The Republic Torn, Chapter 1-2

A ship’s crew is rescued. The gods meet and consult.

The Republic Torn

Chapter 1.

The Arsenal, Cleadsgate.

Drannor came into the map room and said, “What is going on?”

“We have a distress call, sir,” Peble said. “A ship, Matilda Point, has lost steam and is drifting. The problem is that the ship is at the edge of a large storm. We have the ship’s position from its last transmission, but the storm could complicate things. The good news is that Albatross is about a hundred miles away and Progress is closer.”

“Is Albatross outside the storm?”

“At present, yes.”

“Send a message telling Albatross to find the ship for Progress.”

“That could be risky for the pilots.”

“I know, but this is an opportunity we can’t miss. We have trained dragons now and I want to show the mound and some others what they can do.”

Nathan and Yrvien came in, saluted and said, “Sir, you called us?”
Drannor looked at Peble with quizzical expression and said, “Did I?”

“I did. Commander, where is that rig you used to extract Tad from Lain Othrond?”

“Here at the base.”

“Would you fly it out to Albatross? I think it may be needed.”

“What’s going on?”

“There is a ship that has lost power at the edge of a large storm, Here, near that island that Paeris was using. Albatross is nearby and so is Progress. I want to see if the crew of the disabled ship can be extracted.”

“That’s going to be risky,” Yrvien said. “On the other hand, we did make the thing. Nathan, let’s go.”

The pair left and Drannor turned on Peble. “What is going on?”

“The devise uses balloons to extract things and personnel from the ground. I thought that this would be a good application for it.”

“Do you have a brief? I want the details before I give final approval.”

“I will get that now, sir.”

“Call Commodore Seafisher as well. I want him to ride herd on this. This involves his command.”

“Yes, sir.”   

RNS Albatross

Captain Stringfellow looked at the assembled flight crew in the ready room. “Men, this ship just received a message from fleet that a ship, the Matilda Point, has sent a distress call saying that she has lost power. There have been no transmissions since. We are also at the edge of a large and dangerous storm and flight operations coming back could be dicey. With that in mind, this is a dragons only mission. As senior dragon aboard, Flight Lieutenant Ealgel Highflyer is in command of the flight. We will use the five SD-4s as search planes. When you find the Matilda Point, radio the position, the condition of the ship and the weather. Stay on station as long as you can, but don’t take any unecessary risks. Flight lieutenant, you have the brief.”

“Ok, we have twelve midshipmen and the three flight officers and myself. We will rotate flight crews as much as we can. The first group will be, Midshipman Cutflame and myself, Flight Lieutenant Stoneburner and Midshipman Hotflier, Flight Lieutenant Dancer and Midshipman Raider, Flight Lieutenant Hotflamer  and Mishipman Brilbrun and Flight Lieutenant Flamefire and Midshipman Teonag. The flight times will be two twentieths and then return. Then the next flight will take off and then the third. We’re going to have to jumble assignments, but we will have to do that as things change. That is all.”

RNS Progress

“Message from Fleet, Captain!”
Vince went to the door and there was a petty officer with a clipboard. “Sign here, sir.”

Vince signed the board and looked at the message. “Have the officers meet me in the wardroom in ten hundredths.”    

The officers assembled, Vince said, “We have a ship in distress. Fleet just sent us the last known coordinates and we are the closest ship. We will also have foul weather to deal with, so I want all Swimmers rested. Let’s get to it.”

RNS Diligent

There was a knock on Steve’s door and Sparky said, “I just received a message that you should see, sir.”

Steve went to the door and Sparky said, “Fleet sent messages to Albatross and Progress. There is a ship, the Matilda Point in distress and a major blow on the way.”

“How far?”

“About a hundred miles, north and east.”

Steve rubbed his chin and went looking for Harald. “Harald, will the engines hold out for five twentieths or so if you remove the governors?”

“If you want to risk something going bang, yes.”

 “Ok, we’re going to be moving in ten hundredths. I want the governors pulled.”

“Why, captain?”

“There is a ship in distress and we are the only ship with the Mark 6 RDR. So I want us in position to assist.”

“Ok, that is a justified reason. I will log that. What about the boats and the shore parties.”

“That’s my problem. You get the engines ready.”

“You will have them, captain.”

Steve went to the bridge and handed the message to Gar. “We’re leaving. Get ready to pull the hook.”

“What about the shore parties?”

“They, the boats and the ladies are staying here.”

“You can tell them that.”

Steve reached for the bell Nettle had hung on the bridge and rang it. Nettle appeared and said, “You rang, captain?”

“Yes, you, Washout, the shore parties, the other ladies and the boats will be on your own for a bit. There is a distress call that the ship needs to answer.”

“Washout and I can help.”

“I know, but there isn’t time. Other ships are closer, so there will be more people. So tell Washout that he is in charge of the shore parties and the rest.”

“Ok, captain.”

Paeris’ Island.

Lennie looked out to sea where Diligent had been and the ship was gone. On the horizon the rapidly shrinking masts could be seen. He turned to Bill and said, “We better get back to camp. Something is wrong.”

With Bill following, Lennie slogged through the jungle to the camp where the various crew and contractors were closing up the empty windows in the ancient buildings and battening things down . Lennie went to Lieutenant Wavecutter and said, “What is going on?”

“There is a blow incoming.”

“The ship left.”

“There is a ship in distress and Diligent went to assist.”

“Leaving us?”

“There wasn’t time to collect us. The captain called Nettle, told her that we were on our own, pulled the hook and left.”

“You don’t seem to be concerned.”

“Actually, I’m not. We have supplies, sound shelter, there are hogs and fish offshore and while there is a blow incoming, we should be ok. I have a radio for emergencies and the admiralty has been told we are here. Worse come to worst we can sail the boats back to the Mainland or the Hidden City. So we are not in that bad shape.”

“This is intolerable.”

“Mr. Ironforge, as much as you and your friends on the mound would like to believe that the world revolves around them, it doesn’t. The navy is not your personal taxi and sometimes higher priorities arise. This is one of those times. Now, you and your assistant need to get to work with the rest of us battening down for the storm, because I think that things are going to be rather wet.”

SS Matilda Point

Horal Deepdiver took one look at the grease and water covered Fred Goldbeater and knew that the troubles had gotten worse. “How bad is it?”

“I have the auxiliary boiler going, so we have some power. We have sea anchors out, so we aren’t broadside to the wind any more. There is significant flooding in the boiler room and there’s no way that we will have steam and the pumps are holding things steady, but not enough to get rid of the water we already have.  The crack in the hull is spreading and we are popping rivets. The ship is a goner, captain.”

Horal looked at the empty davits that had held the starboard lifeboat and said, “We’re not getting off, either.”

“Not in this. You should get your wife and family off and go, Captain. Your daughter’s change has already been forced. We landfolk are stuck.”

“The other seafolk and I are staying until the end. We won’t abandon you.”

The third mate came in and said, “I have radio, at least I can receive. The navy has ships on the way. Albatross has planes up looking for us.”

“In this?”

“That’s what the messages are saying.” 

Swifty looked mournfully out over the stormy ocean and could just see nothing but empty sea. Highflyer called over the intercom and said, “We’ve reached the end of the pattern; make the turn, Swifty.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

As they flew back toward the carrier, they flew over Progress. Swifty waggled his wings and could see a white cloud from the ship’s whistle in return. Highflyer said, “They should be able to find the Point on RDR.”

“Sir, RDR might not work.”

“Why not?”

“The ship will get lost in the waves. The RDR won’t be able find her in the scatter.”

“How do you know that?”

“My voyage on Diligent sir. We were using RDR to look for the Shahana ships.”

“That voyage must have been interesting.”

“Yes it was, sir. I have an idea when we get back.”


“Make your turn, Teonag.”
Teonag started the turn and saw a glint on the surface. “Oil, sir. To the right.”

Flamefire pulled up his binoculars and said, “Very good eye, Midshipman.” He swept along the oil slick and there was the Point rolling in the water. Flamefire checked his dead reckoning table and tapped the radio key, sending the estimated position. “We found her. Run a circle while I get some pictures.”

RNS Albatross

Wilfred was watching AS-1 line up for the deck when a petty officer said, “Message from AS-4, sir. They found the Point.”

“Very good.”

AS-1 passed below them and stopped, deck crew charging out with a fuel bowser as the plane handlers tied it down and the flight crew got out. Stringfellow said, “Tell AS-4 to sit on the Point as long as they can. Get AS-1 turned around and back out as soon as possible.”

As Highflyer headed to the ready room and the debrief, Swifty raced to the chartroom and his small portal, grabbing some paper along the way. He quickly made a sketch and wrote a message on the paper, folded it and punched Bill’s code. The portal activated and he pushed the paper through. He turned to the chief in the chartroom and said, “Keep the table under the small portal clear, chief. We should be receiving some things soon.”

“Yes, sir.”

Swifty turned, went to the ready room and said, “Message sent, sir.”

“What message, midshipman?” Shieldsmasher asked.

“To a friend. There are some things that we may need. I will explain when they get here.”

Bill’s small portal activated and he looked at the message that came through. He looked at the message and went to his drafting board. Sitting down he made a quick drawing from Swifty’s sketch, filling in numbers as he went. When he was done, he went to university’s machine and fabrication shop. Walking in, he said, “Could you make five of these.”

The University’s head machinist looked at the sketch and said, “What are they?”

RDR reflectors. There is a ship in distress and a friend wants some as soon as possible.”

“How are you going to get them out?”

“Small portal.”

“Why don’t I get started while you explain what is going on. It sounds like the sort of story that gets you in back.”

Bill laughed. “Here’s what I know so far.” After he finished, Bill said, “I need to go shopping for some balloons and other things. I don’t think that Swifty wants to wait.”

“This is a good thing you did. It could probably save lives.”

“I hope so.”

RNS Diligent

Steve ducked into the engine room and called out over the noise, “Is she holding together, Harald!”

“Yes sir. We haven’t broken anything yet.”

“We’re almost to the area. Keep a close watch on things.”

“Sir, I’m not about to stop. If we get to the Point before she founders, I will send a case of Fallingwater red to the builders of these engines.”

“Where are you going to get that?”

“I’ll let you worry about that, sir. You were the one cruising up there. I imagine that you made all sorts of connections and I know you and trades.”

“You get us where we need to be in one piece and I will see what I can do.” 

RNS Albatross

Captain Stringfellow watched the familiar Beinan LRP-4 as it lined up for the trap. He hadn’t seen the plane since Lain Othrond, but he wasn’t surprised that it had shown up. The plane caught the wire and stopped. As the plane handlers rushed forward to secure the plane, eight people got out of the aircraft, including a man in a commodore’s uniform. The plane handlers started to push the big plane to the elevator to clear the deck as the group went to the island hatchway. Stringfellow was at the bridge door saluting as the commodore came through. “Welcome aboard, commodore. Why did you come with this crowd? I’m Captain Stringfellow.”

“Commodore Seafisher. This is my flag Lieutenant, Roger Seachaser, you know my pilots already and the other four are Lieutenant Tolland Seafisher and part of his SeaTac platoon.”

“I think that I begin to see what is going on. Was this your crazy idea, Commander Littlechild?”

“Sir, the beginnings of the plan were Captain Duggings’, if you can believe it,” Nathan said . “He called us in. the High Admiral attached the commodore, since this involved his command, and the commodore pulled the SeaTac people while we were prepping the plane.”

“What’s the situation, captain?” Alb asked

“Sir, We have found the Matilda Point. She is in bad shape and has a sprung hull. AS-4 is inbound with pictures. They apparently tried to evacuate once and lost a lifeboat.AS-1 is outbound to cover AS-4, AS-2, 3 and 5 are inbound, Progress is nearing the Point and Diligent is also closing on the scene. The glass is trending down. If we are going to do this, we need to do it soon.”

Alb grinned as Swifty and a lieutenant commander came onto the bridge. Swifty saluted and said, “Midshipman Cutflame here, sir.”

“Who is this with you, Swifty?”

“Lieutenant Commander Ayred Shieldsmasher, the commander of the air group, sir. Some things have arrived and we wanted to tell the captain about them.”

“What things arrived?”

“Sir, it occurred to me that Progress might have trouble finding the Point on RDR in this weather. So I had Bill make some RDR reflectors like we had on Diligent that could be attached to balloons. Bill had them made and he sent them back through my small portal.”

“Just what are we talking about, midshipman?” Stringfellow asked.

“Sir, when we were baiting Kraken, Jorge Umevan and Lord Shahana had some RDR reflectors made up that reflected RDR signals and bounced them back. With the waves the size they are, the Point may need something like that so that Progress can find her in the dark.”

“How were you going to get the reflectors and the rest to the Point, Mishipman?”

“I, or one of the other pilots would drop the packages from one of the scouts, sir. I would have run this past you, but I wanted to get Bill started as soon as possible, so I sent the message first and then told Lieutenant Commander Shieldsmasher what I was thinking.”

“What do you think, Ayred?”

“Sir, I don’t know much about RDR. On the other hand, the midshipman has a point about finding the ship in the dark and if these things do what he says they do, that could give the people aboard the Point a chance they don’t have.”

“Captain, I can attest that the reflectors do work,” Alb said. “They did confuse Kraken for a time until they found one of the reflectors. Swifty, why didn’t you go to Jorge for the reflectors and the transmitters?”

“Sir, I didn’t know where Jorge is right now. I knew that Bill was at college and would have his small portal with him. I didn’t think we could wait for Jorge. Sirs, there isn’t a lot of time and I need to see Lieutenant Fitter about a way to make the reflectors droppable from the planes, so I will be on my way.”

Swifty turned and left and Stringfellow asked, “Was he always like that, sir?”
Alb grinned. “Somewhat. He’s right about keeping things moving. I want Nathan and the Seatac people back in the air after the scouts are recovered.”

“That is Lieutenant Commander Shieldsmasher’s department. Ayred, you and Nathan can work that out.”

“Yes, sir, we will get right on it.”

SS Matilda Point

Horal watched the plane circling around and felt comforted, even though he was sure that they couldn’t do very much. Two more planes appeared and flying low along the deck, each dropped two objects. Two of the four dropped things fell into the sea and could be seen floating off to the side.  A third struck the deck and bounced into the water. The fourth struck the deck, bounced into the superstructure and clanged as it stopped between the superstructure and forward hatch. Horal could see some of the ship’s crew grabbing the object. They looked at it and took it inside. Horal went below to the crew spaces and the ship’s tiny machine shop where Fred was already opening the thing. “What is it?”

“Let me get this open. If I can’t, send Frel over the side for one of the other ones. According to what is painted on the can, these are RDR reflectors designed to hang from balloons. Never mind, I have it.”

Horal took the thing and went out on deck, securing the thing to a hatch and pulling a lever. A balloon rose out of the device, followed by a tether and diamond shaped thing that sprung open as it left the container. The tether stopped the balloon and the thing was suspended between the deck and the balloon. Horal looked at the thing and said, “What does this do?”

“I don’t know. They haven’t let civilians be trained in RDR, so I don’t know how it works. Apparently this is a sort of mirror, according to the instructions inside. Now I need to get back and see if I can do something about the crack before too much more water gets in.”

Horal looked at the darkening sky and said, “How long?”

“We can make the night unless things get much worse. Beyond that, I can’t make any promises.”

RNS Progress

Vince knew that he was making things worse by being in the RDR plotting room rather than the bridge, but he wanted to know where the Point was as soon as possible. The endless repeat of “no return” was wearing on him and everyone else in the room. Disappointed, Vince turned to return to the bridge when the elctrician’s mate on duty said jubiantly, “I have a return! Bearing 150, twenty miles out.”

A smiling Vince went to the bridge followed by the cheers in the plotting room.

RNS Diligent

“Bridge, RDR. I have a return. Ship is thirty miles out, bearing 50. I also have transponder response from Progress.”

Harald came onto the bridge and said, “We owe K&E that case, sir. I’ve put the governors back on and the engines held. I’ll have to go over them when the voyage is over, but I am not seeing any problems.”

“When we reach the Hidden City, I will make some calls, Harald. Good work.”

SS Matilda Point

 Horal watched as in the growing darkness, a large two engine plane appeared. He could see the masts of one of the old cruisers closing in the distance as the large plane circled lower and four parachutes opened up. The parachutes hit the water and seemingly moved on their own toward the Point. There was a clang and a hook grabbed the rail, pulled taught by the weight that was dragging on it. Four men clothed in black rubber tunics climbed over the rail and one of them headed to the bridge as the others started to pull equipment up. Horal was waiting as the man came on the bridge and said, “Lieutenant Tolland Seafisher, Republican Navy. Are you the captain?”


“What is the situation?”

“We have a crack in the hull, main boilers are out and we have no engines. There are sea anchors and our engineer has the auxiliary boiler operating. We cannot transmit on radio.”

“How many seafolk in your crew?”

“Fifteen, not including my wife, daughter and son who are also seafolk.”

“How many that are not seafolk?”


“Ok, Progress and Diligent should be here right after dark. Can you make it until morning?”

“My engineer says probably if things do not get worse.”

“The storm is coming up behind you. It’s going to be worse. Ok, we have a way to get your non seafolk crew off. It will be risky and they may get injured, but the chances are that they will survive. We either have to do this now or wait until morning.”

“Now. I do not think that waiting will improve the situation and any chance is better than none.”

“Ok. Let’s get set up.”

Horal watched the four set up the rather outlandish setup as the crew gathered. He was sure that if the situation had not been absolutely desperate, none of the crew would have submitted to being placed in the bags and lifted up by the plane. On the other hand, his son, Derry, was all too eager to try it out and disappointed that he was being forced to Swim by his mother.

The balloons rose and were captured by the plane, one by one. Finally the last of the non seafolk were gone. In the darkness, Progress could be seen coming alongside. A line was thrown over and the ship’s papers were transferred along with some of his wife’s personal effects. Then the seafolk hit the water for the Swim to Progress, with Diligent standing by. The Point’s crew and the SeaTac team aboard, the two navy ships turned to leave the storm and the Point behind. As the ships departed a huge blue glow was seen in the storm and it almost was as if the Point was swallowed by the storm.

The Arsenal, Cleadsgate.

Drannor came into the map room and said, “What is the situation? You are grinning, Peble.”

“The crew of the Point were rescued. I don’t have the details as yet, but Albatross, Progress and Diligent all were on the scene and provided assistance. I should have the preliminary reports soon.”

“Any casualties?”

“Some minor ones from the lifts. Other than that, none.”

“Excellent. Send a well done to all the ships involved.”

Chapter 2.

The Netherspace

The room coalesced out of the chaos and the seven took their places. Amus said to the others, “I wanted to get an update on the histories of our potential adversaries.”

“There a lot of souls in anguish as a result of their activities,” Atis said. “Far too many dead to forward their cause.”

“That is certainly true. Much of that was performed by proxies and dupes, especially of late. Let us consult with the souls and see what they have to say.”

Harald, Lyrei and appeared and Harald said, “You have called us again.”
“We have. We wish to know what your other selves have learned about our potential adversaries.”

“Much. Perhaps this is the best example of what they are like.”

Harald constructed an image and several elves browbeat an elf girl who was apparently their slave and then were berated in turn by a young girl who was not a full elf, but clearly wasn’t afraid of them. The seven gods laughed and Brohulla said, “I like that young lady. Who is she?”
“Alinis Greenleaf presently,” Lyrei said. “She discovered my other self in Chatsrey.”

“She doesn’t seem fae.”

“She is Lord Qinvaris’ daughter,” Harald said. “She joined with a Faery prince recently.”

“You were right, Harald,” Atis said. “That did show their character perfectly.”

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