Eyes Without A Face

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Grace Gearhorn 4/8/2024 10:36pm

"I don't think taking a crotchety old shopkeeper on as crew really makes a lot of sense."

"Ahem," the shopkeeper said from behind me.

"And you've let him onto the bridge without permission?" I asked.

"He's the guide we need," @Ensign Charmers said. "He really does know all about the Peckerels."

"The what?" I said.

"Weeeeeeek!" said @Claira's creature,.

"If I may, ma'am," said the crotchety old shopkeeper, "I have been overdue for a visit home, and it's no problem for me to close up my shop for a few weeks. Consider it an exchange of services -- for one-way berth to the Leeward Reaches, I will introduce you to the leading experts on the Peckerel. I take it this creature's provenance is a mystery you are interested in?"

I didn't have an argument on that one.

"Ok," I said. "Charmers, see to a cabin for...?"

"Spindels, ma'am," said the shopkeeper. "Leroy Spindels."

Ensign Charmers 12/19/2023 11:56pm

“Awww, what a cute little Peckerel," said the shopkeeper, scratching @Claira's little five-legged creature right between its three little horns. "You folks don't look like you're from the Leeward Reaches."


Claira's creature was almost purring.

"Oh, uh, no sir. We're from the far side of the Drain."

The shopkeeper looked startled, then took his off his spectacles and rubbed the lenses with his apron.

"Well then," he continued, taking a closer look at us. "Then you've been by the Leeward Reaches."

"No sir. Can't say we know where the Leeward Reaches are."

The shopkeeper looked at Claira more closely.

"Then you've meet someone from the Reaches?"

Claira looked at me with her eyebrows raised.

"Not that we know of, sir," I said. "We've never heard of these Reaches."

"Well, then, little Peckerel," he said. "You're a long way from home!"

"You know what kind of animal this is?" I asked.

"Well, yes. It's a Peckerel!" he said. "Only found on the Leeward Reaches, and don't much survive well beyond them." He looked at Claira's creature thoughtfully. "I had a dozen when I was young."

Ensign Charmers 9/5/2023 11:02pm

I didn't realize that @Claira's little five-legged creature could be such trouble.

"What do you call that kind of animal anyway?" I asked.

Claira didn't respond, but we were both huffin and puffin chasing that critter around corners and blind alleys. Pretty soon we were quite aways off the promenade, way back behind the High Street. No less busy, but packed with tiny shops all shoved on top of each other. Off the tourist track.

"Weeeeeek! Weeeek weeeeek weeeek weeeek weeeek."

And there was that ridiculous little furry horned thing. Getting its chin scratched by a local shopkeeper.

Ensign Charmers 6/5/2023 10:02pm

"Don't see a doll store yet," I mentioned to @Claira as we wandered down the promanade. "But it goes on forever. And what's below the promenade? Or above it?"


"Hey you come back here, Weeky! Gosh darn it, what the heck's gotten into that thing?"

Ypsilanti Station 2/20/2023 9:37pm

MIKTOS' YAR BAR -- fresh yar daily!

SILVERY SLIMMERS -- bespoke murksuits for the discerning diver

THE CLOCKWORK KNOCKNOCK -- finest remotes and repair

MURKSTAIN BE GONE -- murk muck removalists

BRASS TACKS -- detail and ornamentation for the 5-star set

ISLAND ASSAYER -- stake your claim

BIG ROCK MOUNTAIN -- candy kiosk

FAR DRAIN CHARTERS -- explore the frontier

HONKY'S HABERDASHERY -- top caps for top sailors

SLIPPERY BOTTOMS -- tavern and pool

Grace Gearhorn 11/16/2022 11:35pm

We all stayed on board the Eyes Without A Face well past quarantine, as a result of the enormous amount of hamburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, chicken tenders, fries & tots & deep fried nork nobs that we consumed during quarantine. It was traditional for murk ships to serve such feasts after crossing the Drain, and ship's stores had been getting mighty predictable. As we couldn't leave the ship (due to quarantine) we were unable to visit the impressive sounding Empire Builder Burgher Bar, so instead we ordered everything on the menu twice and shared it as a giant feast for the entire crew in the state room.

Now I'm afraid none of us can look at that neon hotdog the same way again.

"Weeeeeek?" @Claira's five-legged fur pig hadn't touched the food. But was ready to explore the wonders of Ypsilanti Station.

"Flouncey! Accompany @Claira and her little friend on a one-hour trip on the promenade deck. But if you find a doll shop, do NOT go in."

"Oh captain, my guts! They're twisting!"

"Fine. Ensign Charmers? What's your status?"

"Well I could stand to get away from Flouncey's farts, mam."

"You have one hour. Come back and report and we'll consider a shore leave."

Tawny T-Drops 8/23/2022 11:57pm

Ah, big explorers from the far side of the drain, is it? Is it true what I hear about Sunfish as big as blimps over on far side? And that a sailor in a deep murk suit can ride one from isle to isle?

Anyway, what'll it be, sailors? Tonight's special is the Hammy Sammy with secret sauce on a Paul Bunyan bun babe that's really boss. Strawberry banana milkshake, chocolate too. Also on the menu:

The Peacemaker
The Treatymaker
Forty-acre Undertaker
Total Waker
Salt Shaker
Slave Shafter
Whip Cracker
King Snaker
Back breaker
Meat packer
Fruit stacker
No Beggar
Trail hacker
Migrant worker
Ticket taker

And the Empire Builder Burgher Bar, where you can build your own burger, higher, and higher, and higher

What'll it be, sailors?

Grace Gearhorn 6/14/2022 11:33pm

We could see the giant neon hotdog from leagues away.

"Approaching ship, this is Ypsilanti Station, please identify yourselves, over."

Ensign Charmers nodded at me that comms were live.

"Continuous Merchant Murk Vessel Eyes Without a Face here, Ypsilanti," I replied. "We've just come 'round the drain and we could sure use a bite to eat. Over."

"Round the Drain, huh? That is quite a trip. Don't get many from the far side, here. Why don't you pull up to... portal 27, just past the big chicken face. You can order from the murkhops till you're out of quarantine. Welcome to the station. Over."

Grace Gearhorn 3/16/2022 10:28pm

"--and we should be able to ride that current out of the Drain and back to free murk."

"Make it so, Ensign Charmers," I said. "All ahead full."

Free of the purple protoplasm, we finally had the ship under control again. And not even the crushing vortex of the Drain could keep us down.

We left the Mare Tenebrarum -- and its crew of one -- as a tiny twinkle of light in the crawling murkways, as we tacked leeward from the spiral arms of the Drain, and were thus able to gain distance from the event horizon. But this was at the cost of traversing vast distances, and would ultimately arrive back in regular murkspace on the opposite side of the Drain from which we entered. So far away, in fact, no one on the crew had ever been there. All we knew of it came from questionable sources in murkpubs late at night.

"Chicken wings as big as your arm! Corndogs as big as your leg!"

But I can't help feel that we're just a pawn in someone else's game. It all started with the haunted Victorian dolls Junior Navigator Claira brought on board, along with that precocious 5-legged mammal. Since then we've been swallowed by a murk monster, abducted by a cloud of purple phosphorescent murk goo, left on the doorstep of the Drain, and given a haunted doll assassin in a box.

We'd become somebody's haunted doll delivery service. And I wanted to know who.

Grace Gearhorn 1/10/2022 11:37pm

Aya of Ieeooiai was locked in a trunk.The very one I'd been sitting on for most of the story.

"She hasn't made a sound for a very long time," said the skeleton man.

He was confident her battery had run out, but that, being a clockwork doll, she could be brought back to life.

"Why would we want to do that?" I asked. "After everything we've learned...after everything you've been through..."

"There was good in her. IS good in her, deep down inside. No one, not skeleton or water bag or haunted doll is born evil. We are all only the sum of our programming. Uberfabrik AG built her, they will know what to do."

Uberfabrik AG. It rang some kind of bell. From a history book, no doubt.

"Captain, come in." It was Junior Navigator @Claira coming over the radio. "Something's just happened with the protoplasm, sir. It's dissipating."

From the corner of the bridge's massive murkscreen, the Eyes Without a Face was just visible. And the purple plankton protoplasm was clearly oozing off and slipping back into the Murk.


"Keep your creature off the radio, @Claira. Charmers, Flouncey, make sure the lid on this trunk is secure, and let's get it aboard. We've moving out."

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