Chapter Twelve: The Straylight   Leave a comment

The pilgrims regained consciousness in the plush lounge of a cruise liner, adrift somewhere in space. They found that Brother Sand had somehow come with them, and that he’d been shot in the gut. He made delirious references to the snipers he’d hired shooting him to keep him out of the Gargoyle, to “serving an Empire that didn’t exist”, and to the pilgrimage being a front to get one agent (himself?) to Nowhere. Sand pressed a ring into Captain Manx’s hand, a ring that bore the same sigil that Manx had spotted on Sand’s documents on Shaprut, and died.

Fannagus and Ferizio explored the ship like children on holiday, recognizing it as Second Republic tech. They eventually figured out how to call up maps and communicate through the intercom. They made their way to the bridge and identified their current course: in orbit around an unrecognized star. Since the readouts were all in proto-Urthish and referenced planet names that had been out of vogue for a thousand years or more, the Engineers had no idea where they were. The best they could manage was the ship’s name: the Straylight.

straylight

The Straylight, out of Palimpsest
(img c/o deviantart)

Manx searched Sand’s body and found a small arsenal, vials of chemicals, and a strip of blank, striated paper. He and Sir Victor carried the body down to the banquet hall and stored it in the freezer. Throughout the ship, they found no other passengers, but evidence of a ship in use: well-maintained, stocked for guests, free of dust and wear.

Reconvening on the bridge, the pilgrims set a course for the second world orbiting the unknown star. The Engineers set about examining the ship’s logs, determining that it had been in operation 1,130 years ago, but that it hadn’t been doing anything since.

Manx and Victor discovered rows of floating bodies in the deep end of a pool in the Straylight‘s sauna. Confused at their lack of decay over so much time, they recruited the Engineers to help them examine the bodies. When Ferizio began draining the pool, the bodies sprung to life. Despite Manx’s remonstrations with a shotgun, the “bodies” clambered out of the pool and advanced on them! Manx peppered them with shotgun blasts while Fannagus ran to evade them. Ferizio got the pool refilling again with the solution that had been stabilizing the bodies. Fannagus had a close call, dragging one of the assailants into the deep end with him, but held out long enough for the weird human-like creatures to return to torpor.

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Posted February 9, 2015 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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