Six figures with mechanical wings drifted onto the skimmer’s top deck. The avian aliens wielding strange wood and crystal staves ordered all to disarm, while their ship closed. Nevossa and his lieutenant appeared from the bridge, “My rescuers have come! You will be greatly rewarded for your aid to our clan!” Squeezil jumped into Jerrith’s pocket unnoticed amidst the danger.
The apparent leader eyed him coolly, “We will take our reward now, second chief son.” He looked over the Jerrith, the Ueppaah and Shi’Ator captives. “Surrender, Ceph.” All weapons were taken.
“Accursed Cellian trash,” the lord grumbled
Lord Nevosa and his last remaining follower reluctantly kneeled and disarmed. Three of the bird pirates moved to head below decks, but instead are interrupted by Alan, on the stern of the main deck examining the coolant pumps he’d drained in the battle. “We don’t have long. This … ship is going down.”
With speed the captives were moved to the new ship, an ovoid construction of wood and ceramic thrice the size of the Ceph craft. It’s double ram prow propped up the failing vessel to facilitate the evacuation of livestock and treasure. The two Ceph were left to go down with their vessel.
“We can’t just leave them here,”Jerrith protested towards the leader. “No matter what they’ve done, they don’t deserve death like this.”
A large amber eye surveyed the human. “With a ransom the Ceph’s clan will make us an enemy and our … lord here will be trouble aboard. Will you vouch for him?”
Jerrith agreed. Along with the rest of the captive, their former master and his lone lackey joined them in the Cellian ship’s hold.
They were put to work soon doing various chores to make themselves profitable, as opposed to a liability. The security officer helped with lifting and cleaning the vessel. The engineer learned of the workings of the skimma that combusted a resin and ash mixture to power it’s electrical systems – not much unlike a old steam boat’s engine used coal. He and the Cellian Engineer discussed designs to improve efficiency. Despite being surrounded by evolved raptors, Squeezils tricks and boldness gained her the post of ship’s mascot.
Early in the two humans were brought before Skiiar, the captain of the Sky Harbinger. He inquired of their origin and was too well traveled to accept that they were from a far shiff. Alan admitted that they were from an entirely different sphere, and noticed the way this upset – rather than surprised – the Cellian pirate. Satisfied despite being confused, he explained his people place in the world. The avians had the best ships, indeed being the inventors of Argen lift technology, but lacked the numbers and weaponry to be a true power. Their itinerant moving took them across the skyscape farther than any other people had ventured and made them a hard target for enemies but their weapons were inferior, living wood and crystal staves that recharged via unusual for of photosynthesis.
The revelation made the newcomers feel a bit more accepted over time. After a week they were considered nearly at the rank of crew. Pulling into port at the Veddas shiff city Veddalo, Skiiar declared the Ceph captives free. Gorax, Sylex and company bid their allies farewell, as did the Cellian crew with their pet.
Skiiar and his guard disembarked Margonar and his lord Nevosa in chains. Pausing before Jerrith, the chief son spit at the human and swore, “When I am back to my people you will have made a strong enemy, hoo-mon.” He was led away, but his gaze stayed on the man.
Veddalo was full of more biodiversity then the Earthers could have dreamed of: bipedal equine creature, white skinned with blue-haired humanoids, and centaur shaped alligators. They immediately looked for work.
A gecko like alien, Oakiino, offered Squeezil a job killing vermin in his establishment – in exchange for room and board for her and a companion. She accepted and the group was led to social business of some kind proclaiming a sign with some alien scrawl – whatever effect let them understand spoken language didn’t extend to writing – and a strange picture that must be related to it’s function. Within the cellar of the … Party Seal … brothel?, she encounters an insectile plant creature that stained her with glowing ink. She defeated the strange creature to earn her supper.
That night, she dreamt of flying to an ancient ruined skimma of huge proportions. The construction was mysteriously familiar to her. A rusted out artificial shiff coated in cryptic hieroglyphs filled with strange whistling winds. Something import rests here.
Jerrith secured a position in a hunting party for the rare and valued Prymaat eggs – the young of some forest beast of Veddas. Boasting that his carbine can make big wholes in things, at a distance, gets his foot in the door. Hopefully he wouldn’t need to make too many wholes. Once the clip on his M-6 was done they’d likely have to make more bullets – if gunpowder’s ingredients even existed here. His employer, a hairless feline named Kyapen, had some dealing with the gecko for sponsorship of the expedition.
Alan tried to find employment with a scent dealer, but the alien ungulate creature found the human scent much more enthralling, and tried to capture the man. After a short tussle, the man found lodging and work at the metal crafters. Warding off a potential thief, earned him the storekeepers respect and an introduction to a member of the widely known Myessi people.
Many of his questions were not answered, as the girl was a mere courier, but he got the idea of the height of their skimma technology. They were’nt very fast at all, espcially compared to the Cellians design. The woman out of curiosity locks amber colored eyes with his and is able to view his surface thoughts, which replay at high speed in his own awareness. Stunned, the courier goes about her business before he can question further.
Alan joined the rest of his companions that morning, as they prepared for the Prymaat hunt. Heading down the street were three other teams, one of sturdy goat-like creatures, a squad of auburn furred Ueppaah and another of armor clad bipedal iguanas, amidst a large amount of fanfare for this apparent seasonal hunt festival.
Would they be able to tell beast from being? Was their greatest threat from the unknown wilds of Veddas, this Prymaat or their competitors.