "…So, I'm management, then. Are skirts part of the usual railway uniform?"
Serenity: "Uhh…"
Serenity: "No clue I don't keep up with Akavir fashion."
Cor Caroli: "For management, yes. Operators aren't allowed for obvious reasons."
Harriet: "I guess I'll put on some pants for the good of the mission."
Hughbert: "With all due respect, Oracle, I assure you I wasn't asking for personal reasons." He gestures to the two skirt-proficient ladies instead.
Cor chuckles "You could always convince them you're from the western plains, Hughbert. They are a particular local fashion"
Cor Caroli: "Admittedly of entirely different make than what you're used to be still"
Serenity: "Huuuh."
[OOC] Julian: *used to, but still
[OOC] Julian: Because I realized that made nearly no sense
Julian: Either way, when you're ready to go, you've got a bit of a travel ahead of you
Hughbert: "I'll have the Corps piece together everything we need to look the part. From there, we must figure out how to act to not blow our cover. I trust we'll find this manual to be a good read along the way, for that."
Serenity: "Probably yeah.
Harriet: "It's really interesting!"
Cor Caroli: "Alright, then. You better get going, there is a strict schedule the train keeps after all" she hands it over to Hughbert "And even my planning will only go so far if you can't stick to it"
The schedule is, thankfully, not as tight as to necessitate that you hurry, but it's close enough that you do need to get moving sooner rather than later. Mostly because the trip is not necessarily a short one to the station, because you need to cross to Orsis first
Serenity‘ figures that gives them plenty of time to read then.
Harriet: "Right, yeah, gotta save the world. Wish I could stay and fix stuff here, but, you know, priorities."
At least one bit of good news as you travel- Making the car trip through the segment of Orsis you see a few things you had seen before when you first arrived, after all this is the same road into it. That worker’s camp you've passed by so long ago? It's completely empty, and from the looks of it been almost completely salvaged (but the hills remain marked by the exploded drill)
As you drive further you pass by the farms… The crunching sound of the cow being consumed whole by the machine might still echo in your memories, but this time you see instead a different kind of machine- Similar to some things you saw in Terchuan it's actually a harvester machine, and boy does it looks like a lot safer kind of machine, you can even see the engine has a rather robust exhaust relief valve (a bit too large for it's necessities if you can see it, overcompensating for previous mistakes much? At least it causes no harm)
Harriet: "Oh thank Goddess they actually have half a brain."
Amal ducked into a room somewhere at some point and came out /not/ wearing the white desert robe they've been wearing the entire time; somehow they found clothes that almost exactly stylistically match Serenity's.
Either way it takes almost an entire day to arrive at the station, there is a small traveller's inn in there which proves useful as you arrive in the night prior to the morning of the train's departure.
Harriet has, however reluctantly, dressed up for the part.
Hughbert meanwhile has distributed crew uniforms he brought from the Corps for Anton and Harriet!
The station itself isn't very glamurous at all, in fact it's rather dusty if you leave the designated passenger area (which is about one room and the passage to the platform), with the large amounts of coal being moved the workers all need to wear light masks to avoid breathing them in, they're working through the night to have the train ready to depart by the morning at sunrise
Amal looks appropriately disgusted by the coal dust. That's what inspectors do, right?
Serenity‘ grumbles while getting out her goggles and face mask. She’s got a small toolkit fill with various measure devices now, and hands Amal a clip board filled with forms and a pen.
Amal looks Very Official! They're a good little trainee! And they have the Official Documents to prove it and everything.
Harriet: "Right, let's get to work!" Harriet grabs Anton to go and start acting the part. It's not difficult. All she has to do is pretend she's really, really invested in this train. Which she already is, because the train is fascinating.
They are stopped by the security crew when they head to the train for inspection- The rail guard are definitely wearing the worst possible color right now, white, which is looking as bad as one might expect. They check the documentation they present and… There's some grumbling among them about 'What are those upstarts thinking' and other signs of indignation they try, and fail (or maybe try hard to fail) to keep to themselves before returning the documents and allowing passage
Hughbert is carrying an official-looking clipboard. "Slow down a little. Try to look a little more bored. It is very likely that the other hands working here don't share the enthusiasm."
The other three, with Serenity and Amal having annoyed the guards so much with their mere presence and correctness, pass by with more ease as the guards are less willing to put effort into look at you which just as helpful.
Harriet: "Which is a total crime, because they're working with a train, but fiiiine." Harriet huffs and slows down accordingly.
Amal is on Team Harriet here tbh, it's extremely hard NOT to be all wide-eyed and hype about the train but! they stay in character!!!
Serenity‘ doesn’t need to put any effort whatsoever into looking like she'd rather be somewhere else, with all this smog in the air,
The inside of the train is interesting, the VIP cars are damn nice, the facilities car aside from the usual necessities for travel also has a small and very well equipped kitchen and a bar and a few shelves dedicated to books to read while travelling. Someone has forgotten a deck of cards on a table, however, it looks like a kid's game.
The actual passenger car is incredibly comfortable with individual rooms for around eight people, and one small public seating area but this was designed to carry very few people very comfortably rather than volume transport. The most interesting part is that this car is the only one which uses bonded ragnite plates for it's mufflers, they require quite a bit of extra structure to keep the car horizontally stable but they also absorb all of the bounce making the travel almost impossible to percieve
The coal cars are, honestly, quite boring. Aside from the loading hopper that seems to utilize an interesting system of pulleys and a force gear type of sensor that allows almost completely automates the loading process
The flat-bed cars are, actuall, all empty.
Harriet: "Goddess, are you seeing this? Those plates must keep this thing stable as - man, I should put these on our car, can you imagine how smooth the ride would be?"
Hughbert pokes Harriet discreetly. "Yes, it would be wonderful. Now don't carry on about it too loudly, or someone will take your idea and get all of the credit."
Harriet: "Oh, right, my bad."
And of course, there's the engine. It's a sleek engine car designed even with air drag in mind, and it has a classical feel to it as it has still has a coal furnace for a steam engine in it which is, presumably, what the emergency mechanical system is powered by. There's a few stacks of what you presume is coal on the side, but it looks around five hundred times denser than coal. Either way there's also in the back of the engine car a rack of ragnite batteries and the force gear engine has a battery hot-swap system as well
Interestingly enough there is what you presume is where the key to unlock the engine goes. It's not so much a key but apparently a type of card that you need to insert and turn? At least from the shape, it's like a jigsaw puzzle as well- Must be one funky looking card
Serenity‘ makes sure to take Amal through the entire train before it gets up and running, taking measurements here and there while checking various valves and force gears and getting it all noted.
Amal commits espionage AND solves the world’s problems! Not that they won't be able to just… work with the train dudes once there's peace and everything.
Harriet definitely conspires with Anton quietly about what their cool spy codenames are while they're working. Pretending to work. Admiring the engineering. Whatever.
JayM: Hrm… Now here lies the conundrum: You have access, the train's yours for the taking… But they key isn't here. The driver is presumably at the traveller's inn, the key with him. And there's security here as well, but nobody inside the train so if you manage to jumpstart it they'd have a hard time following
Amal frowns at the engine, and at the keyhole, and at the engine again, then thinks for a minute…
Hughbert stares at the keyhole. "There is nobody here, is there… How long until it leaves port?" He checks his watch.
Amal: "Hey Hughbert."
Hughbert: "Yes, Amal?"
Amal: "Permission to hijack the train?" They grin -radiantly-.
Serenity: "Wait we're just stealing the train? I thought we were going all the way there incognito -"
Harriet: "No we should totally steal the train, can you imagine how cool driving this thing would be?"
Hughbert holds a finger up… He peeks out one window, then another, then out the window on the cabin door, then back to his watch, before saying, "However we're planning on getting this thing running, do it quickly. Who do you need in the conductors' cabin?"
The train shudders
Amal: "Ahahahaha, nobody. In fact, make sure nobody's driving the train for me? Watch -this- manouevre." And they extend their arms, like they're conducting an orchestra - the faint, shimmering glow of rainbow wings rises around their body.
Serenity: "Wait I thought making machines do shit was my thing??"
Harriet: "Nope, they're gonna do a thing."
A breeze blows in from the outside, a scattering of petals follows as the train shudders again- And it begins to inch slightly
Amal grins like an idiot and can't believe this is working.
Serenity: "Oh my Goddess at least let me turn the engine on you're going to break something you idiot."
Serenity‘ gives a loud sigh before turning her head in the direction of the engine and mumbling under her breath,
Amal: "Naw, we’ve got this-" -one arm pointed up, one towards the engine, fingers twitching. As above, so below. [-1 LP]
Hughbert: "Get an eyeful for me, would you?" He taps someone's shoulder on the way out of the cabin, then scoots to the door. He goes to lock the exit doors, shooing away someone- was that a worker, or a passenger?- from boarding right as it lurches. "My deepest apologies, but the inspector has told me this train has failed inspection and must be brought back to the station immediately. Your tickets will be refunded in full. Thank you for choosing"
Hughbert: mumble mumble "we hope you will ride with us again."
After a second the train starts moving forward faster and faster- And something unusual happens, there's a large scattering of pure white feathers which seems to come from the engine to the back of the train, it covers your vision and gets in the way and- The train suddenly lunges forward suddenly going at maximum speed, though you barely feel the ineartia
Serenity: "The fuck."
But when you look around is when you see- As if the entirety of the interior of the passenger train had been overtaken by vines, flowering vines colored gold and silver as if it had been left in the wilds for al ong time
Serenity: "Uhhh."
Hughbert busts back into the cabin after that. "…Well, this is quite interesting."
Harriet: "Puppy Paws is having fun with this, huh?"
Amal looks like they're focusing really hard…
Should you look outside you see something rather different- It's difficult to hide the influence that the train is under as strange snaking gold and silver markings appeared at the sides of the train. The path ahead is long… But at this speed, who knows?
Serenity: "Not a fan of this whole jungle theme shit, reminds me of that time Amal had a good dream and nearly killed ys all in our sleep."
Amal: "…this is the /coolest train in the world/ right now hush your mouth-"
Harriet: "Yeah, but we're awake this time!"
Serenity: "I'm just saying."
Serenity: "Yeah I didn't know he could do this either."
Amal: "-haha neither did we but hey life's an adventure-" -they're clearly channeling healing sparkles and sending them /somewhere/.
Of very particular note as you are travelling, at around the fourtieth minute of trip, you see a rail crossing ahead… And another train coming in. Your train doesn't seems to be slowing down, and neither is the other who is bringing about twelve flat-bed cars with strange tanks with both tracks and spider-like legs)
Harriet: "Uh, hey, Amal? We've got incoming."
Serenity: "Amal please don't kill us all in a train wreck."
And at the very last moment- With neither train slowing down- It seems like they're going to crash! But your train takes a hard right at full speed, driving into what seems like a loop in the rail, and keeps going through at max speed in it which gives just exactly enough time for the other train to clear through as you finish the loop and you slingshot with no loss of speed past the crossing
Amal starts laughing a little crazily and blurring at the edges, but HEY NOBODY DIED
Serenity: "Uuuuhhhhhhhhh."
Serenity: "Okay suddenly I feel a lot better about my decision to promote Anton to car copilot rather than Amal……….."
Harriet: "Uh… are they… okay?"
Amal: "I'll be fine that just took a couple of tries to get right."
Serenity: "I can probably count the number of times I'd classify Amal as okay on one hand."
Harriet: "Yeah you're uh kinda… blurry. And, like, I haven't done a medical degree yet, haven't really had time, but I'm pretty sure people aren't supposed to do that."
Anton scratches his head. "Like, actually two or was it more?"
Serenity: "Amal isn't people."
Amal: "Oh. Heck. That'll go away."
Harriet: "Amal's basically people. You know, rounding up."
Amal giggles.
The train keeps going for a while… The sun is just starting to rise by the time something else happens- Out of nowhere, all the flowers and vines and colors on the train just vanish suddenly- And so does the train's acceleration, but not speed
Harriet: "So, the plan to stop this thing?"
Thankfully, inertia seems to be working correctly this time as the train very slowly starts to lose speed, and it goes slower and slower as the station at the far end (whose lights seem to be off) comes closer-
And with perhaps unnatural precision the train just… Comes to a full, gentle stop as it aligns itself with the station
Amal staggers away from the console they'd been bracing against and lands on a pile on the floor, oofs out "Physics!" in reaction to Harriet's question.
Harriet: "Right, yeah, okay, forgot you're good at that."
Harriet: "… are you okay?"
Amal: "Hahahaha yeah that was AMAZING."
Serenity: "Never again."
Amal: "Hahahaha yeah I think that's my one and only train hijacking but holy shit I made it a good one."
The station is silent… You are, after all, here early. The station seems like it should be mostly automated, allowing a handful of people to unload the coal cars- If you track the conveyor belts they use further down, you see they lead to gigantic, and by that I mean absolutely gigantic industrial alloying furnaces- It's quite clear they don't use the coal for fuel after all, must be part of the alloys instead as those are clearly ragnite-powered furnaces
Hughbert straightens his glasses. "Well done, Amal."
The furnaces themselves seem to output to large factories that seem to lie dormant at the moment, although the giant rolls of metal sheets indicate this is definitely a metallurgy area. It's set in deep depression in the ground, a dried out mine from the looks of it.
Harriet: "That was pretty cool, I'll have to figure out how you do that sometime."
Serenity‘ adjusts her uniform, then get up and opens the door. A couple glances to make sure the coat is clear, then heads out. "C’mon."
Harriet follows Serenity out thattaway.
JayM: Now, from the map you have, the garrison you want is around two and a half kilometers that way.
Hughbert: "I guess the passengers will just show themselves out." He follows.
JayM: Are you going to foot it or going to commit any further acts of infiltration?
Amal follows Serenity. They seem a little out of breath!
Serenity‘ is just heading out for the meeting site. No sense in sticking around and giving more people a chance to discover them and that soemthing is amiss.
On foot it is… Not like you’re unused to travel, although it does strikes you that this is the first time you've left your car behind since you first left on your adventure…
[OOC] Hughbert: I think we're going on foot. Hughbert's following Serenity with the map and providing directions
Harriet: "At least my car will be safe in Masharas."
You make your way as the sun rises… And there's definitely something different in the air… Or rather, something not different. For everywhere else you've travelled, the weather and the environ seemed so different but… Not here. Though more reminiscent of the days of winter, the weather is familiar and the plants- Whoever knew you'd notice familiarity with the flora?
Either way taking the road to the garrison or taking the wilderness path either way turns to the same end: You reach what looks like a compact fortress, definitely not designated for holding a large amount of terrain but more of a siege emplacement, if the cannons at it's top indicate anything. Given the direction they point you imagine this was once the site of of a violent takeover of another nation's terrain and this small fort the remains of a past war- Except it's well maitained and it's been modernized
Harriet: "That thing would make a fantastic doom fortress."
The reason for that, and the reason why it's so close to a metallurgy production zone, comes closer once you get closer. Seems like despite it's bombardment tools having been upgraded from their ancient state this is still mostly an R&D base where they seem to be designing and testing new tanks. Or at the very least testing them as you see the very clear testing grounds well demarcated nearby
The fort itself, due to it's size, only has limited entrances. There's the front door, of course, there's also a side garage that leads to the testing grounds. You also notice a tiny river running by… And there's a pipe in it, though it's grated and seems like protected by a barrier field from the inside
Serenity‘ glances at the fort, glances at Hughbert.
Hughbert: "Right. Going in the front is not an option, as we must meet in secret. Let’s take a look at the side garage. A simple knock-and-dash should determine if we can walk right in or not."
Harriet: "Sooo… what you're saying is we're gonna play ding-dong-ditch with the enemy."
Harriet: "Well, I guess there's a first time for everything."
Harriet: "This should be fun!"
Hughbert: "We should be able to gather some information based on their response. That will make getting inside easier."
Serenity‘ finds a good place to wait, and then immediately gets distracted by something else.
JayM: So, going to make a quick noise at the side garage and run off?
[OOC] Hughbert: that’s the plan!
It takes some effort to make sure you're ready for a quick escape, probably the best person for this is Anton with his flight capacity and high speeds. There appears to be a patrol on the upper floors, the moment any kind of noise is heard from outside someone pops out from a window on the second floor to look down. It takes around twenty seconds before a ground patrol shows up, two riflemen
Serenity: "…Amal do Akavirian know what morse code is?"
Amal: "I, uh… hmm."
Serenity: "I guess we'll find out if he comes outside in the next couple of minutes or not."
Hughbert: "You contacted him through his force gear… Is that it?"
Serenity: "Something like that. It's pretty easy to tell which of them is not like the others."
Serenity: "Not entirely sure if he realized what it ment of if he just thought his gear was acting up though."
It takes a while until a few more people come out…
One of them is a young man, blond hair and dressed in red, the way he speaks with broad gestures indicates a very energetic speaker and he smiles and grins as he speaks. He's accompanied by two men in rather fancy white outfits who seem positively entirely too annoyed at their jovial interlocutor
The fourth of them is a stern-looking man, short hair, red uniform with a greatsword sheathed at his belt.
Amal silently goes 'aha'.
Serenity: "If Anton wasn't worthless we could have him reverse his empathy at the guy since he brought a crowd but hmm…"
It actually takes a very long time, almost twenty minutes, until the two in white seem to finally get tired of whatever is going on and make for going back inside. The blond one in red make a wide gesture of acquiescence, following them in
Hughbert steps forward and greets him, saluting and giving his name. "I hope we didn't interrupt anything."
The stern man looks at Hughbert, he takes a deep breath "Lieautenant Hughbert?" he says in a hushed tone "We are short on time, so I hope it is you"
Amal pops up next to Hughbert. Familiar faces!
Serenity: "Finally, I was getting tired of sitting in bushes."
Hughbert: "Indeed, Major Sanger." He also keeps his voice down. "We appreciate whatever fraction of your time you're able to give us."
He looks at at Amal, and nods at him "Ah, I remember you… Apologies for the operation at the time"
Amal: "Heh. No worries."
Harriet heads on out with the others. "Yeah, I think there are twigs in my hair…"
Harriet: "Hi, Fatebreakers, fixing problems, etc etc. What's going on?"
Major Sanger: "Let's make this short, the only way we got here without supicion was accompanying the local nobles on their scheduled visit. They don't take kindly to interlopers, and I can't let them know i'm talking to you"
Major Sanger: "Couldn't trust the message wouldn't get intercepted when sent, so here" he hands Hughbert a letter "Instructions, a safer and more comfortable place to meet with a representative of ours"
Major Sanger: "One thing, however. We narrowly missed eachother in Rissan, due to a contrivance of a mutual enemy. What happened to the other officer, then? With the Silvarant Knights, I mean"
Serenity: "The weirdos with the giant truck town?"
Major Sanger: "No, the one that were… Really infatuated with our customs"
Serenity: "Oh."
Serenity: "He lost and … that was it, really?"
Sanger makes a thinking noise "Very well"
Serenity: "Honestly I have no idea. He tried to kill Hughbert and then the king slammed the fuck out of him and uh… then we left? We were kind of on a schedule."
Hughbert takes the letter and pockets it. "Right. He opposed us in the battle for the Pact Blade, but was cut down by his employer for violating the terms of his contract. He was detained afterwards." Hughbert refrains from mentioning where, for now.
Major Sanger: "Ah… Very well. Simple curiosity, I know his family."
Major Sanger: "Either way, we are running out of time, i'm not sure how much longer the prince can keep them entertained against their will"
Major Sanger: "I must be returning, we meet in two days"
Harriet: "Yeah, we'll see you there."
Hughbert nods. "We'll see you then."
Amal gives Sanger a thumbs-up.
JayM: I'd say you make an easy escape under the cover of the night- What a classical line
JayM: But it's morning
JayM: Thankfully you have two very important people covering your escape, so that's even better
JayM: As for what's in that letter, well
JayM: I'll leave you to ponder on it for now
JayM: Mostly because I didn't ponder far enough
JayM: So for tonight, that is all

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