Wherein our rather unusual group of heroes congregate for the first time.
…Casenore Star System
…Aelding, the Throneworld of House Sarava
…Mount Rimidil Skyhook Station
…5041.104 (local equivalent of Friday)
Excerpt from Andrin Station Shipyard records:
“… Refit of R.E.S. Speaks Softy complete. Shipyard personnel are finishing final checks and disembarking. Captain Ni Shen Xau assumed command at 06:30 hrs. Crew loading expected to be completed by 13:00 hrs with Speaks Softly clearing dock by 18:30 hrs. Moorings clean-up and maintenance scheduled to follow…<rem> Glad this one’s off the docket, Jim, now let’s get it the hell out of here and grab some ale! <rem>"
You arrive on the throneworld of House Sarava via the Long Road, most of you traveling on public transports from other throneworlds. The skyscape of changes abruptly, giving way to the brilliant night sky of Aelding as the vehicle passes through one of the Road’s portals, and the dark silhouettes of tall mountains, brightly lit eyries at their peaks, replace your view out the window. You leave the transport at the next stop and catch a public rail to Mount Rimidil Skyhook Station, on the equator. Mt. Rimidil is the highest peak at that latitude, reaching upwards to the bright moving lights in the dark field above. From its summit, a thin thread of gleaming black shoots straight into the sky, hundreds of tiny lights crawling up and down its length until it pierces the shining oval of the cloud city of Vespar, miles above. As the train climbs up the mountain the far off aircraft and gleaming silver hides that surround the city like a cloud of sparkling midges flash pink and red as they catch the first rays of a sunrise that is still hours away for the ground-bound in the valleys below. The dark thread continues on, rising from the top of the suspended metropolis, still crawling with tiny lights, up and up into the lightening blackness above, where it finally disappears into a tiny bright point from which a glittering filigree extends in all directions, as if to mark your destination – Andrin Station. As the train nears the summit of the mountain, the sprawling ground station of the Skyhook grows, as does the black ‘thread’ rising to infinity, finally revealing itself as a huge, one-hundred foot thick cable of bundled nano-carbon fiber, every single inch covered with gleaming, faintly luminescent runic etchings. The tiny crawling lights now resolve into massive, thirty-ton elevators, screaming up and down the length of the impossibly massive column, rocketing upwards at perhaps four or five gees. Following one up with your eyes as it launches, it seems to slow and shrink as it’s bulk and speed is diminished, made inconsequential by the sheer size of the towering, insane black rope to the sky that it dares to climb. Every citizen of the empire knows that the silver dragons of House Sarava possess immense wealth and power, but this entire construct – the mountain, the skyhook, the floating capital city, the sprawling, gigantic shipyards in geosynchronous orbit above – all of it is just one poignant, and very pointed statement as to the phenomenal scale of that wealth and power. It says, with magnificent eloquence, “Don’t fuck with us.”
Pressed by a brisk and seemingly overly eager Port Authority, the crew, both new and old, of the RES Speaks Softly board and take possession of the vessel. Working together, they are able to meet the ambitious loading and departure schedule imposed upon them with only a few issues. The captain tests his new executive officer and puts the screws to his team, and the ship detaches from dock on time. Because of the extensive upgrades and changes to the Speaks Softly, he chooses to set a leisurely course to the edge of the Casenore system so that the crew has time to settle in, calibrate systems and shake out any bugs. The crew and some of the science team meet and mix that evening in the lounge to mingle and bond over the latest regional X-Crawl competition. Quarters are assigned and after a bout of poison ivy passes through some of the personnel, adjustments to the biology lab are made. The ship is performing well and system checks are nearly complete – but still no sign of the mysterious ‘Political Officer’ The command staff appear less than heart broken by this.