“It’s Second of the Sky. It has to be. What are the alternatives?”
Saluden spoke to the assembled crowd. Foreman Cole looked on - the whole thing seemed a bit theatrical for their tastes, but Saluden raised good points.
“Every other crew member has been seen elsewhere on the ship at the time of the sabotage, or else has stuck to their cabin and not left. The only person who has made their way around the ship is Second of the Sky. This is why they need to be imprisoned immediately.”
The crowd cheered, and the Foreman gestured at the guards to escort Second off to the brig.
“Excuse me,” Second intoned, speaking up for the first time since Saluden’s speech had begun. “But I don’t believe I’ve had an opportunity to defend myself?”
The foreman sighed, but reluctantly waved back the guards to let the man speak, with an impatient look at their watch.
Second smiled at the crowd. “Thank you. Mr Saluden here has raised a number of serious charges against me - if his word is to be believed, then I have been sneaking out nightly to sabotage various parts of the airship we’re currently on. It is a shame he does not have sufficient evidence to back up his claims.”
“Sufficient evidence? Who else could have done it?”
Second’s smile widened, as though he’d been waiting for the comment. “I’m glad you asked. Saluden used a process of elimination to conclude it was me, but in doing so he was forced to make a stretch. First, those with alibis. These people, indeed, could not be the Engineer. However, that is not to say they could not be one of the Engineer’s companions.”
The crowd looked between each other, now slightly more uncertain. Saluden opened his mouth to reply, but Second cut him off before he could start, eyes flicking between the foreman and the guards.
“On the other hand, that still leaves a number of candidates who could be the Engineer themselves. And here, Saluden makes a critical error. He assumes that those who so far appear to have stayed in their cabins are not, in fact, the Engineer.
“I ask you this. Can we be sure that these inactives are not, in fact, getting up in the night to do their mischief? Can we be sure that, while they have failed to show up for work, they may still get out of bed in order to follow their twisted calling by night? Saluden is misguided in his opinions - he believes that someone who is active enough to do their dark deeds must be active enough to be seen around the airship, but we know better. There is no dark and depraved strategy these people would not bend to.”
At this point, the crowd was nodding along, looking between themselves. Wasn’t it suspicious, they were asking themselves, that these people were hiding away, avoiding anything that could incriminate them?
One of the members of the crowd stood up - Second recognised him as Quill, one of his former opponents. “What about this Ventyl person? Very suspicious behaviour - we should lock them up to be sure.”
There was a chorus of agreement, and the Foreman reluctantly waved at the guards to go and get this Ventyl and escort them away. Maybe, finally, this could be over.
Mika Fergus climbed up to the top of the sky crane - carefully setting himself down where he wouldn’t be likely to fall off. From this height, it was possible to see most of the ship, and, when the clouds parted in the right way, part of the archipelago below them.
Today wasn’t one of those days - a dark grey cloud was billowing across on the ship’s port side, preventing Mika from seeing a large portion of the ship below her. Then she smelt the smoke.
That was no cloud - that was the port engine below her going up in flames. Mika got up, half running, half climbing back down along the crane - as he was reaching the bottom he saw Second looking around near the bottom of the sky crane, opened up the control box to the sky crane, grabbed a handful of wires, and pulled them out of the box. The crane bucked beneath Mika, and Mika furiously hung onto the nearest pylon, before continuing their furious race down. He just got to the bottom just as Second pulled out another handful of wires - Mika turned around in shock to see the crane ever so slowly began to collapse down on top of the ship. He turned back to chase after Second, but they’d already disappeared.
“This is not a drill. All personnel should make their way immediately to the starboard hangar for evacuation.”
The lights in the corridor flashed red as Mika rushed towards the hangar.
In front of them, the Foreman was checking off everyone on a list as they arrived, furiously counting heads and trying to see how many were left on board. There was still one engine holding the ship up, but the entire ship was sagging on one side, and drifting towards the ground at an alarming rate.
“Foreman, it’s Second - I saw them sabotage the Sky Crane. I-”
The Foreman just nodded, mouth grimly set as he looked around. “We know. We saw him take off with his compatriots after Striker sabotaged the engine.” The Foreman sighed. “Auseor, I’d suspected for quite a while, but Twi… they seem to have fallen in with a bad crowd. Still, there’s not much we can do about it now. Get on to the shuttle, you’re one of the last left.”
Mika made their way onto the completely packed shuttle, barely managing to fit between a window and an oversized gentleman who, judging by the smell, hadn’t had a shower in a week. As the doors closed and the shuttle took off, Mika watched as the ship they’d abandoned slowly drifted down and landed with a crash on the shore of one of Patji’s Fingers.
1 Month Later
“So the mission was a failure, then?”
Foreman Cole looked down, avoiding the eyes of the person standing in front of them.
“Well, not exactly, sir.”
“Your ship was destroyed before you even reached the island, and you failed to explore or collect a single Aviar, and lost those precious few we provided. How, exactly, do you intend to tell me your mission wasn’t exactly a failure?”
Cole’s boss gave him the shivers. They’d spent too much time playing at being a God, he thought. What was it the locals called them? The Ones Above? Really? That was bound to give anyone an ego trip.
“Well, there was… another task. The Doctrines prevent us from trading with primitive cultures without a certain level of technology. That may no longer be an issue.”
There was silence for a minute. “You mean… the crashed ship…”
“It’s on Patji’s shore, just waiting for some inventor to come along, take it apart piece by piece, and recreate it. It wasn’t the original plan, but this situation is salvageable. No pun intended.”
There was silence as Cole’s boss considered this. “Very well. You can see yourself out.”
Cole turned around, and fled the room.
Ventyl(5): Drake Marshall, Striker, Devotary, Aman, Burnt
Congratulations to the Saboteurs (Alvron, Devotary, Lum and Striker) for winning the game!
GM Spreadsheet The Underpass (Elim Doc) Jail (Lynched Doc) Hospital (Attacked Doc) The Boardroom (Spec Doc)