The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 101: Now You See It, Now You Don't
Aldamir continues to brood over the elves we are putatively leaving behind. Since Silmir has been bathed (and dressed in some of Lt. Maara's cast-offs), we can now ask her about the elves. She first explains that she has never been captured, so she has never been in the sinister warehouse.
She, like some others, were 'rescued' by some of the locals. She had been on a ship of mixed (elf and human) crew that ran afoul of pirates nearby. The crew of the [ship to be named later] put up a vigorous defense, which worked primarily to reduce their numbers. While the pirates were still attacking, a Darkholme ship attacked what it saw as a pirate ship and a prize ship. This reduced the pirate population significantly, and the [ship to be named later] population somewhat. Silmir and another civilian were shoved into the background during the fighting, and were not discovered before their ship was brought into port. The captured people were auctioned off; the humans being sold in one group, and the elves being sold to the merchant family Hishtarom. Silmir and her fellow skulker slip away into the Darkholme harbor area.
Silmir has been living on the fringes of society, engaging in carrying messages between elves, and in picking the pockets of non-elves. She knows that there are a few to several dozen elves imprisoned in the Hishtarom warehouse, that they are almost never allowed out, except as guarded work crews, and that they are unhappy with their situation.
The political situation in the City has produced enough turmoil that a rescue attempt seems unlikely to succeed among the marauding rioters we've already encountered. "And it never gets really dark," mutters Aldamir. He resigns himself to leaving the imprisoned elves behind.
The Eagle and Nighthawk signal their impending departure, so we finish our preparations as well. Silmir is led to her new berth, and is told that we'll be leaving shortly. We warn our scholars that we are now departing their homeland. We follow the Sky Island ships out onto the Open Sea.
Mannie and the Captain consult with Chekhov: what is the shortest route to Lanthil that does not go near the Sky Islands? It turns out the direct route is the right route. We arrange to split off during the evening meal, when our guests will not be able to see the other ships.
Mandorak remains on the bridge, while the Captain goes off to entertain our guests with thrilling fabric tales during dinner. Shortly thereafter, Mannie spots a ship off our starboard bow. He has its view magnified. It is a three-masted ship with open gunports. "Chekhov, in what direction is Port Rouge?"
"It is in front of us, but somewhat to starboard."
The ship does not seem to have reacted to us yet. Mannie lowers the ship. Before taking it underwater, he opaques all the portholes, then submerges the Tindomë completely. Some people notice a popping in their ears, but the ship remains level throughout the procedure.
"By the way, Chekhov, for how large a radius can you keep track of things around us?" After a brief struggle with semantics, Chekhov admits that he can detect large objects for several hundred kilometers horizontally. Mannie struggles to impress upon Chekhov the importance of our not encountering pirates, Port Rouge, or the sides of islands.
A few minutes later, Chekhov reports, "The pirate ship may have spotted us, or it may have changed course only to avoid the upcoming island." We slow down almost perceptibly, until our chatty navigational aid decides that the other ship was indeed only avoiding the island. Mannie, overcome by curiosity, ups periscope and zooms in, so that he can look at the island. It is lush and green, with a large white rock on the side near us. There is a pointy hill in the middle. If it were larger, it would be a mountain. There is also a tall tree. Only when he grasps the true scale of the island does he realize that the tree is astoundingly tall.
He calls Eric to the bridge with his maps. Eric splays out his sheaf of maps. "This is the map for Brasil, for Skull Island,…"
That domed white rock. Does it match up? It's hard to tell from this angle. It is at least not contra-indicated. Mandorak asks Eïr to bring Jethar to the bridge. He is aware of the existence of Skull Island, but has never seen it. He remarks that it is known that Skull Island is very hard to see.
Mannie asks Chekhov if he can navigate us back to this point, after we return to Lanthil. Chekhov assures him that he can, although it is obscured by "a complex psionic construct, which is beyond my capacity to analyze."
As we curve around the island, we can see that there are two dark areas at the base of the domed rock. Yes, that would be Skull Rock on Skull Island. Eïr is fascinated by the island. She is certain that there is treasure on this island. Chekhov explains to her that he cannot detect 'treasure;' he can detect interdimensional rifts. We start to close with the island.
Mannie sends out a second sight to examine the island more closely. He can't see the island at all now. He turns off his second sight. There's the island. "But I can see it!" It turns out that Chekhov has adjusted the viewport to compensate for the psionic construction that has been obscuring the island.
He sends out another second sight. This time he can see the island, but it starts to waver. He engages his Psi Engineering to understand and compensate for the changes. The island disappears. He examines the not-island area closely. The reflections on the water over there look… strange. As we get closer, they look more ordinary. He puts out another second sight, then attaches a vibes analysis to it. Yes, it's vibey out there. He calls Bavör to the bridge.
"Bay, do you see that island?"
"If I send a second sight out to it, it disappears."
Bay examines the island with more interest.
Mannie addresses Chekhov. "You said the pirate ship maneuvered around the island. Could they see it?"
"It is hard to know the thoughts of biologicals, sir. They seemed to avoid it, but it may have just been navigation of the currents around the island."
"Is the pirate ship out of sight yet?"
"No, sir," replies the navigational device.
Mannie decides to keep the Tindomë submerged until the passing ship is out of sight.
Updated: Oct 21, 2008
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.