(OOC) Fri Mar 13 1998 06:03 PM by "Malachi" at "Holodeck -->
The small and strange 'fleet' of the City of Hands has finally made it. For the longest time, the craft skimmed the surface of the Savan, avoiding any settled areas, but ahead lies Rephidim now … and the fleet has begun its ascent as it has touched the edge of the 'envelope' of air that makes Rephidim a perpetual 'weather front'.
Above, the chitinous forms of the giant bugs can be faintly seen … and also the great and intimidating form of a great warship of Rephidim the Intimidator.
Above, it appears that the battle has been joined. The bug-ships run into some merchant ships not quick enough to avoid their flight. They rip savagely into the envelopes of the nearly defenseless merchant vessels, sending the undercarriages hurtling toward the ground helplessly.
A crack echoes through the air … gunfire?
Jynx shudders as he gazes up at the immense insects, how can they fight something like that? A loud 'mew' of surprise and fright escapes his mouth as one one of the undercarriages goes sailing downwards past the Shadow's Hand.
Loud howls can be heard and … music? It sounds like that bizarre music the Champion of Sound likes to play at Temple Scout concerts. Loud. Very loud. And it's coming from above. Giant birds can be seen swooping, as if attacking the bugs, but not accomplishing much against them.
The Khatta blinks, who in all this mess could be interested in music? Shaking the thought from his head, Jynx turns to Third-Eye, "How are we going to fight them? It looks like even the temple isn't doing any good!" He glances nervously back up at the bugs and the tiny flying mounts attacking them.
Third-Eye is too busy … dancing? And she has several more in her company.
She looks up, while dancing, and signs … "Zoltan?" By now, Jynx has learned the sign. It means that big black Vartan fellow…
Music? Dancing? This is NO time to have a party! Wait, that's right, she said they dance for their magic! The Khatta barely notices the signing, and nods, "I'll look for him!" Jynx runs to the railing and stares up, looking for any sign of the black Vartan.
There is a flash of light up above, like something has exploded. It appears there's a lot of gunfire going on … and one of the guns must have exploded! In the light of the explosion, Jynx sees a shadow … maybe a shadow of a Vartan? But only for an instant.
Jynx squints, there are a lot of Vartans on the Shy Island, that might be him and it might not! Nevertheless, he yells back to Jezebel, "I think he's up there!"
Jezebel nods … and opens her hands as if she were holding something in them. A spectral form, a silhouette, spreads wings and flies from her hands, shooting upward and away, disappearing. Meanwhile, the ship climbs … and it looks as if some of those bug-ships are coming after THIS ship now!
The Khatta's heart leaps into his throat, "Third-Eye! They're turning to meet us!" Jynx's tail twitches wildly in agitation, since he feels so helpless and useless just standing there.
One of the bug-ships flies out of control, a wing flying off. The head of the bug-ship splits open … revealing an armored bat that flies free. And then, there is a loud avian scream … and for no apparent reason, the Eeee pilot is split in half as if by an invisible sword!
One of the bug-ships zips up toward the black ship … and right up to the deck! It grabs onto the railing, its mandibles clashing menacingly, its head ALONE bigger than Jynx.
Jynx jumps back in alarm, what could have done THAT? The Khatta doesn't ponder this for long, as the insect ship latches itself onto the ship. With a yowl of alarm, the cat backs away from the ship, pulling out his dagger (for what good it might do).
Yes, it probably isn't likely to do much good, as that bug-ship looks as if it is about to start slicing into the envelope of the airship.
"Third-Eye! Anyone! Help!" The Khatta cries out wildly. Looking around and finding that most of the cheetahs are occupied, Jynx nervously sighs and runs towards the bug, dagger raised.
The bug snatches at Jynx with its mandibles, but the black Khatta is too nimble to be caught. There's a sound from within the bug's head … high-pitched … laughter?
Jynx dodges this way and that- laughter? Since when do bugs laugh? Slashing at the mandibles to steer them away, the Khatta examines the head as best he can. Where can he hurt this Dagh cursed thing?
There aren't too many spots to choose from. Antennae, eyes, mandibles, that icky-looking mouth … or, hey, he could just try crawling on the thing, and risk falling to his doom! What fun!
The cat gulps, that certainly isn't a pleasent thought! The Khatta decides that since he's on a ship of shadow, he shouldn't be seen, and begins to stab at the eyes so he can hopefully at least blind the thing.
With a deftly-placed thrust of his dagger, the Khatta manages to plunge his dagger into the eye of the bug-ship … and through it! There's a shriek from inside as Jynx's arm sticks through the eye … and the bug-ship LETS GO of the ship!
Jynx is now airborne, with his arm stuck through the eye of a giant bug! It's not quite like it should feel, though. It's like there's AIR on the other side of the surface of the eye. Like the head is hollow inside.
It DOES feel like his knife is stuck in something, though. Meanwhile, a few explosions erupt far overhead … and a horrib flies past.
Jynx's expression is one of disgust, after all it's notevery day that you stab a giant bug in the eye. The cat yelps as he is lifted off the deck of the ship, and clings onto whatever is inside the head… wait, inside? Ignoring the horrib, the little Khatta tries to push further into the eye, at least to get a better grip.
With some sickening schlorping sounds, Jynx manages to push in further … and then is sucked in to his waist! Inside, he sees that he has impaled an Eeee with his amazing thrust … the Eeee currently seated in a chair housed within this bug's head. There are little segmented legs here and there, sort of like levers in some of the bizarre machines that Jynx has seen pictures of in fanciful books.
Meanwhile, this bug-ship is DEFINITELY out of control … or else it just LIKES doing somersaults in mid-air.
Quickly pulling himself the rest of the way inside the ship, the Khatta checks the pilot Eeee. Yup, stone cold, which isn't too good for Jynx, since he has no idea how to fly this thing! Getting sick due to the wild descent of the bug, he grabs the controls and starts to pull, tug, and push them wildly.
The ship flips a few times, bumping Jynx around the squishy interior of the 'cockpit'. Something snaps … and the Eeee pilot flies out the hole in the eye! Or falls, really. At least it's not so crowded in here now.
So much for the dead weight, so to speak. Meanwhile, Jynx still fiddles with the controls, panting in nervousness. (Pleaseohpleaseohplease work!)
Hmm. THAT must be how you make the ship turn upside down! Somehow, Jynx can actually SEE out of the 'eyes' … and BOY is it a mess out there! It appears a TORNADO has touched down while he wasn't looking!
If that's what makes the ship go upside down, then the opposite must make it go rightside up, which Jynx does. Looking out the eyes, and trying not to be sick, the Khatta watches the… tornado?
Fortunately, the tornado is heading away. Meanwhile, Jynx can see that Third-Eye's ship must have taken some damage to the envelope, and is slowly drifting down toward the Desolate Band far below.
Jynx lets out a large 'Mew!' as he watches his ship of origin go down. Trying once more with the controls, and what he could figure out about them, the cat attempts to maneuver the bug ship down towards the Shadow's Hand.
Somehow, Jynx manages to force the bug-ship to obey its wishes … and it sails toward the Hand of Shadow! Now … if he can only figure out how to stop it from crashing INTO the ship…
Oh no! The bug-ship smacks into the rigging of the airship! Its claws are now tangled. But at least it didn't cut up the envelope any worse.
Meanwhile, it looks like a big black Vartan is flying toward the black airship, bearing a nasty-looking sword … and taking swipes at bug-ships along the way.
Suddenly, the Vartan takes a powerdive!
The Khatta heaves a sigh of relief, he at least has stopped the ship from crashing. Once more fiddling with the controls, Jynx tries to slowly descend to the ground. Out of the corner of his eye, the cat notices the Vartan. "Zoltan?"
Oh no! The Vartan is FIRING on the bugship!
*CRACK* Something impacts on the chitinous shell of the ship.
Jynx shakes his head, what is that crazy bird doing?! Wait, he's attacking bug ships… this is a bug ship!!! "Oh no!!" The little cat does his best to make the controls stay put, and yells out from the open part of the eye, "Don't shoot! I'm with them!"