Chapter 1: Calm Before The Storm

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Solomoriah
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Chapter 1: Calm Before The Storm

Post Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:32 pm

It rained all night, but the morning dawned bright and clear over the airfield. In the Pennington Enterprises hangar, Captain Pelton held a last-minute crew meeting.

"Good morning, gentlemen. I have just a few things to go over before we embark. First let me say that I'm sorry we didn't have time to train in our proper watches; but I know most of you have military experience, so I expect you'll all get on fine. The duty roster is posted in the Crew Mess. Pay attention to it. The chain of command proceeds strictly left to right, starting with me of course, and then my leftenants here, thence through Lt. Scott and the helmsmen, the stewards, and lastly the engineers. Note that Mister Markwell is not the navigator's mate, nor a leftenant, that's an error, somebody in the front office who didn't know beans must've done that. Mr. Markwell is our radio man, and as such not in the chain of command. Neither are the kitchen staff" (and at this, several chuckles were heard, but Pelton went on as if nothing had happened) "they're under command of the stewards."

Pausing to draw breath, Captain Pelton looked at his watch. "Right, now, here's the order of the day. All watches are on duty during the boarding, which should begin in an hour or so, that is, about eight o'clock. Third watch is in charge of the bridge. Engineers, you'll perform final inspection as soon as I dismiss you. Have the engines and generator started by eight sharp.

"Now, if you aren't in the third watch, and you aren't an engineer, I expect you to be at the ready to greet our passengers. There are some very influential people boarding today, so be on your best behavior. Some of you may not have heard that Mr. Pennington won't be joining us for this trip. Says he's unavoidably detained on business. So far as I know, Mr. Monday is still planning to fly with us.

"I should give you all a thorough inspection," he says, looking at his watch again, "but I just don't have enough bloody time for it. So look each other over quickly, and then let's get our gear aboard and be about our business!"

The crew quickly checked each other's crisp new white uniforms, and began to board through the port-side B deck doorway. On the other side of the majestic Morgana, Captain Pelton and Leftenant Briggs took up their positions at the foot of the boarding stair, awaiting the arrival of the passengers.

Chief Engineer Green, a short and slightly heavyset fellow, put one arm around Simon Lars and the other around the bony shoulders of Mr. Lusk. "Okay, boys, we're on. Lusk, go straight to the engines, get 'em started. Lars, the generator is your problem. Captain wants 'em both runnin' afore eight, means we put off most o' the structural inspection until afterward. I'll inspect A deck right now, so that'll be done before there're passengers about." With that, he clapped the two junior engineers on the back, pushing them toward the portside door, then turned to walk around the aft of the gondola.

...

Artie counted his lucky stars that it wasn't still raining as he walked to the airfield. He was wearing his second-best suit (having held back his best suit for performing) and he carried all his worldly possessions in a shabby suitcase. Artie wasn't entirely happy with the arrangement, wherein he got his passage in lieu of pay; he could only hope the tips were good enough to get him passage the rest of the way home.

He didn't need a guide to tell him where to go; the Pennington hangar was pretty obvious, with the aft third of the Morgana sticking out. The twin props were turning lazily, idling he supposed. Parked on the tarmac outside the hangar, Artie saw a number of automobiles. Several were large and obviously expensive. From one slim red roadster Artie saw a dashing young man dismount; his tanned skin, dark hair, and aquiline nose marked him as being Italian.

Then Artie noticed a taxicab pulling up; a beautiful young woman stepped out of it, her platinum hair flashing in the morning sunlight. The taxi driver obligingly retrieved her single large suitcase from the trunk of the car, holding out his hand; she pulled some money from her purse and handed it to him. He responded by cursing her roundly (the kindest thing he called her was "cheap") but she ignored his foul language and turned away, struggling to carry the heavy suitcase toward the hangar.

...

Will Thornton stepped out of the car. He was running late, and he knew it (as traffic that day was bloody awful) but he was relieved to see the great blades turning only slowly, and people still entering the hangar.

"Well, have a good trip, neighbor," said the mousy fellow whose car it was. Will regretted that he could not remember his name, but then he doubted it mattered as he would likely never see him again. They had only been neighbors for a year or so, after all. Will smiled... people were always willing to help if you only asked them just right.

He got his bag from the back seat, and waving in a friendly fashion at the driver, he said "Thanks for the ride, chum." Then he turned toward the great building and began walking briskly, hoping to see either Monday or Pennington boarding. He did not see Mr. Pennington, unfortunately, and he realized as he stood looking at the people climbing the boarding staircase that he had no idea what Reginald Monday even looked like. How would one identify an American millionaire, he wondered, as he showed his papers to the steward in the crisp white uniform at the foot of the boarding stair.


AT THIS POINT, players, please feel free to fill in your intentions. Be as detailed or as brief as you wish, but remember, it's up to me to figure out how your intentions translate into results.
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Rosisha
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Re: Chapter I

Post Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:47 pm

Lars nodded and as he walked away, turned slightly and snapped off a salute to the Chief Engineer, "Aye, sir." He murmured, his gray eyes scanning the crowd, and examining the people who he would be traveling with. Smiling calmly, he turned to Lusk. "Well, if you need help with the engines, just hollah, and I'll come to your aid. I'm sure the generators will take no time at all!"

ACTIONS SIMON LARS WILL TAKE:
Stepping into the ship, Lars headed into the mechanical room with Lusk. He will go and get a tool kit, proceed to examine it, sort it, and go through other gear in the room. When Lusk leaves he will pocket his revolver into the tool kit and go into the Electrical Generation room. Here he will find a safe place to hide the revolver: PRIMARY: Hidden location behind or under the generator, not visible from even determined investigation. SECONDARY: Under the floor, inside the wall, or ceiling. FINAL HIDING POSITION (Most Desperate): Kept in the tool box, which will be marked with his name. The gun will be wrapped in a rag, preferably a dirty one, and placed into position. Time spent: 10 minutes, first thing done. Alibi: "Visual inspection of generator, mountings, etc." Which he will do while looking for a hiding space, just in case there is a problem he can point out!

Next set of actions, while checking the generators he wants to hide tools that can be used as weapons or are other wise useful. Including a hammer or crowbar in his kit to be in his bedroom. Are there knives available? Or other sharp object? If so, he will secret one of those away. He wants to get this done quickly, within 20 minutes of being alone. He will then start the generators, get them up and running completely, and make sure his hands are dirty. He will report that the generators were not fully ready to go, and further tools are missing. He will make a list and present it to the Chief engineer, and comment that the shoddy work on the generator made him give a careful inspection of the entire room for structural integrity, but thinks that Chief should go over the top carefully, and report the missing tools to the ground crew.
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Mak
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Re: Chapter I

Post Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:05 pm

Solomoriah wrote:Then Artie noticed a taxicab pulling up; a beautiful young woman stepped out of it, her platinum hair flashing in the morning sunlight. The taxi driver obligingly retrieved her single large suitcase from the trunk of the car, holding out his hand; she pulled some money from her purse and handed it to him. He responded by cursing her roundly (the kindest thing he called her was "cheap") but she ignored his foul language and turned away, struggling to carry the heavy suitcase toward the hangar.
Artie knew an opening when he saw one. He quickened his pace to catch up to the woman and fell into step beside her. "Can I give you a hand with that, ma'am?" he says with his best southern drawl, knowing from experience that English women often found it irresistible. "Looks like we're both goin' for a balloon ride today. I'm Art Evans, by the way."

ACTIONS: Artie will persist in chatting up the blonde dame even if he receives an initial rebuff. He has nothing better to do, anyway. He is gallant and playful, never louche, and sincerely interested in her story. Artie will freely share in turn his own recent history (since his arrival in England) and talks ironically of his failure to make it big in the UK. He will admit to being from the American South but will joke about Britain's favouring of the Confederacy during the Civil War and steer the conversation away from issues of race.

Once aboard, Artie will stow his suitcase and make his way to the lounge to check out the piano. He'll try to scare up a drink (Scotch, preferably) and then sit down to tinkle the ivories a bit.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:06 am

Rosisha wrote:Stepping into the ship, Lars headed into the mechanical room with Lusk. He will go and get a tool kit, proceed to examine it, sort it, and go through other gear in the room. When Lusk leaves he will pocket his revolver into the tool kit and go into the Electrical Generation room. Here he will find a safe place to hide the revolver:
Lars has already had a tour of the ship, and is thus aware that there is a lightweight aluminum housing surrounding the base of each generator; it's a matter of a moment's work to lift the housing (which is friction fitted) and slide the gun underneath.
Rosisha wrote:Next set of actions, while checking the generators he wants to hide tools that can be used as weapons or are other wise useful. Including a hammer or crowbar in his kit to be in his bedroom. Are there knives available? Or other sharp object?
A hammer and a crowbar are both readily available. The standard toolkit has two sets of shears, one for metal and one for heavy fabric, but no knives. Probably there are sharp blades aplenty in the kitchen, but the kitchen staff are already hard at work within, preparing brunch which will be served shortly after the ship reaches cruising altitude.
Rosisha wrote:He will then start the generators, get them up and running completely, and make sure his hands are dirty. He will report that the generators were not fully ready to go, and further tools are missing. He will make a list and present it to the Chief engineer, and comment that the shoddy work on the generator made him give a careful inspection of the entire room for structural integrity, but thinks that Chief should go over the top carefully, and report the missing tools to the ground crew.
Lars found Green talking to Lusk in the low-ceilinged room atop the gondola, where the fuel and water tanks are, and where the access tunnels to the forward crow's nest and aft engine room are located. Lusk said, "Number two started a bit hard, but it seems to be running fine now. Should we tell Doctor Ringstrom?"

"Let me explain something to you, Lusk," said Green, looking a bit cross. "Ringstrom designed this ship, and she's a beauty, no question, but he's not crew. We're crew. If it doesn't run right, we make it run. Now, d'you think it needs service right away?"

"No, sir," answered Lusk.

"Then we'll make do, Mr. Lusk. Now, Mr. Lars," Green said, turning, "you look like a man with something to say." Lars relates the situation (as described above) and presents the list of missing tools, which Green studies carefully. "Bloody hell," said the Chief Engineer, "there's not much time to fill in the missing tools. Good that you brought me a detailed list. I'll have to see if there are spares in the hangar. Make way, boys," he continued, moving toward the spiral staircase down.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:18 am

Mak wrote:Artie knew an opening when he saw one. He quickened his pace to catch up to the woman and fell into step beside her. "Can I give you a hand with that, ma'am?" he says with his best southern drawl, knowing from experience that English women often found it irresistible. "Looks like we're both goin' for a balloon ride today. I'm Art Evans, by the way."
"Why thank you, kind sir," she said with an unmistakable Southern U.S. accent. "I'm ever so grateful." Artie found himself straining to be charming and witty while carrying a bag that seemed loaded with lead bricks; fortunately, he was barely within the hangar when a porter appeared to take it from him.

In answer to his introduction, the young woman said "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Art. I'm Lily LeBlanc." She extended her hand, palm downward, for him to kiss.
Mak wrote:ACTIONS: Artie will persist in chatting up the blonde dame even if he receives an initial rebuff. He has nothing better to do, anyway. He is gallant and playful, never louche, and sincerely interested in her story. Artie will freely share in turn his own recent history (since his arrival in England) and talks ironically of his failure to make it big in the UK. He will admit to being from the American South but will joke about Britain's favouring of the Confederacy during the Civil War and steer the conversation away from issues of race.
"Oh, I don't know much history, I'm afraid, unless y'all are interested in New Orleans. That's where I'm from, y'know. I've been on a singing tour of England, and now I'm goin' home. Mister Pennington was so kind as to offer me a job singing on the flight; I didn't really need it, but he was just so sweet I had to do it for him. He told me there'd be a piano player aboard, but he didn't tell me his name. I do so hope he's good."
Mak wrote:Once aboard, Artie will stow his suitcase and make his way to the lounge to check out the piano. He'll try to scare up a drink (Scotch, preferably) and then sit down to tinkle the ivories a bit.
Artie is in room 16, and apparently he has it to himself. Even better, it seems Miss LeBlanc will be staying across the hall in room 15.

Entering the lounge in the company of Lily, a cold chill overcomes Artie. The room is walled on three sides with windows which slope outward, protected by an upright railing, and it's filled with tables and chairs. A man in a white uniform is arranging the last few place settings for the brunch promised in the brochure. What made Artie's blood run cold is what was missing from the room: a piano.
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Mak
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:40 am

Solomoriah wrote:"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Art. I'm Lily LeBlanc." She extended her hand, palm downward, for him to kiss.
Artie does.
Lily wrote:"Oh, I don't know much history, I'm afraid, unless y'all are interested in New Orleans. That's where I'm from, y'know. I've been on a singing tour of England, and now I'm goin' home. Mister Pennington was so kind as to offer me a job singing on the flight; I didn't really need it, but he was just so sweet I had to do it for him. He told me there'd be a piano player aboard, but he didn't tell me his name. I do so hope he's good."
"I'm your piano player, Miss LeBlanc. Whether I'm any good or not ... I guess we'll just have wait and see what kind of music we make together!"
Solomoriah wrote:What made Artie's blood run cold is what was missing from the room: a piano.
"Excuse me, Miss LeBlanc." Artie saunters over to the white-jacketed waiter. "Hey mac, any idea if there's a piano on this ship somewhere? Cuz I would've expected it to be... here."

If the waiter doesn't know of the existence of a piano, Artie asks for the captain. He will be relentless -- but charmingly so -- in getting answers. If there's no piano on board, he'll tell the captain that Mr Pennington's guests are going to be mighty put out to find that the entertainment they'd been promised isn't going to materialize.
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:19 am

Thomas, who is quite content on third watch since there will be less people awake to bother him, takes a good look at the rest of the crew at the meeting and heads off to the ship. Since he likes to keep to himself, he doesn't make an attempt to acknowledge anyone, but wants to make sure he has a visual for everyone for when he does have to talk to any of them.

He gets on the ship and takes his time to looking around as he heads to the Crew Mess to check over the duty roster before heading to the helm. Once making it to the helm, he looks over the entire cabin and checks everything over. He double checks everything and prepares himself for the upcoming takeoff. He makes sure he isn't missing anything and then sits down and relaxes until it is time for takeoff. He hates sitting there not doing anything, so he takes out his gun and checks it over while awaiting the order to takeoff.
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:53 am

Mak wrote:"Excuse me, Miss LeBlanc." Artie saunters over to the white-jacketed waiter. "Hey mac, any idea if there's a piano on this ship somewhere? Cuz I would've expected it to be... here."
The waiter smiled, straightening. "I don't blame you for missing it, sir," he said, pointing behind Artie toward the back wall. Turning, Artie recognizes the distinctive shape of a grand piano, flat up against the back wall. "It folds up, sir, to make room for the tables. When it's time for your performance, one of us will help you set it up. You'll have to talk to Mr. Bishop, the head steward, but I think the plan is for you to play solo in the afternoon, and then again after supper with Miss LeBlanc." The waiter smiled and nodded toward the attractive singer as he called her name.

Just then, several other passengers entered the room, led by the Italian playboy. Following him were two well-dressed couples, one obviously British, the other apparently French (based on their more fashionable dress as well as the accent of the man, who is speaking to the British man). The two couples, absorbed in their own conversations, ignored Artie, Lily, and the waiter, moving toward the long table nearest the bow of the gondola. The Italian playboy, on the other hand, moved directly toward Lily as if on rails.

"I am Cesar de Falco, signorina," he said, taking her hand to kiss it almost before it was offered.

She blushed slightly, and curtsied. "Lily LeBlanc, sir, and very pleased to make your acquaintance."

"The singer?" he said, sounding surprised and pleased. "It is an honor. Will I hear you sing?"

"Yes," she said, blushing again. "Tonight, it seems."

Feeling a bit awkward, Artie looks away, only to meet the penetrating stare of the Frenchman, just for a moment.
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:05 am

crazycrypt wrote:Thomas, who is quite content on third watch since there will be less people awake to bother him, takes a good look at the rest of the crew at the meeting and heads off to the ship. Since he likes to keep to himself, he doesn't make an attempt to acknowledge anyone, but wants to make sure he has a visual for everyone for when he does have to talk to any of them.

He gets on the ship and takes his time to looking around as he heads to the Crew Mess to check over the duty roster before heading to the helm. Once making it to the helm, he looks over the entire cabin and checks everything over. He double checks everything and prepares himself for the upcoming takeoff.
"Here now, Mister Mansel, don't get too comfortable at the helm," said Lt. Sullivan, presently in command of the bridge. "You won't be taking her out. We're just here because regulations require the bridge to be staffed any time there are passengers aboard. You and I will just be spectators when Captain Pelton orders Leftenant Scott to take us out."
crazycrypt wrote:... then sits down and relaxes until it is time for takeoff. He hates sitting there not doing anything, so he takes out his gun and checks it over while awaiting the order to takeoff.
"Nice pistol," said Lt. Sullivan. "I favor the Colt 45, meself. One thing the Yanks are good at is guns."
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Re: Chapter I

Post Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:05 am

Solomoriah wrote:The waiter smiled, straightening. "I don't blame you for missing it, sir," he said, pointing behind Artie toward the back wall. Turning, Artie recognizes the distinctive shape of a grand piano, flat up against the back wall. "It folds up, sir, to make room for the tables."
Artie breaths an inward sigh of relief. He laughs. "Now that's an arrangement I could've used in some of the London flats I've stayed in."
Solomoriah wrote:Just then, several other passengers entered the room, led by the Italian playboy. [...] The Italian playboy, on the other hand, moved directly toward Lily as if on rails. [...] Feeling a bit awkward, Artie looks away, only to meet the penetrating stare of the Frenchman, just for a moment.
Artie nods at the Frenchman in a friendly manner, then evades the stare by turning back to Cesar and Lily. "I'm Art Evans, ship's pianist," he says, proffering a hand to Falco. "Do you like jazz?" he asks, making small talk.
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