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Author Topic: Colonel Hazard's Travel Log  (Read 2077 times)
Col. Adrianna Hazard
Canada Canada

A Most Improper Victorian Lady

« on: April 15, 2007, 01:57:52 am »

We have been in the air eight days now, and expect to reach the target ship by mid-day tomorrow. Within its cargo hold is at least $5000 of cocoa, along with other valuable imports from South America. It should be a profitable venture, so long as we sustain no major injuries. The trip thus far has been uneventful, and it is expected to be a routine raid. The crew of –

Adrianna Hazard was startled by a knock at the cabin door, and put down her leather-bound notebook. From outside the room, her first mate Henry said loudly “The target is in sight, fifteen hours before the predicted interception”.

Adrianna stood up slowly, pondering her earlier calculations. Perhaps the navigation equipment needed maintenance, she thought. Exiting the captain’s cabin office, she stepped onto the deck of her beloved airship, Perennial Fortune, where her small crew of four former street rats was busy preparing for the attack. Colonel Hazard took her weapon, an old pistol from her days in the service, out of her belt and inspected it. Still in perfect working order, she thought, rubbing some grime from the barrel of the gun. Placing the pistol back in her belt, Adrianna climbed the stairs to the upper deck where she manned the steering wheel.

“Five minutes to first assault!” She cried out, watching Timothy go below deck to load the cannons. Henry was busy attaching metal sheets to the railing of the deck to protect the crew from enemy fire, while Edward and William examined their weapons.

“Ready to fire,” Henry relayed the message from Timothy, and Colonel Hazard began the ships descent. About ten metres above the target, Colonel Hazard banked Perennial Fortune sharply and the first barrage of cannon balls flew. One flew through the boat, inflicting relatively serious damage to the hull. Another whacked through the deck, killing at least one man but only doing minor damage to the boat. The last canon ball missed entirely, but made a grand splash near the boat, soaking half the deck.

The crew of the target ship, though thrown into a state of confusion, began to retaliate. One man opened a crate on deck and began handing out rifles to the others. The first shots were fired by Edward, William and Henry, who had taken their positions along the metal sheet-covered railings of Perennial Fortune’s deck. They each took down a man, and then ducked behind the makeshift shielding as the enemy fired back. Colonel Hazard brought the airship down a few metres more, so that it just hovered above the canon fire range of the target ship. Henry lowered the gangway while Edward and William covered him, managing to kill a few more of the rival crew. Timothy ran up from below deck, toting a large rifle, took a shot at the ship, and then made his way to the upper deck.

“Good firing, Timothy,” Adrianna complimented the boy, who took the steering wheel from her. The colonel did up a boot lace that had come undone, and then ran over to the gangway to join the infiltration.

About half of the visible crew was already injured or dead, lying in puddles of their own crimson blood, which mixed with the water on the deck, forming a ruddy mess. William had remained on board to man the gangway, but Henry and Edward had charged straight into the fray. The three comrades walked the deck, ending confrontations with loud shots to the heads and chests of their adversaries. Adrianna ducked behind a crate to avoid fire from a particularly skillful soldier, crawled a few feet over, stood up and took a shot. Nothing happened to the enemy, but she felt a sickly recoil in her own weapon. Damn, she thought, the gun had jammed! Just before the sharp shooter squeezed his trigger, large portions of his skull flew away, his eyes glazed over, and Henry crossed the deck towards Adrianna.

“Thank you Henry,” she said gratefully. “Had it not been for you, I fear that would have been my end.”

“No gratitude necessary, captain,” said the young man with a smile, handing her a pistol pried from one of the deceased. “It’s not like you haven’t done the same for me.”

The two were interrupted by the sound of Edward’s scream. Adrianna whipped around, and hit the aggressor square in the chest with her newly acquired weapon. She then ran over to her injured crew member, who had squatted down on the deck. Henry continued the fight on his own, shooting two men right away.

“Let’s see the wound, Edward,” said Adrianna calmly, observing the blood staining his pants.

He rolled up the pant leg, trying to show as little of the pain as possible, but his eyes were getting misty and his jaw was clenched. Adrianna gently examined the injury and then tore a clean strip from the shirt of a nearby corpse. She wrapped it tight around the wound and tied the ends together.

“It doesn’t appear to be serious; the shot went clean through the top layer of skin and muscle,” she diagnosed. “It’s superficial; you’ll heal up quickly and with no permanent damage. Now head back to Perennial Fortune, and get William down here to help us.” She patted the boy on the back and helped him stand up.

“Thanks,” he said, roughly rubbing his eyes and limping back over to the gangway.

The colonel then brought her attention back to the task at hand. Henry had done away with the last of the crew on deck and was rifling through their pockets, placing money and weapons into his utility belt. William came down to help, and soon enough all three had full pockets. Colonel Hazard crossed the deck and picked a lovely looking rapier from the hand of a dead man. This would be a lovely piece to commemorate such a successful raid, she thought, taking it with her as she came to the stairs leading below deck, where the real payoff was stored.

“I daresay we took care of the bastards,” she said loudly and triumphantly to the crew, brandishing her new sword. “I’m going to scout out the cargo hold, but I doubt there will be anyone left down there. It looked like they all flooded out during the fight to defend their ship. Check the cabins for cooks and women. Don’t kill them, though. There would be no point to such inhumane action.”

After instructing her crew members, Hazard descended the wooden stairs to the dark hold below. Wandering between barrels and crates of the precious cocoa she had come for, the colonel found her eyes adjusting to the lantern light after being out in the bright sun. It was this that caused her to react slowly as a figure stepped from behind a crate, confronting her with a gun raised. Startled, Adrianna surveyed the enemy, who hesitated to fire. He was still a boy, no older than Timothy, who was her youngest crew member at the tender age of seventeen. With a facial expression reminiscent of burnished metal, the boy stared at her, but a look of confusion quickly wiped away his steely resolve.

“But, you are only a woman…” he quietly mused.

Colonel Hazard took this opportunity; the boy had let his guard down. She whacked the flat blade across the back of the boy’s hand, causing him to yelp in pain and drop the gun, which she kicked away.

“Why should that make any difference to my ability?” Adrianna replied. “Do not make the mistake of under estimating a woman again,” she said, holding the tip of the rapier to his throat. “Don’t do anything you might regret, either. You are probably the only one left on this ship with any knowledge of how to take it back to shore, and so anybody left alive will be counting on you to get them safely home.”

The boy did not reply. Only the slightest twitch of his brow and quiver of his lip indicated that he had heard the colonel. She ordered him up the stairs, where she forced him up the gangway of Perennial Fortune. He would remain under watch there until William, Henry and she had loaded the last of the cargo onto the ship. They began work immediately, using the old pulley system on the deck of the boat to hoist crates and barrels of exported goods onto Perennial Fortune.

At dusk, with the work completed, the three pirates returned to their ship ready for rest. Adrianna dismissed the boy, praising his bravery and explaining the best route to sail home by. After he had crossed the gangway, she lifted it up again. He turned and stared directly into her eyes, as if to say “you will not get away with this”, then descended into the depths of the ship. Adrianna chuckled to herself as she wandered back to the crew cabin, where Edward, having sterilized and bandaged his leg, was sleeping soundly. Henry and William had just hopped into bed, and said goodnight to Adrianna when she entered. Collapsing onto her bunk, Colonel Hazard fell asleep to the swaying of her airship as Timothy guided it back towards the Port City of Salvage.

It took me long enough to finally write up the adventures of Colonel Hazard and her crew upon leaving Salvage! Things seem to be pretty quiet on the Portrayal board lately, so I hope that a new story line can be started up upon Adrianna's return to the port city.
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