A visit to Davaar Manor
Here is the next part of the serialized tale from our role play group "The Messdeck".
You can start from the beginning here.
Previously Lt Cmdr Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe and the crew of the aged cargo airship HMAS Doris are on their way to the Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow in the dead of winter. During a very cold night tied up to a docking tower at York, Max is visited by an old acquaintance, a Lt Barbesly, who tells Max about the events surrounding the precipitous departure of the HMAS Velvet Brush from Esquimalt two years before. Lt Barbesly now works for the formidable head of the Royal Navy's Intelligence service Fleet Admiral Avis Chicheley. Continuing on their journey North Max takes the Doris on an un-authorised side trip to visit the home of the Velvet Brush's medical officer Christine Pearse the Duchess of Argylle.
*It is late in a bright but frigid winter afternoon and The HMAS Doris is approaching Davaar Manor, the home of Dr Christine Pearse, and her husband the missing scientist and inventor the Duke of Argylle.*
Max at the wheel keeps his eyes fixed on the looming Manor. "Hold her elevation steady at 200' I'll get a feel for the surface winds as we pass"
"Aye Sir." Sgt Fraser is at the elevator controls beside him watches the angle and the elevation closely.
"Hmmm, no sign of any winds, none of the chimney smoke is moving, should be good to go. We will do a pass then line up on the courtyard. It will be a tight fit."
"Aye aye Sir!"
*As the old airship slowly passes over Davaar, Max eyes the courtyard looking for anything that might cause problems with landing.*
"Looks a lot different than the last time we was here eh Sgt?"
"Aye Sir it do indeed."
*The Navigator and Miss BB come out of their cabin and watch the manor passing below.*
"My compliments Lt Belava, your navigation was superb."
"Thank you Sir!"
"Any messages from the manor Lt?" Max asks Miss BB as she stretches out over the window sill to look down into the courtyard.
"Oooh looks nice, much better without all that smoke! Um, yes Sir, The Doctor says 'Welcome back exclamation point' Sir."
"Thank you Lt. Right, let us go down and see how the good Doctor is faring shall we?"
"Aye aye Sir!"
*Max sets the telegraph to engine stop and begins to vent hydrogen slowly to let the airships settle. As the Doris lowly begins to drop towards the courtyard of the Manor Max can see the Duchess and her mechanical butler Mr Gears waiting by the doorway.*
I hope we don't scratch up all that nice new paint!
Fraser calls out the elevation "40 feet, 30 feet, 20 feet, 10 feet". The old Doris inches lower, the roof of the Manor rising beneath them until it is even with the airship's envelope. "Contact Sir!"
*Max sets the telegraph to finished with engine and the Doris settles down with a slight creaking nestled neatly in the courtyard.*
"And that is that! Secure from flight stations and let us go ashore."
"Secure from flight stations aye Sir!"
Any landing you can walk away from Max me lad, any landing...
(Continued below the break)
 After a sabotage attempt on the HMAS Velvet Brush while in the airdock at Portsmouth, Doctor Pearse returned to her Manor at Davaar. The manor was attacked by a band of mechanically enhanced mercenaries attempting to acquire the secret research of the Doctor's husband the Duke. Max took the ship's Marines and other members of the crew North on a "private" rescue mission. The ensuing battle, while successful in repelling the mercenaries, left the manor severely damaged.
What follows is s slightly edited transcript of the role playing we did for our visit to the Manor at Davaar.
This should give you a feel for the pace of role play in our group!
BB grabs her bag of stuff and lines up getting ready to get out.
*Sgt Fraser and Cpl Cooke grab some gloves and jump out the hatch to secure the ropes of the ship*
Max calls through the voice tube to the engine car, "That's it lads tie off her tail and come forward." A tinny "Aye aye Sir" comes back.
BB says, "Oooo I hope there is tea. It would be good to have tea."
*Wrapping her shawl tightly around her to ward off the cold, Christine approaches the airship, waiting for everyone to disembark*
As Fraser and Cooke work they each look around. "A lot calmer then last time eh Sergeant?"
Sgt Fraser chuckles. "Indeed Corporal indeed, all the same, make sure your side arm is with you lad...."
Cooke nods. "Aye Aye Sarge." and finishes tying one of the ropes to a metal spike in the ground.
Miss BB starts to wave. "Oh, there's the Doctor."
*Christine smiles up at BB and waves back*
Max laboriously climbs down, his bad leg making it difficult to maneuver on the rope ladder, "Ah Your Grace, a pleasure to see you again ma'am!"
Grinning broadly Christine steps forward. "Ah, Mr. MacDonald-Smythe, it's a pleasure to see you all as well. I hope you haven't had too horrible of a journey?"
"It was might chilly Ma'am but the old Doris still has a few miles left in her."
When it is her turn, BB starts down the ladder. "My oh my I hate this climbing up and down and up and down. These woolen bloomers chafe something awful."
Cooke chuckles at Miss BB. "You get two options in the navy Lt. warm or comfortable your choice"
*A few footmen appear to take any baggage the new arrivals might have. When they try to take BB's bag she holds on tight.*
Christine says, "Well, let's get out of this cold and warm up, shall we? I've arranged for tea, so you can thaw out and eat something that hasn't come from a tin."
Sgt Fraser Grins. "Real food?" He looks at Max and laughs. "Do we have to leave sir?"
Max grins. "Not for a while Sgt at least till we get the ice out of our hair eh?"
Iveta appears and puts her bag over her shoulder and swings herself over the side, dropping to the ground like a cat. "Good to see you, Doctor!"
Christine smiles at Iveta. "It's a pleasure to see you as well."
Watkins and Simpson come up from astern after tying down the tail to stakes. "So this is where all that action was eh Simpson?"
"Aye John we was all over, on the roof and down here, and that great bird of Madame's was flapping up, it were awesome."
Watkins rolls his eyes. "Nothing like a good adventure story eh?"
"But it were true John you can see!"
Miss BB chimes in, "And there were wolves and rats and bugs and all sorts of stuff. It was wonderful."
Christine turns towards the door. "Now, gentlemen, if you would care to carry on inside, you'll get to see more of where all that 'excitement' and adventure took place. I did leave the odd bullet hole in the wood paneling."
Max grins. "With pleasure Ma'am, nice to do it without charging full tilt this time."
When the footmen go to help Sgt Fraser and Cpl Cooke with a trunk they are off loading Fraser warns them away. "Sorry lads, this one is not to be touched.....in case of emergencies..."
As Christine leads them into the Manor Miss BB exclaims, "Oh look, they have lectricity now. Ooooo."
*Inside, Mr Gears appears, a slight ticking sound signalling his arrival. He politely nods at each person and politely asks if he could take their coats and hats*
BB hugs Mr. Gears. "I'm glad your arm is back on."
*Fraser hands his coat and hat over as does Cooke*
Cooke chuckles. "It was a sight to see Watkins, Briggs was running all over the place laughing like a mad man"
Max nods remembering the battle with the mercenaries. "Needless to say I weren't doing any running, more like rapid shuffling, heh"
Iveta hands Mr Gears her coat and hat, and takes a moment to admire the beauty of the manor. "I'm glad I can look without fearing for my life, Doctor. Your home is lovely and thank you for your hospitality."
Christine orders Mr Gears to bring in the tea and turning to the assembled crew says, "You must all be nearly frozen! What a terrible way to travel. What on earth is so important that you have to travel this time of year at such altitudes to such a place as the Scapa Flow? Or are you not at liberty to say?"
"It's not a secret as wouldn't be able to tell you ma'am." says Max. "We are on our way to do some testing of the Chirper, that device Simpson and Watkins built while we were in Africa. Seems the EAD thinks it could be useful."
Watkins shakes his head. "But why they feel we should do the testing in the middle of the bloody winter is beyond me"
Sgt Fraser grins at the doctor. "I just go where the navy tells me to Ma'am."
Miss BB nods. "Me too. But I am glad they told me to come here. It is wonderful to see you again. We miss you. Maybe Chirpers work better in the cold?"
Cpl Cooke looks up from inspecting a bullet hole. "That's easy Watkins, we was having too much fun earlier."
Christine leads everyone into the parlour. She grins at the Sgt. "Typical Navy eh Sgt. Major? Please, make yourself comfortable. We aren't going to stand around on ceremony here."
*Several pots of steaming hot tea and plates of meat pies, sandwiches, pastries and other goodies are on tables around the parlour*
Sgt Fraser heads for the tea, Cooke to the meat pies. "Sorry Doctor it's just Sergeant, Sgt Major Briggs is...on leave elsewhere."
"Will you be able to stay the night? I have room enough for everyone and I'm sure you'll find things here to be slightly more pleasant than on board the airship. I'm sure the Doris lacks a Bubble Bath room."
Everybody looks expectantly at Max who makes everybody wait a couple of seconds before smiling. "That would be wonderful Ma'am if we wouldn't be an inconvenience"
"It would be my pleasure." Christine pulls the bell pull and when Mr. Gears appears, she gives him orders on which rooms to ready for the crew.
*As the crew visibly relaxes they reach for the cakes and meat pies.*
Miss BB positively coos. "Ooooo, to sleep in a real bed. oooooo."
*Iveta takes a cup of hot tea and settles on a large comfortable chair from which to listen to the conversation. She does, however, make a quick movement to acquire a cake, seeing that she may not have another opportunity.*
Sgt Fraser takes a rather large gulp of tea, then starts eyeing up the food. "Real food and real beds... I like this mission so far."
Max, puts a big slice of steaming hot meat pie on a plate and says, "Well you know what they say Sgt, about counting chickens?"
"Aye Sir I do." says the Marine with a wry smile.
Part VI is here.
 The "secured storage" area of the HMAS Velvet Brush was converted to a bath room for the use of the crew. The ladies dubbed it the "Bubble Bath Room" much to the consternation of the Captain.