Role Play Serial Story from the Messdeck Part VII

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Here is the next part of the serialized tale from our role play group "The Messdeck".

You can start from the beginning here.
 Previously Max and his crew aboard the aged HMAS Doris have arrived at Davaar, the manor of Doctor Christine Pearse, the Duchess of Argylle. They are on their way to the remote Naval Airship base at Scapa Flow. Christine was the the medical officer aboard their previous ship, the experimental HMAS Velvet Brush. The journey north in the dead of Winter has been exceedingly cold and Max and his crew are enjoying the cozy hospitality of their shipmate.

The evening has been progressing with much laughter and good cheer.

All is not as quiet as it appears however...
Frozen Sky
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part VII
Collected and edited by Kevin Jepson 
What follows is a slightly edited transcript of the role playing we did for our visit to the Manor at Davaar.
Max and his crew are relaxing in the spacious parlor of the manor. The good food, good companionship, and excellent hospitality of the good Doctor has been a welcome respite from the cold of their journey North.

Christine laughs. "Well, I suppose this new rule of "ankling" in parasol duels might bring about some prettier shoes, boots and stockings."

Sgt Fraser is now going a bit red faced. "Hmmm... maybe I need something more then tea..." he says and pulls out a flask.

Miss BB suddenly pauses in her attempt to add some shortbread cookies to the stack of food in her bag. "Do you hear that? Scratching sound? Do you? Huh?"

Max takes another drink of tea "No Lieutenant, I don't hear anything but my ears ain't anything like yours!"

Everyone stops talking and starts to listen intently. Miss BB, as the communications officer, has an acute sense of hearing so everybody takes her seriously.

"Turn on the listening device. Turn it on, on, on." says Miss BB reaching past the food into her bag and pulling out a large hardbound book.

In the silence, Iveta closes her eyes to better get a reading on the sound, turning her head slightly. "You said the rats were effectively gone, Doctor. But something is scratching. Something smaller than a rat."

Christine nods. "Yes, there haven't been any sign of the rats since we left. This must be something else. It has to be new as well, it's been as quiet as a tomb until now."

*Cooke and Fraser stop eating and listen.*

Sgt Fraser puts down his flask. "Cooke, get your gear going lad."

Cooke grabs his bag. "Aye aye Sarge."

Miss BB looks at Cooke and says, "Is it on? Do you hear? I can hear."

Cooke looks up. "I don't hear anything Ma'am, I'll know more in a minute."

Miss BB having pulled her book and a pillowcase out of her bag, scattering cookies across the rug in the process, says, "I'm going out there. Cover me."

Sgt Fraser stands and looks across at Max who standing as well says, "Carry on Sergeant go and check it out!"

Miss BB already at the door to the hallway turns and says, "Come on you sissies. Don't make me go out alone?"

Sgt Fraser half smiling says, "Aye Aye Ma'am!" and draws his side arm and heads into the hallway.

Cooke takes out a gauntlet that contains his short range signalling gear and starts to power it on.

Watkins and Simpson, watching the Marines and Miss BB, look over at Max. "What's all this Sir?"

Max says, "Seems somebody is checking up on us, best get up on the ship and make sure nothing is untoward. Keep yer eyes and ears open."

"Aye aye Sir" and they follow the big marine and Miss BB into the hallway.

Max turns to Christine. "I hope we haven't brought along more trouble to your home Ma'am. It does seem to follow us though."

"As long as it's not that wolf creature Commander, I'm sure we'll be fine." Christine rings for Mr. Gears and when he appears whispers to him directions regarding the children. He disappears, heading to the schoolroom.

Miss BB standing just outside the hallway door mumbles, "Rats, smaller than rats. scratchy things."

Looking around, Iveta spots a few flying insects, and points. "Have you seen these before? I'm sure not many insects are comfortable in this climate?"

Christine says, "It's not the right time of year for flies or moths."

Miss BB thumps her book against the wall. "Ha! Got one."

Cooke looks to where Iveta is pointing. "Bugs!? Not again!"

Miss BB picks up something from the floor and brings it to the corporal. "What do you make of this Mr. Cooke?"

"Looks like some kind of little automaton."

Sgt Fraser calls out form the hall, "All clear here sir! Going to take a peek outside."

Max trying to spot the little machines says, "Might be like them spiders in the ship while we were in Africa. Blasted spies!"

In the hovering cloaked airship, a technician mumbles, "One down, sir. They've rumbled us."

Cooke looks at the smashed bug, then sweeps his gauntlet over it. "Similar, but... different..."

"Is it dead? Did I kill it?" asks Miss BB.

"What do you make of it Corporal any signals?"

*Christine moves over to the draperies and gives them a good shake.*

Cooke picks up what's left of the little machine. "It's dead, I need to get my gear from the ship, this gauntlet is only good for a few feet."

*Miss BB takes aim at another bug, being careful not to kill it she bangs the wall with a thump and quickly grabs the bug and stuffs it in her pillowcase.*

Miss BB says "Don't go out there alone. The bugs will get you. They will go into your ears. I just know it. Cover your ears!"

Miss BB says to herself, "When he comes back we should check his ears. Then, if he is OK we should see if we can track the signals back from this not dead one."

*Outside in the courtyard Cpl Cooke scrambles aboard the Doris and grabs his backpack while Sgt Fraser goes to the trunk they had unloaded before and unlocks it, grabbing a pair of rifles.*

Miss BB looks out the window and sees the guns. "I wonder if they brought the ray gun. Maybe they will let me shoot it this time."

When Watkins and Simpson get near the ship Fraser calls out, "Over here lads!" He holds up a rifle. "Best to arm yourselves."

Watkins snickers, "That's a bit big for these critters don't ya think Sarge?"

Sgt Fraser smiles. "It's not the bugs I'm worried about, it's the ones controlling them."

Simpson looks over and laughs. "You punch any holes in those walls and I don't expect you'll be escaping any probes from the good Doctor!"

*Watkins and Simpson climb aboard the Doris.*

Miss BB examining the little machine still scrabbling inside her pillowcase. "I like the bigger ones because they are easier to thump."

Cooke climbs out of the ship with his gear. "Ready to go Sarge!"

Fraser nods, "Aye lad! Go inside and get set up, I'll keep watch out here."

*Cooke goes back into the parlor and opens his backpack. Miss BB goes over to where Cooke is setting up. She smooths down her dress and then hands him the bug. Then she pats down her hair.*

*Cooke unfolds and erects a small tripod and plugs it into his backpack with a cable. At the top there is a split forming two wires that a small arc of electricity climbs up. Inside the backpack is a complex set of wires , tubes and dials.*

He starts playing with the dials. "Scanning for frequencies now, hit what you can while I try to nail down the signal."

Iveta, catching a slight glint of metal by the window, spots a bug ducking just behind the curtain. "Doctor, I apologize in advance, but may I step on the table for a moment? I think I can reach one."

"By all means Lt!"

Iveta carefully steps up onto the table then deftly jumps up and snatches a bug off the wall behind the curtain. "Aha!"

Miss BB says, "Oooo she is so elegant all the time when she jumps like that."

"Miss Iveta, you can put it in the pillow case."

Sgt Fraser outside in the courtyard scans the area. "What I wouldn't give for Briggs's eye right now"[1]

Christine sighs, "This doesn't seem to be as big trouble as last time, just more unexpected."

"My mamma always said you should expect the unexpected" says Miss BB, "I never knew what that meant though."

Max says to Christine, "Aye, maybe not totally though. See we was moored in York the other night and an old friend came aboard. He works for Intelligence now and, well, he works for the Fleet Admiral directly. Odd that just as we get here, and off our planned course too, that this happens."

*As inaudible signals from Cooke's equipment fill the room, scattered bugs spiral down to the floor and tabletops, but more keep right on hovering. Some are landing and crawling out of sight behind picture frames and draperies.*

*Thump, thump, thump.*

"Sorry doctor." says Miss BB carefully smacking any bug she can reach.

Cooke says, "Ohh! almost got it! Don't let them skitter away!"

Miss BB says, "Grab that butterfly net. We can catch some of them that way."

*Showing plenty of ankle, Iveta lightly steps on another beautifully carved table, and with fingers fast as lightning, picks the bug from its hiding place and secures it in her hand. Stepping down, she drops the bug into BB's pillowcase.*

Max is looking over Cooke's shoulder as he manipulates the dials on his equipment. "Corporal are you able to tell how far away the controller of these critters would be?"

Cooke, fiddling with dials says, "Uhhh... not far away I think sir, possibly on or near the property?"

*Christine starts to take down pictures off of the walls to remove hiding spots.*

*Thump. Miss BB smacks a bug right where the picture used to be.*

"There ain't anywhere they could be hid on the Doris unless they can breath hydrogen." says Max.

"Did you see anything when you were outside Corporal?"

Cooke still dialing says, "No Sir, was in a bit of hurry though sir."

"I'm quite certain that whomever is in charge of these things hasn't been living here. Who was aware that you'd be stopping on your way?" asks Christine.

"Nobody Ma'am, this was strictly a private venture on my part."

Miss BB, stuffing another bug into her pillowcase says, "Maybe they were in the Magic Mushroom thing. Or maybe they were in the scarves and stuff. All the warm stuff? Oh I hope not."

On the cloaked airship flying above the manor. "That's half of them down, sir." The tech turns a few more dials. "Won't get nothing useful now."

Lt. Barbesley smiles. "Well, that'll give them something to think about at least."

In the parlor Cooke turns another dial and the electric arc speeds up, the bugs stop and fall to the ground. "Got it!"

Cooke looks up smiling, "And I wouldn't want to be listening on the other end!"

"Ooooo most excellent Mr Cooke." says Miss BB.

Max growls, "Bloody hell, Barbesley you sneaky bastard, you bugged my ship in that box of supplies!"

As the cloaked airship moves off, the technician rips his headphones from his ears, cursing.
Lt Barbesley, with a grim smile, orders, "Helm! Haul off leeward two miles and we'll release the main package."

Part VIII is here.
[1] Sgt Major Briggs has an augmented mechanical eye. 


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