Eyes Without A Faceearliest post first | most recent post first
There's an old Floodspace sailor's ritual, where the newest crew member brings along a new job. In this case, we're on the hunt for old dolls, haunted or unhaunted. Hopefully Junior Navigator Claira has a clue about which direction to point us through the Islands in the Sky, keep us clear of the Murk Monsters, and take us safely through the Floodspace, Mazu be praised.
Job claimed by Islardsavi 2018-11-26 08:57:17
Looking for a ship with a 35,000 gallon capacity for delivery of the Water of Life from our extraction facility in Menemquiz to our disruption facility in Knockaknocka. We will also need a return run 35,000 gallons of the Water of Life from our extraction facility in Knockaknocka to our distribution facility in Menemquiz.
Payment is 500 gallons of the Water of Life.
I am writing to formally accept the job upon the airship 'Eyes Without A Face'.
This is a very exciting opportunity for me, and I hope I can add something new to the crew.
Job claimed by Claira 2018-10-23 00:19:16
I need some dolls from the Victorian era, Edwardian is acceptable but not ideal. I would like at least three, and will accept up to seven.
Haunted or unhaunted, doesn't matter.
Please drop them by one of the two oak trees behind 11 Southern road, Mentone, Victoria, Australia.
Thank you for your business.
I will be waiting.
“Pings ninety thousand clicks and closing, mam.”
“Steady as she goes, Ms. Mate.”
Everybody’s heard of the Murk Monsters. Since the time we were little. The idea that enormous, slimy intelligences haunt the Murk between the islands and the island stars has been used as an existential threat to children everywhere for millennia, taking root in our oldest myths and bedtime stories. But never in actual recorded history has an island been attacked, and when you run across the Monsters in the Murk they’re always more scared of you than you are of them.
“Thirty three thousand clicks, your honor.”
“Keep it steady, Mr. Fruitybumps. And call me Gene.”
They might not be terribly aggressive, but it is true they are enormous.
“Alrighty, number one, let’s light her up with the LIDAR. Full sensor sweeps, don’t forget to correct for the gravitational refraction. We don’t want to have trash another dataset.”
“Yes sir. Jeesh.”
Even at this distance, the individual Murk Monsters are truly enormous. The screen quickly becomes full of a constellation of points, which becomes a connect the dots of green lines, then wireframes. Looks like we’ve encountered a small family group. Or whatever they call their little herds.
“Look at that serrated tentacle. That one must be Flossie!”
“Leave the identification to the eggheads in exo, sailor. Just take the readings and keep moving. Not too close though—don’t want to scare them off.”
I’ve seen Island moons smaller than these guys.
“Batten down that hatch engineer!!!!”
Floodspace exploded above my head, but before the Engineer General even started yelling I was already securing the portal. Why do we even have portals on this vessel if we can only open them in port?
“I guess that’s why they call ‘em PORTals, innit?” says Bunky, my roommate.
It’s all good, I figure. Any chance to get off my little island and navigating the Floodspace between the stars is right by me. That murky muck between the planets was put there for engineers and sailors like me to navigate the depths between, and if it doesn’t get in your hair now and then then you’re not really living the Floodspace sailor’s life then are you?
Orin was seated cross-legged in the rubble, beams of light radiating from his head. With his hands he made complicated finger gestures, mudrâs of unknown derivation, perhaps operating some complicated invisible dashboard. His former captors--the men from the black van--lay crumpled in different shapes of supplication all around him.
Our ragtag fleet of mismatched toys slowly maneuvered up to his perimeter.
"Orin! Over here!"
"Orin--hey boy! What's up?"
Orin looked at us and smiled.
Then he remade the universe.
Orin has a tremendous rage. We'd never seen that in him before. He was always such a good boy, never had tantrums at home. But here he gutted most of a building... with some kind of shockwave.
Equally alarming was discovering that all the tiny vehicles in this scientific toy museum were manned! As we were digging ourselves out of the rubble, we discovered the crew to the steamship we took shelter behind. They're a crew like any other, but have had long experience in this land of giants.
It turns out each of these specimens--the steamship, the jet, the limo, the biplane, the UFO, and we keep digging out more--were once Orin's toys. Each crewmember of every vehicle told us the same story, of being lost and finding themselves in the park and being taken home by Orin. Most had handled it the same way we had, by making allies with Orin and getting the lay of the land before they made their next move. But in every case, they were taken from Orin by this shadowy group and placed in this warehouse lab. Initially they enticed him with treats or toys of tremendous interest, but lately he'd been becoming more recalcitrant. Apparently he had had enough.
So, not only does Orin possess tremendous destructive ability, he also seems to have a knack for attracting artifacts in the form of real vehicles from other dimensions that have a natively smaller physical structure. Go figure.
We've lead the motley crew of surviving toys out of the building's wreckage and to an abandoned shed nearby. Now we're leading the biplane and the lear jet on a mission to find out what happened to Orin. We sure do hope that little tyke's OK.
After having to wind up the spring-powered engine a few times, we finally spotted the black van. It was parked in front of an abandoned-looking warehouse in the industrial district, and we were able to slip in through a window open just a crack. The building seemed dark, but as we explored deeper into the maze of hallways and rooms we found signs of habitation. It was a room lined with shelves of specimens in jars, each one gently lit with its own tiny spotlight. But these weren't butterflies or orchids on display. There was a tiny school bus, like a child's toy car. And a miniature RV, a very small biplane, a tiny 747, a little UFO... It was like someone's prize toys on display in a dark room with perfect lighting. But the detail on each one was far too complete to be mere toys. These specimens were just like us--real, full-size vehicles from worlds far smaller than this one. It was a collection.
"Noooooo! I wanna go home NOWWWWWWWW!"
It was Orin. We took shelter behind the mini steamship just before the walls exploded.
Orin is on his bike, pedaling down the sidewalk. We're pacing him at an altitude just over the roofs and the telephone lines. It's a little disorienting, given the fact that we're only about 3 1/2 inches long relative to this environment, so things are at once both closer and farther away than they appear. Still, we can keep him in sight with far less moving around than if we were buzzing right behind him.
Or so we thought. We'd gone slightly ahead, keeping an eye out for mad dogs and bullies, but when we pulled the ship around he was gone. Worse, we spotted his bike, laying by itself in someone's yard, front wheel still spinning, and a black van driving off in the opposite direction. Though we had no direct obligation, we couldn't but feel responsible for the little tyke, and this appeared to be some pretty serious stuff. The van wasn't exactly speeding away, and with the wind at our backs and the propellers on full we were able to just keep it in sight--till it made its way into the dark industrial side of town.