Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On Kurgan Appreciation, Payment, Ice-cream socials and the Crusader Fleet

Excerpt from the Memoirs of Captain Daedalus Nine-Tails

The last few months have been tough. Lots of people need transport around Kurga/Whatever-the-Kurgans-call-it and I didn’t mind the extra cash too much. I didn’t get shot at as much working the transport business…although there was that one sathraist who tried to hijack us. Truth be told I really wanted to get away from this war zone, no rich pirate worth jacking was gonna hang around ships with this much firepower, and since the guild made me a Killroy I thought it was kinda my duty to actually do something about the pirates out there…that, and I had a reputation to live up to (not that the reputation is true, mind you). But I wasn’t gonna stop coming back till I got paid. Apparently the Kurgan nobility/government or whatever jackasses that are holding this people together don’t deal in Firebirds…so the higher ups had been sending along something to reimburse me for going through with my job of fetching a lost luxury liner back and, you know, fighting off the DEMON WEILDING ANTINOMIST WHO STOLE IT. You’d think these people would have been appreciative. Let it be known that Daely and his crew never give up on a job, even if it would make a symbiot piss his pants…is that even possible? Doesn’t matter, but it is equally important that it be known that Daely doesn’t work for free. But while I waited, there was no need to put on airs and pretend I wouldn’t make money the simple old fashion way that a man with a ship makes money (and no, I don’t mean pirating). I mean picking up fares. A regular Space-Taxi. People will pay quite a bit to get out of a war zone. And the Muster aren’t shy about offering a little Alexius head, as they call it, to send their guys in either. And there was that one special case. The guy is still with me actually…basically a member of the crew at this point. Some Hawkwood noble offered me enough money to go off course and pick him up off his own private rock…I am not speaking in the vernacular here when I say rock… some mining operation, I knew it was a shitty back-water world because it had a number in the name. Mansk-1 it’s called. Well, the guy has a cook with him, and Speedy and I are glad to be eating well again. I thought for sure I was going to lose my figure. As long as he continues to pay, or becomes an asset in-and-of himself, he can stay.

Somehow watching all these ships appear here out of that big purple disk, caressing the apparently golden statuette of a Phoenix, I can’t help think of the fate of those that have just treated us so hospitably.

It had been a day not too much unlike the others sometime last week when it all started. Pick up a pack of refugees; drop them off, head back. The Muster had stopped asking for rides in…I find that kinda odd now that I think about it, but more on that later. Sometime between worlds, Polly, the ship’s new navigational think-machine, notified me that the Kurgans had my payment and that I would be contacted once I landed at the spaceport. More cloak and dagger…it’s not like I didn’t expect it, I mean we only saved a crew of Kurgan soldiers from a DEMON WIELDING ANTINOMIST, what cause had they to trust us? Upon arrival, I noticed three things, one of which I found rather odd. 1.) Smoke rose in dense columns from the surrounding landscape and the land smelled strongly of death and destruction. 2.) My old crewmate Inigo was dancing randomly out in front of the ship. 3.) My old friend father Tomas, who had recently earned the style of “Your Grace”, was wearing burgundy robes. Burgundy Robes? Burgundry Robes?!? What had this world come to? Bishop Tomas had changed sects to the Orthodoxy. The man who sleeps with a flame gun under his bunk, the man for whom I had built a fireproof confessional, the merciless inquisitor fanatical in his opposition of (other people’s) technology?!?! A member of the Orthodoxy?!?! Apparently.

After dusting off the noble who stepped out of the ship a moment too soon, skipping niceties, and ignoring the Ego Slips of the normally well composed priest friend of mine, I waited patiently for the cloak to show…I was hoping whoever they were was going to leave the dagger out of it. Speedy headed instantly to the bar, with the noble tight on his…can one call them heels…talons? The engineer stayed in the engine room, cuddling no-doubt. The rest stayed with me to catch up on old times and news. Our “Brother in Arms” showed up and I was surprised to note that he wasn’t wearing his armor. Upon this revelation I immediately took it upon myself to punch him in the shoulder rather hard. Why? Because I knew it wouldn’t hurt for once, and I didn’t think I’d get another chance. It wasn’t too long before I had to radio out to the surely half-drunk speedy to get his tail-feathers back to the ship because the cloak and, yes, dagger had finally showed.
Her garb wasn’t exactly revealing…but nothing could hide those hips. Our escort (no, not that type of “escort”) to the Kurgan leaders didn’t waste any time mincing words. Although she did attempt to mince Speedy for some wily words…I’m sure she missed on purpose though. She threw a knife and it pinned him to the wall…without hurting him…apparently she’s a match for my engineer on knife throwing…which now that I think about it, it is kind of odd that my engineer is a master knife thrower...how does that come in handy in the shop? Anyways…I took the knife out, freeing Speedy…I don’t know why I felt compelled to hold on to it, but I did. When our comrades returned from the bar she boarded my ship, rather rudely and without my permission, and proceeded to fly us somewhere “we should [have been] honored to be allowed – blah blah blah…to even see this – blah blah blah” Insert your favorite condescending religious mind-vomit ad nauseum. She gave us signs to hang around our necks…it felt strangely like a “kick me” sign, but I’m sure that it was for our own protection. Everything was going all right until the ground forces started firing at us…not for long though, the Kurgan babe put something into the think-machine and they stopped firing…unfortunately Polly wasn’t able to access the info or anything tracing to it. Military-level encrypts apparently…or so Smiling Stanley would tell me later.

Our ship wasn’t allowed to take us the whole way…so we were transferred to a shuttle and taken the rest of the way toward – blah blah, holy, blah, important, your lucky – blah. I could tell she was warming up to us because she didn’t throw a knife at me when I made a sexist innuendo. The rest of the crew had trouble containing their mirth, she however either was more practiced at it, or otherwise didn’t see the humor.

There was either a religious pilgrimage of some sort or perhaps an all-you-can-eat ice-cream social near the large dome/observatory to which we were transported. We were greeted by a noble…I think he was a noble…could have been a Spy-Lord…but probably just a noble…although he did seem to know a lot…doesn’t matter. He was very hospitable and, I think, a good example of what a Kurgan noble should be. He accepted my attempts at showing respect in their fashion. And showed me likewise respect.

He explained very rationally that they did not operate with civilized currency…he didn’t put it that way but it’s true enough. Anyways he paid us with an apparently golden Phoenix statuette. It was however only gilded, inside was solid Ur-metal. I feigned apathy and disappointment with a hint of resentment but nonetheless expressed a complacent manner, although I was actually quite excited. Along with this he gave me a Jumpkey to a lost world…excuse me, gave us. We were then given the room to enjoy for as long as we wished…and a gigantic table of food awaited our pleasure. And it was certainly pleasurable.

The Kurgan babe was assigned to be our guard for the evening. We smoked and ate to our hearts content, for my crew more of the former and less of the latter, for me the inverse. The mood struck me again, and so again I punched our Brother battle. “You know I can still fight without my armor” he said to me with a mischievous smile “You know that I really don’t care” I replied with equal mirth. We stepped away from the table slowly, feigning the possibility of a duel…we both knew the difference between play and war…and we also knew that it wasn’t often that two men could enjoy each other’s physical skills…in a non-Decados sort of way. I’m sure he meant to tackle me…though he was graceful, and apparently had abstained from the hashish as I had, I was still awkwardly more nimble, awkward because of my girth, more nimble because of my time with the pirates. He then decided to have another go, but in the middle of my dodge my foot slipped and I slid to the ground…good thing too because as I slumped to the ground landing on my tailbone I saw Brother Abram fly through the air over me, right where I would have been had I not slipped, and continued for several feet before landing face-first onto the ground. Everyone was laughing at this point, even our guard. Apparently she had not abstained from the hooka and had become much looser. She approached and made a combat salute, eagerly challenging me to the game she just saw (the new game that the crew I’m sure will adopt in the future as “tackle the captain”). Even with a clear buzz she still managed to pin me to a pillar with her foot before I really even knew what was going on…I would have been a match for her had I taken out my rapier…but it was better just to concede that her martial prowess eclipsed mine completely, and congratulate her on her victory. From there on out she was rather personable, and, naturally, Inigo was smitten. I put in a good word for him by lying through my teeth (quite well I might add) and they seemed to hit it off. I signaled him to acquire info about the Ur-metal Phoenix…don’t ask me how I mimed that. He would relate to me later that apparently the Caliph had been moving the Ur-statuette around from planet to planet. Brother Abram and I shared the watch during the night. The next day we awoke to a beautiful breakfast and an awkward situation. Apparently the Kurgan babe had fallen asleep whilst lying atop Inigo…we figured the herbs had worn off by this time and she was about to awake thinking that she had, well…done something she would regret.

After the initial startle, everything was calmed down but the awkwardness would not leave so easily. She returned us to our ship where we discovered that the “kick me” sign that we all had hung around our necks was now stamped on my ship…hmmm. We flew back and this time we were not shot at. Before leaving, I attempted the bow that is their custom to our new friend the Kurgan babe and threw the knife she had thrown at Speedy back at her feet. She took it and gave it to Inigo as a favor, a token, a remember-me if you will. He is still wearing it, now that I think about it…yes. Perhaps Inigo is thinking more long term now. It’s too bad. We got the news shortly after breaking atmo… a holy crusade has been called against the Kurgans, and the invasion force is staring us in the face. The patriarch’s navy as well as representative navies from all the known worlds had shown up. It’s amazing to look at it. So here I sit, with a Ur-metal statue and a Jumpkey to a lost world set-in and about to take us far away from here. I told my crew that it’s not likely that we’d find pirates near this big of an armada and that my Killroy duties are sending me elsewhere, namely to the lost world we had just found a means to find. The truth is that I don’t want a conflict between important members of the crew. Until I can gage the climate of the crew’s feelings I won’t force them to make a commitment that may put their interests at odds with mine. That’s a lesson I learned a long time ago. The jump will fire soon, so for now, farewell.

Captain Daedalus Nine-Tails

Css. Morningstar

Monday, July 16, 2007

To: Inquistorial Synod, Holy Terra
From: Inquisitor Tomas de Santiago, Bishop of Shelit
Subject: Shelit Heresy

The Pancreator sends adversity to show how much brighter the Holy Flame burns against the darkness, but it is blinding when compared to the darkness of the Shelit! Although with the completion of the Cathedral, which reflects the light of the Pancreator’s Holy Flame across the dark lands, technophilia is still rampant in the Shelit territories. The Ecclesiastical Courts and my Judicial Vicars are overwhelmed by pending trials. I have shown enough patience to allow the Vicars to conduct the trials and penalties, but the unending flow may require my personal attention. To illustrate the gravity of the situation, the Canons are working tirelessly to generate stacks of execution warrants that merely await a name and my seal.

It is unquestionable that House Shelit’s complacency with the obstinate hearts of their subjects is the root of this issue. For too long they had forsaken their noble duty in protecting their flock from the horrors of the Second Republic. Their existence is a spot of darkness struggling to hold back the Pancreator’s light. But we will endeavor ever forward against them, for what is a shadow against the light of the Holy Flame?

To: Classified , Pyre
From: Pilgrim Tomas de Santiago, Bishop of Shelit
Subject: Activities on Kurga

I am happy to report I have settled in my new See, while my companions have gone their separate ways. The ship that transported me has returned to supply runs while the Brother Battle has become the local Abbot, a most useful ally despite our reservations about the sect. I do sincerely hope his Brothers are more useful than my own Canons.

These Canons are typical Orthodoxy, my Vicars don’t have the stomach to burn out the heretics! I will see about their reassignment and request that brothers from Pyre may be allowed to take their place. Kurga is too valuable a world to leave to the firebird chasing Orthodox. I also recommend more pilgrims be freed up for eventual duty on Kurga, I’ll explain later.

I have seen that the Parish Priests will light the way for the eyes of fire to see ever further on the sacred world of Kurga. They who would not light the way have been assigned missionary duty elsewhere where they will find it hard to focus on worldly problems.

Complaints have been issued to the Inquisitorial Synod on the Shelit issue and I can guarantee they will only get louder. The new converts are overeager, having realized the horror of their Republican life. If there is a place for us to move, it is Kurga. And I have a plan.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Pilots Report 5000.19.05.0001 LS [League Standard Time]
10302910.13.98.89076[Grail Era]
The Charioteers Guild will be pleased to note that The CSS Morningstar: is in fine working order. The ship is completely fulfilling her regulated tasks, and is legal in every sense of the term. I might note that being from Grail, I know only one sense of the term "Legal," and I think that that The CSS Morningstar fits that order.
The Cruise liner incident that you have heard of no doubt was a complete success. And NO, there was no living dead, no crazy monsters, no daemons from the Dark Abyss. I personally was not on the liner, but I can still give you a perfect account of truth that the mission was smooth, sleek, and fast, just like my flying. I did not see any strange suede-being fly into open space, nor was any damage received by the ship during the operation.

What has happened on the disputed planet, some have inquired. We borrowed a holy relic, drove it into the open plains, collected money for some large stone structure, got ambushed by a bunch of Rocksiders, fought them off, and took captives. Oh, we did get a little help from some local authorities. Tin Can might have called them in, I don't know, we really had everything under control.

I must also report, with all honesty, that I found a most beautiful, amazing, slightly sloping, perfectly angled, long depth-run-way, AND I TOOK ADVANTAGE OF IT!
True, true, I had an almost-successful flight. The best one I've had in some time. My wings were out-stretched, I felt the wind, the rush, the slow downgrade, the faster downgrade, the feeling of death close to me, AAAHHH, then I rolled to avoid destroying my body gave the Captain his wanted items and walked away triumphantly.

Pilot: Speedy Out

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Do This Under Duress

Seeing how as the captain took exception to me recording things in invisible ink, and more exception to my "forgetting" to do anything about it, here's a sample of what I recorded the time the captain thought I should make the log entry:

It's one of those long flights to nowhere in particular - I mean, it is a particular place, I just don't care that much. Most interesting thing lately has been the dinner conversations. Especially the one about how every meal we eat is dinner because it doesn't taste like anything else and we have no idea what time it is anyway.

Anyhow, someone got hold of cake the other night (it was stale - why didn't we eat it earlier? Don't ask me!). The convivial mood led to some strange revelations, such as:

The captain is an ex-pirate who is now fighting pirates because his old crew broke up and pretty much hated him. Grudge much?

The pilot is the only one who can fly the boat we're in. I have no idea who modded this hull, but they did a good job. I estimate the engine/hull could stand continuous maneuver/fire at anything below full emergency levels for at least 7 minutes, which it really shouldn't be able to, looking at it.

Speedy met the captain in a bar. A bar fight, apparently. Surprise. They actually managed to get away with shooting police. Don't ask me how.

Inigo, master scamp, apparently got himself in trouble with some high-and-mighty's girlfriend. Apparently, he got himself out of trouble by being owed gambling debts. Also got himself nice reflexes, cybernetically. Whatever.

The pyromaniac priest pyred people prematurely preventing permanent - ah, damn. Anyway, that's why he's with us, apparently. Considering the lack of religious fervor on board... no, I don't get it either.

Roger is some random Hawkwood. Completely unimportant, unless someone wants to pay me. (I'm kidding, Roger!)

And I, of course, am just a completely innocent Engineer.

The captain wants more cake.

- Diagnostics

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Oi! Diary-thing!

So coming back to Aragon was a pleasant experience. Got checked up by doctor-man-thing (nice being owed instead of owing now and then.) We got to hook up with some nice young ladies and go to a party. That friggen castle is huge. The food was most excellent! I had pineapples and chocolate cookies and roast duck and those little wiener things in buns. Sadly, the party was rather spoiled when I got spotted by you-know-who. He acted rather nastily, but the good captain interceded on my behalf. I was thiiiis close to getting him to punish me!! (Public humiliation is hot) Umm...aaaand then some other stuff happened, and I didn't see it very well because I was hiding but the captain got in a fight with a Decados (yuck!) and Speedie ran around in circles a lot and some girl fell from the ceiling and I got to drink some real punch! They didn't allow smoking in the dining room, I almost died. Precious little happy-sticks, I would be so lonely without you! Anyway, the captain killed that one guy, and then the nutcase in the iron suit killed someone else, but for some reason it was ok and now the brass around here like us a little better, although I'll still be steering clear of Fartface Mckeepsagrudgetoodamnlong for a while yet. Now we're off looking for a missing luxury liner, or something. Oh, and the nice priest fried ALL my bodice-rippers!! Little sanctimonious bastard. Bet he's gay.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Personal Letter to:
Melote Benavaati
C/O the Echo Chamber
1472 Plum St.

Dearest Melote,

Again, one of my humble missives makes its way into your lovely hands. I wish I were back on Delphi, so that I could relate my tale of misadventure to you in person, but alas, it cannot be so.
I assume that you have already heard of my report concerning the statue. Not included in the report are several unimportant details, which I thought you might find amusing.
We arrived on Leagueheim on a rainy day. It was beautiful. The world seemed to be in black and white; it had the feel of those peaceful days in St. Anschok when we first met. Even the music was the same; strains of sad yet uplifting saxophone music drifted upon the air.
While the crew of the Morningstar went off to play their usual sport of ‘become highly intoxicated and pick up loose women,’ I stopped for some food. They have wonderful bread at Parotti’s bakery, a little place just off Leagueheim’s main starport. You know how I enjoy a loaf of fresh-baked bread, and just how difficult it is to acquire while between the stars.
It seems that trouble follows the crew of the Morningstar like flies follow the Decados. We were not in the port for more than twenty minutes before we became embroiled in a mystery and conflict involving Avestites, Scravers, and the Supreme Order of Engineers. I won’t bore you with the details in this letter; that was what my report was for.
I will comment on the ‘interesting’ methods that my new friends and I have for solving problems, however. Whether it is the Brother Battle stretching an old rusty key to make it look like a different old rusty key, or myself having a wonderful gunpoint conversation with a priest, we get the job done. Even Inigo, despite being a perverted, bionic little man, is fairly competent at setting ribs, given enough time and perhaps a sledgehammer.
We did succeed in acquiring the statue, which was filled with some kind of miraculous oil, after a brief yet intense four-way standoff inside a casino. Unfortunately, once we had it in our possession, it was taken from us by members of the Imperial Eye. It all worked out, though, so no worries.
I do wonder about the true nature of our Father Tomás, though. One of the parties in our little standoff was a group of Avestite priests. Strangely, they followed Father Tomás’ commands, as if he was some kind of higher authority for them. But this is mere speculation.
And now, I must cease writing and find out what the racket going on down below is. It sounds like Inigo has tried to put something slimy in Brother Abram’s armor again, and is receiving the Pancreator’s justice.

Keeping you always in my heart and mind,
Roger Hawkwood
To Holy Terra; Inquisitorial Synod
From: Confessor Tomas de Santiago, Avestite Order

Have recently been to the planet Madoc investigating reports of alien artifacts and participated in raid on smuggling operation. During the course of the investigation a Charioteer’s Ship and crew were detained due to reports of illegal technology use in their engines. Further investigation found the charges to be false due to apparently faulty reporting on the part of the Eskatonic Order. During a sting operation, the parish Eskatonic Priest is found to be guilty of bribery and it is recommended to the Synod that he be detained and questioned for Republican corruption. The charges against the Charioteer’s were promptly dropped by the regional Bishop at my request. Will report on further corruption by the Eskatonic Order.

To Pyre; Eyes of Fire
From: Pilgrim Tomas de Santiago

The Eyes of Fire see ever further into the darkness, I am pleased to report the conversion of a Charioteer Captain to our Holy Cause and the destruction of a heretical Eskatonic, who corrupts the Holy Church with his golden Republican greed. Now the Republican heresies can be monitored even more closely from within the corrupt Guilds and their movements of forbidden technologies will be known to us.

However, a more pressing concern comes from the planet Madoc. The Charioteer Vessel that is transporting me across the Empire became involved in an anti-smuggling operation. While such things as usually beneath the notice of the Holy Church, it involved the artifacts of a heathen religion based in Madoc. In the details I managed to obtain, it was nothing more than the typical folk story of seven coming saviors of the universe and the usual rabble they speak of. An additional pilgrim should be sent to investigate the heathen religion further but it is not of a high priority for the Pancreator’s Work. If for nothing else, a pilgrim should be sent to oversee that the Eskatonics are not too heavily influenced by such heresy.

Excerpt from the Journal of Confessor Tomas de Santiago, Priest of the Avestite Order

Although it was nothing more than a standard folk prophecy, I am still slightly disturbed by what I have read. I now see why almost all of our Order shuns knowledge and reading as taboo, for its corruption of the mind can be deep. Still, I cannot help to be curious…no, everlasting faith in the Pancreator will see me through not some writings of the twisted reflections of the Pancreator’s glory.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Captain's Log 5000.03.05.0000 LS (League Standard Time)
This is the report of the Captain of the CSS Morningstar known as Daedalus Nine-Tails, (Birth name unknown). Reporting as ordered under League bylaw Article IV. Section 15. Item B. Clause iii.

Awoke at 0600, arose at 0700, on bridge by 0800 to run diagnostics on ship conditions...diagnostics wasn't awake, used PA and a blank in my gun to wake him. Diagnostics ran smoothly, right down to the engine room and verified that everything was working fine. I granted him permission to return to bed. The last day of our week long "jaunt" (note to self, time is relative to age of a species, a "jaunt" to Birdbrain is neigh intolerable for a human in the dark between the stars) to Niven began with a rather uneventful breakfast. By uneventful it is simply meant that no live rounds were fired inside the ship...at any passengers/crew members. Chores were distributed, some were actually performed.

Another ship was spotted to Port at approximately 1330 hrs, avoided successfully. Stopped in Niven at approximately 1900 hrs to look for additional confrontation support. Mistook main hub for a rest stop and was subsequently disappointed, average rest stops are cleaner. Whole party left ship upon arrival. A combination of Democratic decision making and Despotic rule split the party into two groups; One to go to a higher class bar to procure information, reliable or other, consisting of Roger Hawkwood and Father Tomás; The other party which consisted of myself, Speedy, Inigo, and Stanley, went to the ...less...well...the shithole bar to look for seedier types to hire as our aforementioned confrontation support, and to increase moral of crew(space has a tendency to take a lot out of a man). Captain's note, Roger's lack of fatigue marks him as an extensive traveler, rivaling Speedy or even myself.

[The events that follow concerning Roger were related to me at 2100 hrs by him in his room, and will be related here verbatim or as close as manageable, to his account of the situation] Upon entering the classy bar, he promptly ordered a Martini shaken from a Robotic Bar tender and, after minimal small talk/threats of bodily harm, received info of a "treasure trove" of tech on the nearby planet Madoc from a seemingly aquatic life form.

Father Tomás apparently split from Roger shortly after Roger began relations with {name indecipherable}and went begging to little avail judging from his empty bowl he held near the ship upon our return after the incident at the bar.

The other Party consisting of the abovementioned four, myself included, arrived at the less than satisfactory bar at which several members of my crew proceeded to…I believe the technical term is “get smashed”. Inigo went to gamble so I knew we didn’t have much time. Soon enough, our feathered friend drew the attention of another table. A rather large man, whom I spotted when we walked in and instantly red-flagged, walked over from the other table so I offered him my drink which I had not touched since I ordered it…bad luck when you go into a bar and don’t order a drink. He refused the drink, showing that at least he had the sense not to drink an unidentified liquid from a stranger. I sent Pilot back to Ship under guise of debilitating intoxication, so that we could leave relatively quickly. After an exchange of words I convinced him that my ship’s doctor is playing with some dangerous men, the type he (the big guy) did not like. He did not believe me, but the next thing we knew three rounds had been fired... Inigo did fire them, but that doesn’t mean he drew first. I proceeded to flip the table to create cover for those in my party whom could not get to the bar. The big one leaped at a pair of men flailing his arms sending them flying and pulled a sword, Roger had arrived and Inigo kept firing. It was mostly a blur, I know a man took a couple knives thrown from my engineer. Before long I threw a fire extinguisher toward the enemies and shouted to no one in particular to shoot it. Roger got it with a well placed shot. We looted the bodies and paid for the damage on the tabs of the unconscious men.

Upon return to the ship, we found Father Tomás with his aforementioned empty bowl. I petitioned the big guy to join our party as confrontation support as he had proved rather resourceful in the bar fight. He is also a talented gun smith…or so he would lead us to believe. Father Tomás seems to trust him rather well enough, but I will continue to be suspicious…if not out of caution, at least out of respect. Men that powerful should never be trusted easily. The gorilla had a name…and I’ll remember it soon enough. Over dinner we discussed the purchase of guns from our new friend. Confession followed, and then I extinguished Speedy after his confession…as usual.

Captain of the CSS Morningstar, Daedalus Nine-Tails, logging out.