The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 103: The Tindome's Not for Burning (or Let the GM Have His Pick of the Cookies; We're in Combat.)
Mandorak asks Chekhov to maneuver our vessel closer to the pair of caves. Chekhov mentions that the dropoff is steeper on the other side of the 'skull.' Since we don't have a dinghy, Mannie agrees that that would make a better docking area. We start to back out to head for the preferred landing area.
Eļr and Aldamir are on the observation deck, watching the island as we approach. They notice people creeping out of the woods, and tell Mannie about it.
At the same time, Chekhov, asks, "What sort of device is that?"
Mannie responds to the Navigator. "Device? What that?" He looks in time to se the upright, spoon-shape of a released catapult.
Up on the observation deck, Teller points and remarks, "Fire!" Yes, there is a ball of fire coming at us. Mannie tries to enclose it with ectoplastic air, but the fireball flairs up with this introduction of oxygen. Eric, who has not been semi-blinded, sees the ball break up into a flock of smaller fireballs. He races for the loading dock, to get water.
The solidified air has at least modified the trajectory. Instead of landing amidships, the fire sprays against the bow, primarily against the windshield of the bridge. Some of the splays of flame seem oddly dark. It's probably burning pitch. Bavör plasters himself up against the window, and TKs some fifty gallons of water up from the sea to splash over the windshield.
Eric reaches the buckets of sand on the dock, and grabs up a pair. Aldamir uses his Oak Magic to persuade the hull (perhaps by suggesting that it is still under water) not to burn.
The Tindomė, which was already in reverse, accelerates away from the land. Mannie Dices the still-flaming bits of pitch to cease adhering to the ship. Bay brings another small wave up over the port side of the bow. Eric tosses the sand onto the fire at the same time.
"Sploosh!" Eric slips halfway off the deck, but grabs the railing with one hand, and fills his bucket from the sea with the other. "Oh, Lord!" he exclaims, as he dangles over the side.
Mannie feels good about his Dicing, until he notices that the windshield (of solidified air) is still burning around the edges where the bits of pitch had been. He Dices again, to put some space between the fuel and the fire.
Eļr hears Eric's cry, and heads out for the loading dock, with Teller right behind. Eric tosses the bucket up on deck, and hauls himself up onto the deck. (The bucket is nearly empty, and so quite light.) As the two little beings reach the deck, they spot Jacko heading for the railing. He is too late to assist Eric.
Bay, imagining some fire still on the windshield, pulls another wave up, on the starboard side this time. Eric heaves buckets of water at the burning bits. Eļr hands Jacko another bucket, and he too helps quench the bits of burning pitch. Once this side of the ship is fire-free, they trot over to the other side, and repeat the process. Eļr and Teller close the doors behind them. Jacko observes, "They're reloading!" Since he isn't on the net, Eļr relays his information.
On the bridge, Mannie concentrates on repairing the raggedy blotches in the windshield with ectoplasm. Bay checks that the ship is still reversing cleanly. Aldamir reports that the starboard side is still "hot," but he continues to commune with the planks to keep them from going up in flames.
Jacko and Eric find the starboard buckets of sand, and splash them up on the blobs of pitch. The flames are going out.
Mannie points out to Chekhov that the catapult is being reloaded, and that we have people outside on the starboard beam. The Navigator turns the ship to protect the starboard side. Bay looks out, and sees that the catapult looks fully loaded. He gets right up to the window, and watches the barrel-shaped lump of fire launch. With a deft twist of the Hand of Bavör, he forces the flaming missile into the sea, off the port bow.
Eric and Jacko watch the arc from the starboard beam. The fires here are out. They head back inside, dogging the door closed behind them. Eric spots Jethar on his way up to the bridge.
"I'm sorry. I'm trying to stay out of the way."
"We had to use some of the sand buckets. You could refill them. You can have Jacko help you."
Jethar calls to Jacko to assist him, and the two sailors go off to fill the buckets.
Up on the observatory level, Aldamir and Eļr are watching the island. There, up in the sky, above us, is a flying young man, dressed in a ragged (?) red tunic and shorts. He is waving and pointing, clearly directing the catapult. Alerted over the net, Mannie examines the flier through Second Sight. It is a youth, wearing a short-sleeved tunic, somewhat patched. He has pouches and a dagger on his belt, and a jaunty little cap on his head. Mannie invites the Captain to communicate with the youth via Mannie's Second Sight. Captain Finwė tries, then sits down hard. We feel his distress.
"Captain, are you all right?" asks Aldamir.
"It was like I missed the target, because there was nothing there."
"Glamor," mutters Aldamir.
"No, it seemed like there was actively nothing there."
Aldamir tries to Analyze the Psi up there. There is not even the normal background psi where the figure is.
Eļr points out that we can see the island from inside, although it is usually hidden from view. Mannie asks Chekhov about it, and learns that it is the ectoplastic windshields that are maintaining our view of the island. Mannie makes a ball of ectoplasm, and with Bay's help, puts it in the path of his Second Sight. Aldamir goes outside to see what he can see from there. Even out here, he can see the flying man, but around him the Oakley lad spots a quivering area of distorted air.
Mannie asks Bay to attempt to pull in the flying boy using Mannie Second Sight. He fails. (Neither of us has Astral Action.) The boy looks at Mannie, smiles, and rises up and away. Mannie drops the ectoplasm, and sends his naked Second Sight after the figure. The boy splits his attention between the dropped ball of ectoplasm and the Second Sight, but soon settles on smiling at Mannie along the Second Sight.
Meanwhile, Eric and the Captain are watching the people on the shore. They are building a barrier in front of the catapult. The catapult itself has been re-loaded.
Suddenly, the flying boy drops like a stone, then pulls up practically in front of Aldamir, and zooms off across the bow. Mannie manages to wave at him as he goes by. The boy settles into a comfortable patch of air at what would be extreme weapon range. He pulls out a very large collapsing telescope, and examines us through it. Mannie waves again.
Eric looks at the boy's features. He seems to be, perhaps, half fay. Eric puts a large sheet of paper up against the window, and writes "Peace" on it in Sindarin. The boy smiles. He puts away the spyglass and dives up and away. Mannie has scarcely caught up with him with his Second Sight before he dives down again, swoops across the water, and curves up to hover in the air near the catapult. The barrel of pitch is now aflame. The other people wave good-bye.
Updated: Oct 21, 2008
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.