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Old 12-13-2009, 04:00 PM   #1
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[Repost -Open] Bandits of the Sky!

This is a story of Europe in the 1930s -not as they actually were (stripped bare by the tragic losses of the First World War, bitterly fought over by warring ideologies and dominated by the inexorable rise of Fascism) but as they might have been, as exotic and glamorous and fun as they were in lighthearted escapist fiction of the John Buchan variety. This is a world of mad scientists, dashing heroes, elegant lady spies, plucky girl reporters and two-fisted sailors. Fascists of all nations exist, but they're goose-stepping, jackbooted morons whose evil schemes will end with them getting the punch in the snout they rightly deserve!

The world itself also looks different. Imagine that every fantastic invention from Victorian and Edwardian literature had been put into mass production and used to help build incredible, gravity-defying Art Deco cityscapes, elegantly streamlined gadgets and modes of transport. Imagine that a small but significant fraction of the population was a pulp hero or villain, with their colourful costumes and pseudonyms and extraordinary abilities or gadgets.

If this sounds appealing to you, I'm currently looking for just one female co-writer. The sky is really the limit with this setting, and I'm willing to consider taking on more players if there's enough interest, but for the moment just one pre-planned character below. Her description, along with that of my own character, is below:


Will Silence

"Silence! Silence! That Jew-loving American dog has once again foiled my plans!"
--Doktor Hans Grubenborg

Will Silence is in the prime of his strength and at peak physical condition at the age of 26, which is just as well given the company he keeps and the many strange adventures that he seems to land himself into. A respected member of the Explorer's Club in New York and a man of many different jobs -sailor, reporter, explorer, scholar, spy and gunman. He stands 6'0'' and is of a lean, muscular build, favouring grey trenchcoats and fedoras for personal wear. His hair is brown and smooth, his face often wears a wry smile, which his enemies interpret it as mocking and his friends as comradely.

He first ran away from his home in Maine when he was just fourteen years old, signing on with a tramp steamer in New York. Since then he has seen the greater portion of the globe and, due to his steadfast refusal to stand by and allow any strong man to exploit the weak, gained both friends and enemies in every port. Even as a young boy he was taking on bullies twice his size, and this hasn't changed when the bullies he encountered starting becoming entire regimes. He has gained the thanks of the United States and allied governments on several occasion, although due to the highly delicate nature of the tasks he has undertaken for them, these acknowledgements have rarely been public. It is known that he will always recieve a warm welcome in the royal court of Verdonia, due to certain signal services he performed for the state's beautiful young duchess.

It is even rumoured that the duchess proposed marriage, but Silence must have delicately and tactfully turned her down. The fact is that he seems to prefer to live a solitary life, perhaps feeling that it would be unfair to inflict his life of danger and adventure on any women, but also never feeling prepared to give it up.


Marie-Claire


Will Silence first met Marie-Claire on the Adventure of the Joanine Diamond. She was a street-urchin living in the back-alleys of Paris, living by her wits (they met when she tried to pick the young Silence's pocket). It soon became clear that she knew the city's underworld extremely well, and was able to guide Silence to the Van Nott jewel-thief gang's secret hide-out. Feeling compassion for the ragged, plucky girl Silence brought her back with him to New York and left her in the care of his friends the Rothsteins.

Now it is six years later and the Parisian street-urchin of fourteen has transformed into a ravishingly lovely young woman of twenty. She is still as much of a tomboy as ever, insisting on dressing in men's clothes and cutting her dark hair close. Her pale face is waifishly beautiful and the close-fitting blue military cast-offs and overcoats she favours does nothing to conceal the generous curve of her breasts, nor the pert swell of her buttocks under the breeches. Although her English is perfect thanks to the education the Rothsteins provided, her voice is still tinted with the French accent.

Marie-Claire is in love with Will Silence. It started out as hero-worship, turned into a schoolgirl crush and she now feels she is old enough to call it what it is: love. Every couple of weeks bring new tidings of Will's latest adventure and whenever he's in New York, he always comes by to see her and the Rothsteins. Unfortunately, he still treats her as he always has: as a mischievous little sister, not as a beautiful woman, and has laughed off any suggestion that she accompany him on one of his journeys. Marie-Claire has grimly considered the swarm of sophisticated girl-reporters, fragile female royalty and man-hungry vamps that always seem to feature in Silence's adventures. It can't be too long before one of those other women captures him for good. And they'd never understand him or be able to join in his adventures the way Marie-Claire would. She has practised with the pistol until she's become a crackshot and she's still as swift and lithe as she was in her days as a thief in Paris.

So, this time when Will left New York, Marie-Claire secretly followed him. She stowed away aboard the zeppelin he took from the docking bay on the Empire State Building, the Abraham Lincoln. The moment the airship has gone too far to turn back she will reveal her presence though not her feelings to Will Silence. He'll have to take her on his latest adventure, whatever that might be, and that will give her the one chance she may ever to try and make Will reciprocate her feelings. And if any of those forward girl-reporters or crowned females come within arm's-reach this time, they may get a crack on their fingers for their troubles...


PM me if you're interested, either in the part of Marie-Claire or just joining in at a later stage.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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Bumping this
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
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And another bump for good luck.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:38 PM   #4
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OOC: Bardic has expressed interest in the role of Marie-Claire and so we begin...



The impossibly tall skyscrapers of New York receded in the distance as the Abraham Lincoln drifted between clouds on its journey to Paris. Will Silence had remained on the glass observation deck at the top of the gondola to steal one last glimpse of his adopted home city. He never tired of the sight of the cityscape, like an endlessly complex fractal on the horizon. Flapped batwinged ornithopters buzzed between New York's towers, and elegantly arcing skybridges joined them together in thousands of places. It was a city that expressed the sheer joy, energy and ambition of the United States.

One thought did trouble Will as he gazed on. It was nothing to do with the dangers of the mission he had agreed to undertake in Europe -such dangers was the air he breathed to the man from Illinois. Rather, it concerned Marie-Claire -the endlessly fascinating, hot-tempered Parisian tomboy. She had not been there to say goodbye to him when he visited the Rothsteins last. It wasn't like her. It didn't feel right to go back into battle without having felt the warm pressure of her goodbye hug, of her sweet kisses in the Gallic style on either side of his cheek. Will hoped that nothing was troubling Marie-Claire. Her adoptive parents, the Rothsteins, said she had been a little quiet lately.

His mind was thus on New York and not the mission ahead as he walked down the long spiral metal stairway to the passenger quarters, where he had rented a state-room under the name of Robert Blake, lumber merchant of Washington.
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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Dressed in her typical slacks with suspenders and button up shirt, though with her long coat and hat pulled over her short cut hair, Marie-Claire stood at the balcony just outside of William's room. She grinned to herself as he walked past without noticing her. She still had the touch of a sneak after these years. As he rouned a corner she turned and with a practiced touch, unlocked his door and slipped inside within a matter of seconds. She let out a triumphant sigh and flicked the lights on, taking in the view of his quarters. "Still traveling first class, Mr. Blake/Silence?" She spoke aloud with a light giggle, voice lightly tinted with her native French accent. She tossed her coat and hat on his bed and wandered around the main room, picking up various baubles and inspecting them with no real purpose in mind.

She stepped back outside and dragged her suitcase inside to set into a corner before flopping down onto his bed comfortably, toying with one of his silk ties she found until he came back from his sight-seeing, grinning to herself. This was one adventure she was -not- going to be left out of, and dammit it all if she can't get him to accept her as something other than the waif-ish girl he found in the streets a half a decade ago.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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The first indication of trouble was that the lights were on inside his state room -the yellow glow spilled out under the door into the passage. Will had left them off and it was far too early in the voyage for a steward to be calling. Will quietly reached for the revolver hidden in the shoulder-holster under his coat. It was an old Hammersmith model that he had customized himself, and it has seen him safe through many close encounters.

He opened the door noiselessly and sidestepped in, the gun held in both hands at shoulder-height. The state-room was decorated with quiet good taste and ornate brass Ether lamps on the walls threw down golden pools of light across an otherwise darkened expanse. One such lamp was set on the wall next to his bed, across the room, and showed up the silhouette of a female form lying on it, completely at ease.

Will did not lower his gun. Experience of the deadly German spy Lola von Ubersein had taught him that the female of the species could be entirely as dangerous as the male. From what he could see of the girl's form alone, she could be every bit the temptress Lola was -her back was slender and straight, terminating in perfectly rounded, pert buttocks. Will moved towards the bed, trying to get a look at the intruder's face.

He almost dropped his weapon in shock when she turned, giving him a cheeky grin revealing the beautiful young face of Marie-Claire. She was running one of his silk ties across her hands.

Will was at a loss for words for a moment. He was not just baffled by his young friend's presence but also by the thoughts that had risen, unbidden, to his mind looking at her body before he had realised who it was. He had never really noticed Marie-Claire's physical attributes but now it was hard not to notice them.

He cleared his throat and laid the gun down on a side-table.

"Marie-Claire! What are you doing here!?"
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:54 PM   #7
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She nearly laughed aloud at seeing his reaction, tossing his tie at him playfully. "Going with you, my dear Mr. Silence. Isn't that obvious?" She sat up crosslegged in the bed with her suspender's straps fallen to the sides as they were largely unecessary with her rounded hips. She yawned and stretched comfortably before looking to the gun and giving him a lazy grin. "I suppose if I had left the lights off you wouldn't have seen me at all, hm?"

Marie grinned and hopped out of the bed, walking over William's still shocked self and stepped up on her toes to give him a light kiss on each cheek and a firm hug. "Oui, you heard...I'm coming with you this time, got it?" Her statement was followed by a firm, but friendly pinch to his ribs.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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Will instinctively reached out and caught the tie as it fluttered down. The dark blue silk dangled from his fist as, still caught unawares, he stared at Marie-Claire. She yawned and stretched luxuriously, with all the perfect self-possession of a cat. He cursed himself, but once again could not help noticing her firm and impressive breasts, pressed by her movement against the fabric of her shirt. When had Marie-Claire... grown up?

Despite his confusion, he instinctively returned her warm hug. Will smiled as he at last felt her warm lips on his cheeks, felt her slender body clasped in his arms. He was almost tempted to let her linger there, feeling the pleasant pressure of her breasts against his chest, but at that thought he instantly broke the hug.

He had at last regained his characteristic calm by the time Marie-Claire explained her presence, emphasising its permanence with a friendly buffet to the ribs. Will grinned, playfully pretending to cuff her head of close-cropped, smooth dark hair. Her body might be newly calimastian and calipygian, but it was reassuring to see that Marie-Claire still remained her charming, feisty self. His good humour slowly receded as he sat down on the bed, motioning for her to sit beside him.

"Marie-Claire, I do understand wanting to see more of the world and when you're back in New York we'll arrange a trip to Europe for you but this voyage... the Abraham Lincoln... it's not what it seems. You must have heard of Baron Montperdu?"

Few who lived in any of the great zeppelin ports had not. He and his followers were infamous pirates of the skies, swooping down on cargo zeppelins on lightweight, bladed flying machines of Montperdu's own invention. The airships they captured were taken away to Montperdu's secret stronghold, where their cargos were looted and the crew and passengers ransomed. In the eight years since he had first begun his raids, no nation's information networks had succeeded in finding the location of his hide-out. The captives were always held in the hold of the ship during their imprisonment, with no chance to observe anything of their location.

"The OSS has reliable information that he plans to attack the Abraham Lincoln on this voyage -he has spies in the crew", Will whispered. "I'm to find a hiding place on board the ship, and find out at last where he takes them"

But even as he talked, Will realised that the situation was not good. There was no practical means to transport Marie-Claire back to New York at this point, as she must indeed have anticipated. The Parisian tomboy had come for an adventure and sure enough, she had thrust herself headlong into one. Now all he could do was try and keep them both safe throughout.

Looking down at her, slim and nonchalantly unconcerned, he felt a fierce rush of affection and clasped her delicate hand in his. Will knew he'd die before he let anything happen to Marie-Claire.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:47 PM   #9
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Marie-Claire's heart fluttered lightly as it tended to do in his arms, and she endeavored to do it when possible without seeming overly forward. Even in his surprise, the man was dashing, charming, sincere...everything he had always been since she had met him six years ago, and everything about him she had come to love.

She settled next to him with her usual half smile, crossing her legs and leaning back on her hands. She cocked her head to the side a bit as he explained, nodding apporpriately as she eagerly took in his secret mission. Her smile grew to an anticipating grin. Imagine! Of all the flights to stow away on with Will, she could not have picked a better one! Pirates, hostages, sneaking about... She dared to think she would be on this even -without- Will's presence.

"I'd heard of the Baron before. From your off hand stories and others from other adventurers." Oh, if she could only get her hands on one of those flying machines of his. Imagine the intricacies of its workings!

She blushed lightly as he finished and laid his hand on hers, forcing herself to stop acting like a schoolgirl. Instead, she gave him a broad, eager grin and squeezed his hand back. "Then it sounds like you might need the help from one who has a good deal of experience in hiding and getting into places unseen, no? I promise, I won't be a liability to you or your mission. I came to help, and that is what I intend to do, even if I never knew the specifics of your mission from the beginning."
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:13 PM   #10
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Will nodded slowly. The Rothsteins had always done their best to protect and shelter and nurture the waifish tomboy he had left with them, and for a while he believed that that had been exactly what Marie-Claire needed. But she had grown up in a much tougher world and adventure was in her blood, just as it was in Will's. There was no sense trying to keep her from it.

A faint flush coloured her cheeks, undoubtedly excitement at the thought of the mission awaiting them. Will could not help but notice the extreme attractiveness of the effect, however. The colour lent even more vivacity and a charming hint of innocence to her beautiful, delicate features. He returned her grin.

"Indeed, I would be grateful for your expertise, mademoiselle", he said, inclining his head mock-gravely. Will was always decisive: from that point on, he decided to accept Marie-Claire whole-heartedly as a partner in the exploit. Maintaining his grip on her hand, he gently brought her to her feet and moved towards the door.

"I'll show you the lay-out of the territory. We'll need to hide somewhere in or near the observation deck if we're to be able to trace the Lincoln's route. Perhaps you'll be able to spot a hiding place I couldn't..."
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:36 PM   #11
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She fought the urge to give him a hug and kiss as he fully accepted her help, merely offering an emphatic nod and excited glimmer in her expressive eyes. She gladly kept a hold of his hand as she stood, patting her hip with her free hand to remind herself of her firearm now that she may have to use it. "Probably so. Your poor fat elf will have to find a closet to hide in." She grinned at his comment on her smaller stature, reaching over to jokingly pat what she imagined was a perfectly toned midriff.

"Do we have blueprints? Or do we only know what we can see from walking about?"

She tapped her chin thoughtfully as she stood by the door. "Is there any idea of when he plans to attack? Are his attacks vicious, or does he try to keep from bloodshed?" It was clear she had not simply hopped on the airship to join Willaim on some foolish whim. She was ready to prove herself to him.

She reached over to grab her cabbie style hat and jacket, tugging it over her bob-cut hair and opened the door as she gave him a comedically luxurious bow. "Please, real passengers first."

Last edited by Bardic : 12-22-2009 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:29 AM   #12
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His fingers on her slender wrist, Will could feel Marie-Claire's pulse racing. It was clear that, despite her ever-present playfulness, she must be well aware of the dangers ahead. She gathered her hat and coat together as Will considered her questions.

"Baron Montperdu is one of your own countrymen, as far as we can tell, and once he worked for the French government as an engineer. But he turned coat long ago when he started selling his weapons to the the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War. It was they who gave him the title, and the barony in Bavaria, after the war, but they can't have paid him enough -if a man like Montperdu could ever have enough"

Will shrugged.

"Most of the time, he'll try and take a zeppelin without bloodshed, though only because ransoms are more profitable. He's more than willing to kill everyone on board an airship if he deems it necessary. The government has tried hiding squadrons of marines on board likely targets -they've never been touched. The Baron seems to have high-level informants in the OSS. That's why they contacted me -besides yourself and the Rothsteins, only a couple of men in Washington know where I am now. He'll probably swoop in early, once we're some way into our flight"

Marie-Claire waved him forward with a comically formal bow, her coat-tails riding up momentarily to reveal a fine length of shapely leg underneath. Will accepted her invitation with a wry smile, leading the way out into the corridor and up the companion way towards the observation deck.

"We couldn't get blueprints either -again, Montperdu's informants are very good, and they'd get word of such a request"
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:53 AM   #13
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"Not a man to be trifled with, then." She nodded and followed closely after him, inwardly cursing this traitor of her homeland. "So there is no hope of reasoning, if there was even a chance of that to begin with, hm?" She chuckled and watched William walk along, becoming somewhat engrossed in the absolute confidence he exuded with every step, not to mention his firm buttocks beneath his breeches. She blushed darkly at the thought and looked down a bit as they walked, hoping he wouldn't look behind him for a moment to let the telling flush leave her face.

"We are to track him to his lair...then what? Were you planning on taking down this infamous pirate in his home by yourself? Sneaking away? Becoming a hostage and going home with the others with information?" She grinned and bumped into a passing crewman with a light "oof", and turned to apologize profusely with an embarrassed stammer before turning back to hurry after William, flipping a ring of keys around in her slender hand and continued speaking without missing a beat.

"Or what if we are to find some conspiracy and he is financed or led by yet another power? Mon dieu, that would be interesting..." Her eyes shined with a playful mischief that belied her knowledge of the importance of the mission.
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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Will looked back at the sound of the collision and grinned. Marie-Claire had clearly lost nothing of her touch in the years since Paris. She had taken the crewman's keys with the same deft grace with which she had once tried to pick Will's own pocket. The crewman had accepted her apologies with a smile -Will doubted he'd even notice the loss until some time into the voyage. By which time, he would probably have rather more on his mind.

The crewman's smile broadened as he watched the pretty, slender girl walk away, feasting his eyes on the rounded swell of her rump and the sway of her hips, her boy's clothes somehow only serving to emphasise her body's femininity. The smile vanished when he noticed Will's scowling, cold blue eyes on him and he hastily turned away and moved off.

Will's scowl instantly relaxed into a smile as he shifted his gaze to Marie-Claire and the keys she held in her hand.

"You're thinking it too?", he asked in low tones, slowing down to walk side by side. "The Baron was once good friends with Prussia -perhaps he still maintains those friendships in the Third Reich. He's never been known to rob a German zeppelin"

By now, they were approaching the observation deck and Will was looking about him for a hiding place. His eye was caught by the steel hatch of a service tunnel. He eyed it thoughtfully. Marie-Claire was as lithe and flexible as she was slender -she would have no difficulty accomodating herself in the close crawl-space. He was bigger but in the peak of his physicial condition.

"Do you have the key to that among your admirer's presents?", he asked Marie-Claire, indicating the hatch.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:04 PM   #15
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"Oui....though at the same time that may simply be out of respect for former compatriots, no? But he is not a sentimental man, if what you were saying is true." She cracked her knuckles and flipped through the keys for a moment before sliding one into the door.

She slowly eased the hatch open and peeked inside with a sigh at the pitch darkness. "Merde...I think I can squeeze in here." She chuckled and as she gripped the edges of the hinge, lifted herself up and slipped in feet first, leaving her head at his level and the keys dangling in front of him. "I should find a way closer to navigation? If they use their own men to pilot they may have loose tongues if they are with one another."
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:54 PM   #16
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"In any case, the plan is to simply see where they take the zeppelin and remain hidden aboard the Lincoln until it's ransomed"

Will grinned. "But if we see some way to shove a spoke in the Baron's wheel, I say we take it"

Marie-Claire opened the hatch and pushed her way feet first into the darkness of the tunnel beyond until only an arm and her dark head protruded from the entry way. Will nodded, taking the keys from her outstretched hand.

"I'll leave the hatch unlocked, and find a place for myself to hide in the navigation section. Those tunnels run all over the ship, for crewmen to maintain it -when you need to look out, there'll be a ladder up inside the balloon itself some way down the crawlspace. And, Marie-Claire..."

He reached forward, pushing her peaked hat back to ruffle her hair the way he'd always done before. But something about her face halted his movement. She wore her perpetual merry, mischevious half-smile, her big brown eyes were bright with excitement. Her delicate features were still slightly flushed. He could never recall her looking so beautiful -adventure just seemed to act like bracing fresh air to her. For a moment, he was simply silent, his hand still resting on her head. Then, instead of ruffling her hair, he leant forward and planted a kiss on her forehead, his hand clasping her head.

"Good luck"

Turning on his heel, he quickly made his way towards the pilot's section.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:22 PM   #17
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"Oh, I agree. If there is a way, we strike." She giggled softly at her boldness and dropped the keys into his hand before sliding out of her coat to leave behind. No telling what it might snag itself on. Marie nodded at his instruction and turned her head to give a furtive glance into the darkness behind her.

"Simple enough...if they look here for a stowaway, hide in the balloon." She almost rolled her eyes when he began to ruffle her hair, but stopped and watched him as he studied her face. She froze when his lips touched against her forehead, and blinked it away as the hatch closed off, sealing her in total darkness. She sighed and pulled out a book of matches and a glowstick from her coat and with a gymnast's ease, wriggled her way around in the vent to face the proper direction. With a nimble flick of her wrist she lit the match on the wall of the vent and lit the tip of the stick, giving her illumination down the tunnels for a few dozen feet.

She fanned her face a bit as the stuffy tunnels became warm. They obviously didn't have much in the way of ventilation in these things. She flipped a few of her shirt buttons open and continued on, peeking through a few grates that were peppered along the bottom of the shafts, using the various rooms and conversations she overheard to guide her along to the ladder. She mentally marked the position and turned down a different path, to what she hoped to be the piloting room.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:19 AM   #18
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Will kept to the shadows as he made his way aft, towards the little bubble on the gondola where the pilot steered the zeppelin. He was in an area where passengers were not allowed, but he avoid challenges by projecting a mixture of unobtrusiveness and total confidence, the air of a man who has every right to be where he is. None of the crew he passed in the metal-lined passages, hurrying about their work, even glanced at him.

Just underneath the pilot's dome, he stopped and looked about. A metal closet looked promising -directly underneath the pilot's room, he would stand a chance of overhearing conversation above and if he left the door open a crack, he could see out through the glass wall to what was going on in the sky outside. He found the key to the closet on the ring and silently opened it up.

Before concealing himself, he glanced down at the deck. The grating of a service tunnel was directly underneath his feet. He thought of brave, beautiful Marie-Claire making her way through the darkness, and again he smiled. He worried for her safety but a part of him was also so glad that she was there to share it all with him. Her presence answered a need he hadn't even realised he'd been feeling.

Time passed. Will simply stood stock-still among the coils of rope and stacked tarps in the dimness of the closet, somehow at once completely at ease and yet instantly ready to spring into action. The quiet half-smile never left his face.

At last, there came the faint sound Will had been waiting for. The rough sound of blades chopping the air. He applied his eye to the crack he had left open and looked out beyond the glass dome.

The Baron's infamous raiders were moving in, swooping down on the zeppelin from the concealment of a cumulo-nimbus cloudbank up above. They were dressed in his colours of black and gold and flew by means of the backmounted rotor-devices he had designed himself. The flying machines also included twin Lord machine guns, one on either side of the flyer's hips, their triggers clenched in his hands. Steering was done with pedals below the feet.

It took the lookout of the Lincoln longer than Will to spot the sky-pirates, by which time they had already let loose a warning volley of shots. There were shouts of alarm and the sounds of crewmen running up and down the metal stairs, of passengers demanding to know what was going on. Then an ominous silence replaced the noise. The Baron's men had flown beyond Will's range of sight. He could only assumed they were landing and taking control even now, and wondered if Marie-Claire had found a better vantage-point.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:47 AM   #19
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Like a snake in its home, Marie-Claire slithered through the tunnels with ease and almost complete silence, climbing up where she needed and sliding down a level to finally reach what she hoped was her destination, because these damned tunnels weren't getting any cooler. She spied downward though a final grate and grinned as she saw a large wheel, and a table full of maps and several important looking men moving about. "Peaufine!" She muttered to herself silently and settled in, extinguishing the glowstick before any of the men looked up to question the dim glow.

She rested her chin on her arms as she looked down, and would have thought to take a short nap if the men below hadn't started scurrying about frantically and shouting questions about intruders and battle stations. She almost hit her head on the roof of the tunnel when the klaxons started to ring.

Her eyes only caught a quick glimmer of a metal thing fly underneath the ship, as she couldn't see much of the outside from her vantage point. She scooted forward a bit more in the tunnel to the hatch just off the front of the ship and cracked it open just in time for one of the Baron's scouts to woosh past a foot from the door. She looked outside, the cool wind rushing past her face and several of the Baron's scouts zipping by. She eyed the small ships with a second of longing before easing the door shut and making her way back to the grate in time to see a group of unfamiliar men burst into the room.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:28 AM   #20
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Will strained his ears to listen, but he could only hear snatches of the pirates' conversation. They had moved the pilot and all the crew, along with the passengers, into the hold at gunpoint. Now they were flying the zeppelin themselves, their rotor-packs removed and left on deck. The zeppelin shifted course across the Atlantic and began to float south-east, then due east.

Will's sense of direction was excellent, even while airborne. He did some quick calculations. He estimated that he could pinpoint where they were when the zeppelin suddenly started to rise. Will frowned, daring to open the door a little further in order to look about him.

The zeppelin was headed straight into a vast, dark thunderhead of cloud above it. Will's eyes widened. It passed through the dark cloud, flickering with static blue lightning. Hidden inside the cloud was a huge metal airship, a floating fortress, many times the size of the Abraham Lincoln. It was painted all in Montperdu's colours of black and gold, and a huge gold death's head rode on a black background on a banner draped across the airship's colossal balloon. The huge airship's name was painted along its hull in six-foot high letters: the Otto von Bismarck. Its sides bristled with gun emplacements, many of them weird and unrecognizable shapes. Constant, growling machinery on deck flickering with harsh blue lights fed the balloon up above. They generated black clouds of smoke, providing the Bismarck with a constant protective screen of cloud and apparent lightning.

Will gazed at the huge ship, aware now of why all attempts to find the Baron's hiding place had failed. He did not have a stronghold on the ground anywhere at all -the Bismarck was his mobile headquarters and he could simply move it somewhere else whenever his hunters came too close. Its stormcloud camouflage meant that no pilot of the skies would ever try and approach it.

While he had been thinking, the pirates had been assembling up on deck, strapping their flying devices back on, and, from the noise and commotion, they seemed to be shepherding the passengers and crew with them. Will frowned -this wasn't normal procedure for the Baron. He normally left them in the hold until hostage negotations had been done. Now, as Will watched, many steel cages were lowered from the Bismarck. The pirates were waving their captives into the cages, training guns on them while rising aloft on their machines themselves.

A sudden chilling realisation came to Will's mind, just as the radio in the room crackled into life.

"Bonjour, Monsieur Silence"

He could hear the radios in other rooms -the Baron must be hailing every set on board.

"Yes", the suave voice continued, "I am aware of your presence aboard. My knowledge of doings in Washington; it goes higher than you think. Much higher. You have been a nuisance for too long, Mr William Silence, you are the worst kind of pest: an armed idealist"

The last cage was being winched off the deck and Will was already moving forward, bursting out of the supply closet.

"And so from myself and for my friends in Berlin, I wish to bid you a fond adieu. I am sorry that we never met face to face but my instructions were very clear"

One of the cannons, a nozzle-tipped gun, on the Bismarck was angling downwards, pointing at the Lincoln's balloon.

"Marie-Claire!", Will shouted.

"Goodbye, Mr Silence"

A gout of blazing liquid sprayed out from the cannon at the Lincoln's balloon, where it clung and began to blaze fiercely. The entire airship lurched sickeningly to the side as the flames spread downwards.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:44 PM   #21
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Marie eased away from the grate as the Baron's men began barking out orders to one another. It seemed prudent after she distinctly heard the words 'service tunnel' and 'search'. The last thing William needed was to have her kidnapped by some traitorous pirate. She slipped along the passage as she remembered it before coming to a new exit, breathing a bit harder as she had narrowly missed a man poking his head though a hatch to look inside.

The hatch eased open with no squeaking. Thankfully the Abraham Lincoln was an impeccably well maintained ship. Her grin widened as she spied several of the Baron's bladed flyers lying around, guarded by one man with his back to her. She simply couldn't resist this opportunity. After all, it never hurt to have a contingency plan ready, did it?

With the practised ease of a thief, she slipped out of the hatch and wrapped her slender hand around one of a crewman's pipe wrenches from a toolbox lying near the hatch. The man had apparently been just working on something as the ship was attacked. She readied her swing to the back of the man's head. Only a few more steps...Merde. The man turned and his eyes widened at the sight of the comely young woman approaching him.

Marie-Claire froze, and gave the man her best lost waif smile, asking him what was happening, in German. The man gave her an idiotic sort of smile and lowered his gun to kindly inform the young lady about her newlykidnapped status. His eyes, thankfully, were on her, and not on the wrench now swinging hard to crack against his machine gun, sending it flying over the railing of the ship. The man's eyes widened and was about to shout to his compatriots before another swing knocked him cleanly out.

She couldn't help but admire her handy work and slipped the wrench into her belt. With a grunt, she dragged the man's unconscious body out of sight among some crates and with a bit of a blush, looked around a bit before stripping the man and herself to wear his uniform. With a few creativly places pins and snips, the uniform didn't sag like it was made for a man six inches taller, though the helmet was a bit big. She used her old shirt to wrap her chest, pressing her breasts to her in an attempt to look more like a small man instead of a woman Hopefully, it was enough to fool guards at a distance in the air.

With a barely contained excitement she stepped into one of the flyers, and gripped the controls. She took a moment familiarize herself with the controls, scarcely noticing the dark cloud they had just flown through. Her eyes widened as the sight of the Otto von Bismarck came into view. The scope of the ship was amazing! How long could they keep such a thing aloft? Did the name mark the Baron's allegiance? Too many questions and even more arose as the hostages began to fly over to the Bismark in caged ships.

She caught the motion of several of the Baron's men moving to her, but couldn't quite get off the deck before thy all moved to their own flyers and took off with, with one of them waving her along with an order barked in German. Her eyes scanned their movements, and with that she had enough to lift off of the deck and flutter over to open air, lagging behind a bit as she was reluctant to leave the Lincoln.

A heavy spray of flaming liquid solidified her concern for leaving. William would have no way of leaving... William! Her eyes widened as she zipped around back to the ship as it lurched off to the side, making her way back to the navigation bubble. He said he would make his way there...

She followed descent of the behemoth's fall and looked through the glass. Seeing her hopeful beau looking about for an exit, she pressed the triggers of the twin guns, shattering the glass of the bubble. She tossed the helmet away and frantically waved at him. "William! Get on!"
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:19 PM   #22
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Will had only moments to consider his situation before the form of one of Montperdu's men hovered into view above the navigator's bubble, and opened fire on the glass with both guns. Will dived for cover behind a footlocker as the shattering glass flew everywhere. Evidently, one of the Baron's men had decided to personally claim his head. Will grimly cocked his pistol.

He leapt from cover, his gun trained on the flying man -just as the figure removed and tossed aside its black and gold flight helmet. Underneath was Marie-Claire's inexpressibly dear and beautiful face, her short dark hair blown wildly by the rotor's blades. Will felt a vast surge of relief at the sight of her -his fear had all been for her rather than himself.

He immedietely ran across the sloping floor to her, clearing the widening last few yards of air between them with a leap that brought him on to the back of the flying machine's frame. He settled into position between Marie-Claire, holding on from behind with his left arm thrown around her slender waist. This close, he was achingly aware of her body -of the firm breasts above his arm, of the sweetly curved buttocks now pressed against his groin, of the clean smell of her hair -of the whole irresistible, inviting feel of her warm, slim body. He tried to shake the feelings off, concentrating on the immense peril they were in

The flying machine had not been designed for two and now it moved with irregular, lurching movements, straining just to stay in the air. Marie-Claire was still working out the controls and steering of the device, although she was learning rapidly and the flight was quickly evening out.

The extra rider on Marie-Claire's machine must have been spotted because now two of the Baron's men were swooping down on them on their own devices, the guns already whirling and blazing. Will had left his right hand, clutching the Hammersmith, free and now he fired back, trying to keep them at a distance. He whispered directly into Marie-Claire's ear:

"Try and double around behind the Bismarck, then make for their own navigation section. I'm getting a plan..."
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:40 PM   #23
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The sudden weight of the extra passenger caused the machine to jerk forward for her and she increased the throttle and pulled back, slowly their short descent to a hover. "William! Are you all-...ack!" She shoved the machine forward as bullets came flying past them, narrowly dodging a hail of gunfire. Even in such a dire situation, she felt unbelievably warm and safe as he wrapped his arm around her for a handhold.

She nodded at his instruction and shouted back, her accent thickening in the heat of the moment. "I think the flyer can make it, but we're not going to be able to outrun them!"

Even with the added weight, the machines were designed to be agile and powerful, so it was with a little adjusting that she began to climb around to the back of the Bismark, weaving out of gunfire as she spyed a large glassed room on what she thought was the front of the massive landing strip of the main deck. She hoped it was the right place.

She let loose a flurry of bullets as another flyer made its way in front of her, knocking out its prop to send the man falling to the ocean far below. With a sickening lurch, her flyer gained altitude around the back of the Bismark and making sure to stay just below the main guns' reaches until the last second. "What now?"
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:34 PM   #24
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Will studied the glass ahead of them. It was much thicker than that of the Lincoln's navigator's bubble -it had clearly been designed to withstand a storm of bullets. They were flying low now, under the Bismarck's guns, but they could not remain that way very long.

"Keep firing at the glass with both guns as we come in", he said. He had wrapped his free arm around Marie-Claire's slender shoulders now, hugging her tightly against him. "Keep going full throttle as long as you can, and we'll both dive off before it hits the glass"

With any luck the combination of the rapid gunfire and the flying machine's impact would manage to break the glass.

"Once it hits, we'll rush in and try and take control of the navigation room and barricade it off against the rest of the ship"

Without looking, he knew that the devil-may-care grin on his own face must be mirrored now on Marie-Claire's.

"We were meant to bring the authorities to Montperdu's hide-out, but now we'll bring Montperdu's hide-out to them"
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:29 AM   #25
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Her tousled hair lent some credence to her wild grin as she nodded, very much caught up in the moment of the adventure. She spun about without ceasing forward movement and sprayed bullets at their pursuers, forcing them to break off their flight for a moment to dodge.

As she and William rounded the corner of the Bismark her fingers never left the trigger, sending a hail of bullets at the cockpit's window. "Got it!" She neared the glass, aiming her shots to make a nice circle for them to break through as they sped up toward the ever thinning shield.

The next moment seemed a blur. She tilted the flyer back at the last second, shattering the hole she'd made with the rotor, which rocked back at the impact. She leaped from the harness before the mangled flyer fell away, knowing Will was close behind her as she rolled with the fall on the plush rug floor of the Bismark's navigations center.
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