Chapter 1: Calm Before The Storm

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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:23 am

Brunch was nearly finished, and a few passengers had already pushed back from the tables; a few, including the young Italian couple, had drifted away from the lounge entirely. One of the stewards, whose name was Greaves (according to his nametag) approached Artie. "You are Mister Arthur Evans, aren't you?" he asked. As Artie nodded assent, he continued, "Very good. We stewards have been discussing the matter, and we feel that we can move that table," pointing at the table where the Italian couple had been sitting, "and set up your piano. We have few enough passengers aboard that we think we can just leave it set up all the time. Is this acceptable to you, sir?"
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:15 am

Meanwhile, at the next table Dr. Burton had paused to take a breath, and Baron Von Malum took the opportunity to speak. "Didn't you say just a moment ago that you had brought some of the antiquities with you?"

"Why, yes," replied Dr. Burton. "Most of the items are aboard a steamship bound for Washington, but I did bring a few of the most interesting pieces with me."

"Tell him about the Totem," said Catherine. Will could practically hear the capital letter on the word.

"Ah, the Mondabe Totem," replied Dr. Burton. "It's a truly strange piece. I could describe it to you, but perhaps the best thing would be to show you. Excuse me," he continued, turning toward one of the stewards, "would it be possible for me to get something from my trunk in the cargo hold?"

"Certainly, sir," replied Mr. Greaves. "I'll have to go with you, of course, as passengers are not permitted on B deck without an escort. We can go now if you like."

Dr. Burton stood up, saying "I'll be right back" as he did so, and left the lounge with Mr. Greaves.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:27 am

"Absolutely," replies Artie to the Greaves' question. "I couldn't imagine anything better. You can assure the skipper that morale on this boat'll improve 500% if there's a piano to be reached at all times," he adds smiling (but quite seriously).

Leaning over to Lily, Artie says, "I'm going to check out the piano. Let me know when you'd like to get together to talk about your repertoire for tonight."

Artie excuses himself, shaking hands with Falco and Vance, and wanders over where the stewards are lowering the piano. He takes some interest in the mechanism, but he's no engineer, and if truth be told all he's thinking about is getting his hands on the keys.

When the piano's down, he slides onto the bench and begins gently touching the keys, just enough to hear the notes over the hum of post-prandial conversation.

Image

If the piano's in tune, and the mood feels right, Artie begins to sketch out some well-known slow but jaunty standards, mostly song tunes: the Gershwin brothers' "The Man I Love" and "Lady Be Good" (not the boogie woogie version, but more lyrically like this), and Johnny Greens' "Body and Soul".

OOC: Alright you guys, no hiding guns, ammo clips, grenades, or stolen property in the piano. :) Or if you do, make sure it doesn't interfere with the action!
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:56 pm

"I'm sorry, sir, it seems I must help Doctor Burton. Mister Brandon, over here, please!" Another steward, this one wearing "Brandon" on his nametag, came immediately. "Help Mister Evans, here, get his piano set up, please. I must go below a few moments."

"Yes, sir. Mister Evans, it's a pleasure to meet you." Shaking Artie's hand, Brandon led him to the aft-portside corner of the lounge, where the kitchen staff had already cleared away the table and moved it aside. The piano was leaning against the aft wall, held in place with a canvas strap and buckle. "Give me a hand here, would you?" Artie was worried about the weight of the all-metal piano, but was surprised at how light it was. The "folding" mechanism was really nothing more than legs that folded up against the bottom, much like a card table (though distinctly sturdier).

When the piano was upright, Brandon seemingly disappeared. Trying the piano out, Artie found that it felt a little different than he was used to; the keys, it seemed, were hollow, and therefore quite a bit lighter than he preferred. The piano itself sounded somehow a bit different, not really like a wood-boxed piano, but it was well-tuned, and after some practice he found it entirely serviceable.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:34 pm

Will leans over with a smile and asks Catherine, "so what can you tell us about this Mondabe Totem," taking special effort to pronounce it correctly, "before your father gets back?" He makes a note to later try and find where the 'more important' passengers' rooms were. Shouldn't be too difficult as it looked like all the rooms (minus the crews) were on this deck. Especially the folks who had sat at either hand of the captain - especially the American in the tailored suit. There'd be time for that later he thought, and took on the appearance of focusing his attention on Catherine, though he maintained watch at the periphery of his vision and hearing for anything out of the ordinary, or that would be useful at a later date.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:56 pm

rredmond wrote:Will leans over with a smile and asks Catherine, "so what can you tell us about this Mondabe Totem," taking special effort to pronounce it correctly, "before your father gets back?"
"Well, not much, really," she replied, in a matter-of-fact tone. "We found it on top of a short pillar in the center of the pyramid, or mound... we really haven't decided which it was yet, you know... in a large, empty chamber. The walls of the room were all carved in relief, in a style that was sort of Egyptian, but more primitive. There were all sort of beast-headed men on the wall, a lion and a bull and, oh, all sorts of things. The lion and the bull I guess I remember best because... well, better you see for yourself." She smiled, seeming to say I have a secret; the coy look seemed out of place on such a plainly-presented woman.
rredmond wrote:He makes a note to later try and find where the 'more important' passengers' rooms were. Shouldn't be too difficult as it looked like all the rooms (minus the crews) were on this deck. Especially the folks who had sat at either hand of the captain - especially the American in the tailored suit.
This turned out to be far easier than Will had expected. As he was listening to Catherine tell about the Totem, he saw (from the corner of his eye) the gray-haired American stand up, and the Captain stood also. "It's been a busy morning, and I'm more than a bit stuffed, Captain," he said, his clear and commanding voice plainly audible to Will. "I think I'll go take a nap." Will was careful not to be noticed as the man walked across the lounge, and through the open door of the lounge Will saw him enter room number 1.
rredmond wrote:... though he maintained watch at the periphery of his vision and hearing for anything out of the ordinary, or that would be useful at a later date.
Will could easily see the slightly-built fellow setting up his piano, as Lt. Briggs had already excused himself. The Baron and Miss Emily were engaged in a conversation about stocks and bonds, as best as Will could tell. Shortly, the white-haired professorial fellow at the Captain's right stood up suddenly, obviously agitated, and stalked out of the lounge. Almost immediately, David and Violet got up from their table and walked around the bow-side of it, past the Captain; David made a point of speaking to the Frenchman and his wife.

"Phillipe, Doriane, how are you? I haven't seen you since the opening of The Crusades!"

Taking David's outstretched hand with a puzzled expression, Phillipe replied, "I am sorry, you know, I meet a great many people, and your name seems to have slipped my mind."

"David Graham, Associate Director. I worked closely with DeMille on that movie, and we met at the opening."

"Oh, yes, I do remember. And this young woman with you? Is she an actress, then?"

"Yes, that's right, this is Violet Perry. She'll be appearing in our new movie, The Plainsman; we've been on a promotional tour in Europe, but we have to get back to the studio in time for filming."

"I see," said Phillipe. "Well, bon voyage, my friend." As David and Violet turned to leave the lounge, Will noted that David seemed very self-satisfied, Violet rather starry-eyed, and the Frenchman and his wife perplexed.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:31 pm

Artie keeps playing, generally keeping the tone mellow but trying to gauge the mood of the folks still in the lounge. In between tunes he motions a steward over and asks him to place a large glass on the piano... for tips.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:10 am

Mr. Bishop was the only steward still on duty when Artie realized his need for a glass. Bishop smiled knowingly and shortly brought out a large beer mug. The lounge was about half filled at the time, mostly the people at Dr. Burton's table and the French and British couples at the Captain's table. Artie wasn't sure when Lily or Cesar had left the lounge... but there weren't many places on board where they could be. He hoped that Lily had retired to her room to rest up.
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:07 am

Lars has decided that he over spent his welcome in the cargo hold, and has moved on. He is going to try to make friends instead. As such he is going to either A) eat upstairs with the guests, or B) in the crew mess, whichever is considered appropriate. He will let the watch officer know that the lower deck checks out and he is going to eat a quick meal before working on the upper deck and the balloon itself, with permission of course. He wants to lay low, and stay out of trouble for a bit, make sure there are no hard feelings/ruffled feathers with the Stewards.

If A: Lars will change into his Whites, head to the next deck, and take in a quick meal. He will be courteous, polite, and answer questions if asked. However, he maintains a rigorous clock in order to assure that he is up and about, checking to see if there are any problems with the upper deck. if he finds none he will head up into the blimp itself and check there.

If B: Lars will eat with the crew, and make friends. He'll be friendly, a typical blue collar bloke from Manchester. Nothing at all notable. He will especially be nice towards any stewards that are eating with him. Finally, he will then put on his whites, and check the upper deck and the balloon itself for any problems.

When done his routine, he will head back towards the lower deck, report his findings, and request to get some rest before taking his watch.

Lars
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Re: Chapter I: Calm Before The Storm

Post Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:06 pm

Rosisha wrote:Lars has decided that he over spent his welcome in the cargo hold, and has moved on.
"I'm sorry, sir," said Simon Lars, hoping he looked suitably chastened. "It won't happen again."

"Well, alright then," replied Mr. Bishop. "On with you, then."
Rosisha wrote:He is going to try to make friends instead. As such he is going to either A) eat upstairs with the guests, or B) in the crew mess, whichever is considered appropriate.
In the corridor, Lars encountered Chief Engineer Green. "Lars, son, is everything shipshape then?"

"Yes, sir," replied Lars. "I've completed my inspection of B deck, and everything looks good. If it's quite alright, I'd like to grab a bite to eat before changing to inspect A deck and the envelope."

"I've already inspected A deck," replied Green. "Wait until your watch, don't disturb the passengers. This silly inspection regimen is required only because this is the first flight. Trust me, son, this ship has already been inspected six ways to Sunday, there's not a thing going to go wrong with it."

"Very well, sir," replied Lars. "Perhaps I'll change and mingle with the passengers then."

"Lord, son, Bishop just told me it's crowded up there. I'm going to stop by the kitchen myself, see what they have left, probably eat a bite in the crew mess. Why don't you join me?"

"After you, sir." Lars followed Green into the kitchen. The three cooks were obviously rather busy, but seeing the relative uncleanliness of the two engineers, they quickly served up two plates of American-style bacon, eggs, and potatoes, and shooed them out.

In the crew mess, there were just two seats left at the table, which was arranged to serve up to six at a time. Green sat first, of course, sitting between Lusk and Neville. Lars took the only remaining seat, between Neville and Mansel; the remaining seat was occupied by the radio man, Markwell, who was eating as if he had not eaten in months. "Lord, Mister Markwell, don't eat so fast," said Green, "you'll do yourself harm."

"No time," replied Markwell, talking around a mouthful of hash browns. Swallowing, he continued, "The passengers are already filling my desk with telegrams to send. Monday's coded messages to his business manager and Miss Emily's stock trades would keep me busy enough by themselves." Picking up his plate and glass, Markwell stood up. "I've got to get back while I can still get into the radio room."

"So how are you getting on, Mister Lars?" asked Neville. "Seems I heard the Head Steward lining you out in the corridor."

As he considered his next words, Lars noted that Mansel looked about as sullen as he'd yet seen him. He wondered what his problem was.
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