Archive for November, 2012
An hour later aboard the Britannia, Moira Wycliffe tugged at her freshly brushed leather vest, peppered with her favorite jeweler’s tools. She rubbed a faded, gray-black soot stain. It refused to be scrubbed out. The engineer sighed heavily.
“Yer sure this’ll work? He wouldn’t tell the Cap’n,” Moira blurted. Her words tumbled out like steam escaping a turbine, as if she had held onto the thought far longer than she could tolerate.
Adonia gave the young woman a reassuring smile as they walked through the corridor. “Oh, minha querida, there is no need to worry. We can handle this one just fine. I would not be surprised if he becomes a challenge, though.” The charybdian turned a few thoughts over in her mind. “It will still be fine,” she concluded. Adonia gave Moira another warm smile. “Do not worry, Moira, we can handle this. We will merely have to be persuasive.”
The reassuring words fell short of their intentions. Moira’s nerves were not soothed in the least. She kept pace with the senhorita. “He’s been helpful so far. If we tell him what we’ve figured out, maybe he’ll tell us the rest just to help?”
Adonia paused at a doorway to allow a trio of passengers to pass by. She took that moment to give Moira a thoughtful look. “For a moment, consider what he and his Brotherhood have done. Senhor Marino wishes to ‘protect the secrets of the Brotherhood’, or however Anthony put it. He also wishes to prove his good intent, so we might help with that, yet we are not members of his little group. If in his place, caught by such things on either side, what would you do?”
“Well, I’d …,” Moira started to reply, but her words trailed off. Quietly, her thoughts tumbled over in her mind. She followed Adonia through the doorway once the passengers had continued on their way. “I get where you’re headin’, I’d not be sayin’ much either,” she said after crossing into the next corridor. “So, ya said ‘be persuasive’?”
Adonia stopped and turned to face Moira. The charybdian gave the engineer a feral smile, along with a mischievous wink. “Sim. Persuasive, with some tea of course.”
Several turns later through the long corridors of the Britannia, the ladies arrived at a passenger cabin guarded by two armed sailors. The men were stone-faced, stern, and well-armed. They were silent as the two women approached, a porter in tow carrying a tray loaded with tea and sweetbreads. It was not until they were just outside arm’s reach that the sailors gave any indication they noticed the new arrivals.
“Beggin’ yer pardon, ladies, but state yer business.” It was the taller of the two young sailors that spoke. His eyes were a hazel color, and right then rather hard and unforgiving. His entire body language gave the impression that he did not like surprises, such as two ladies suddenly arriving with a porter carrying a tray of tea.
“Bom dia, Senhor. I am Senhorita Adonia Maria Ricadle Salgado, and this is Senhorita Moira Wycliffe.” Senhorita Salgado smiled pleasantly, her hair was relatively calm and only slithered slowly against itself for a moment. “I hope your first officer has mentioned our appointment with your charge today, sim?”
The aforementioned Senhorita Wycliffe wondered if she should curtsy. Since she was not any good at the gesture, or dressed in something she considered ‘curtsy appropriate’, she decided not to. Instead, the engineer decided to stick with what she was better at, and gave a half-wave to the sailors.
“Good meetin’ ya,” Moira said cheerfully.
The guard scrutinized the two women, then nodded. “Mr. Mason sent word about it. Bloke we’re guardin’ caused quite a bit ‘o trouble. Sure you both want to speak with him? He’s a bit dangerous.”
“Oh, I doubt there will be any trouble, Senhor.” The Senhorita Salgado smiled pleasantly, her fangs barely noticeable. Her words were polite and cordial. However, it was not her words, or pleasant overtures, or even the mild slithering to her greenish, snake-like hair that caused the guard’s eyes to widen uneasily.
It was her unblinking, reptile-yellow eyes. The senhorita smiled, which only worsened the effect.
The young man swallowed involuntarily. He tore his eyes away just long enough to regain control of his voice. “Of course, mum, as ya say. If either of ya need a bit o’ help, just give a rap on the door, eh? We’ll come in and give the bugger a sound thrashing.”
She smiled cheerfully. “We certainly hope it will not come to that, Senhor. Now, if you would excuse us, sim?”
He gave the two women a tense and uncomfortable smile. “Of course, mum.” The young man unlocked the stateroom door, then stepped to one side after opening it for them.
Senhorita Salgado gave a polite nod of thanks, then drifted through the door. With one last glance at the two guards, Moira Wycliffe walked through a moment later, the stoic porter trailing behind them both with the tea tray.