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Somewhere in the wreckage of the Avariel Bob is pulled free from his confines of metal and wiring. The coal dust has settled and a man that Bob thinks he may have recognized from somewhere long ago pulls him from the wreckage. Lights and coils flicker on and off as he struggles to maintain power; and as he's freed from his confines, one of the older recordings...one Bob never knew about turns on. A somber voice fills the air.

"...I guess I should talk about how I got here..."

In the background, the sweet sad music of Bindusara's homeland flows, fading in and out with the crackling of the recording. Bob could only imagine his master there, in the main cabin of the ship alone and tired maybe with a glass of tea or scotch in his hand with the hum of the instrment panels being his only comfort. If ever an automation could feel, he would have felt loss for his master that he knew not where he was.

The recording continued:

"Let me take you back...to my home..."

Increasing Thrust

"It's been some time since I've used this blasted invention." Here the sound of flesh and bone against metal can be heard, rapping against it over and over again.
"Which means all of you keeping up with this little audio selection have been missing out; Not on a whole lot really, just your generic back and forth trades, nothing too dramatic. Very little has been heard from our friends the sky pirates, but then again we really haven't risked getting too close to the California border if we can help it.

Bob has been keeping busy taking care of the airship of course. With the small added income we have had over the last few weeks I have really had a lot of time to sit down and draw out some new ideas for inventions. That being said, as we glide here through the sky, I have figured out some new plans for increasing the thrust of the Avariels engines. Pretty simple stuff really, just a re-routing of power from one part of the steam-stacks to another, but I think that this plan will actually use less power while optimizing...."

Several explosions can be heard in the background of the recording at this point along with what sounds to be a long string of profanity in elvish.

"Get those thruster back online NOW Bob! NO I don't care what's in critical condition, NO I don't care if it's.........
..........wait did you just say it was those pirates again?! What the hell are they doing out here?"

More explosions, followed by the sound of gunfire drown out any other conversation at this point in the recording.
"SHIT, we're going down! BRACE FOR IMPACT!"

Where have I been...

A gentle tapping can be observed on the recording for a moment before light classical music is heard in the background just barely overriding the sounds of the Avariels' engine, purring happily in the distance.

"Well I hope this thing is still working, if it is then you should know the reason in time lapse between recordings. Since the last time I have recorded anything we were ambushed by sky pirates, and no not the typical kind that are out to take your possessions. These were pretty bad guys. Out near the California area. Nasty group who kill anyone trying to trade cargo without their permission. I don't know too much about them but maybe in time...

Made it to our destination with the cargo unharmed. Shortly after that while Bob was repairing the ship he had an unfortunate accident with the recording equipment. Luckily I was able to get it back online. Since then I have been making minor trades with some of the trains passing through to replenish our coal supply to keep the Avariel up in the air. As of now we are flying over the ocean, just off the coast of the Virginias keeping off anyones respective radar. Aside from the occasional hot air balloon the sky has been clear and free.

All this mess reminds me why I stay away from the Cali coastline. Things are still primitive there due to the abundant resources that people have claimed to have found there. Areas closer to where we are and of course England have their culture and art, and try not to engage in senseless wars over resources. It is also one of the few places that even though it is mostly undeveloped I can't feel much of a magical presence there. Even some of the most advanced of cities built on iron, brass and steam I can feel so much more. It's like something is sucking at the energy of the world...

More on that later I guess, for now I think it is time to retire. Bob has made sure that we are flying free and clear long enough for me to nap. This is Bindusara of the Avariel signing out."
...Bindusara sleeps at a local inn. Toss and turning, he is never as comfortable in these places as he is in the air. The warm hum of the engine as he drifts off; The sound of Bob bumping into (and occasionally breaking) things as the airship hovers in the sky. That is the place he calls home these days. Dry thunder shatters the silent evening and in a distant memory he hears someone scream his name, crying out to him. In his dreams he reaches out but quickly everything goes black and he wakes up panting.

A cold sweat covers the elfs body and he makes his way to the window trying to assess how the weather will be for the next few hours. Slipping on his dusty brown pants and boots, he stuffs his shirt and jacket into a large bag along with his goggles, gun and parts for the Avariel. He straps his rapier to his belt quickly and tosses the bag over his shoulder. To the average person one would not think he could carry something so large and obviously bulky and as the first bit of lighting crashes down, flooding the room with light, it  illuminates the scars that cover his body from the neck down.

He makes his way downstairs, the innkeeper and his daughter finishing the last of the cleaning for the night. The innkeepers daughter blushes and averts her eyes at first, seeing him come down in such a state. The innkeeper pays no mind to this and inquires if everything is alright. Bindusara nods and says that he will be making his way back out to his ship and thanks them for their hospitality after paying them generously for such a short use of their room. The innkeeper stops him once more on the way out and pleads with him to stay as there is a storm headed their direction. Bindusara says that he already knows this and heads out, beginning the hike to his ship, his home.

When he makes it there, Bob is waiting and greets him happily. He simply pats him on his head and sets down the parts for Bob to rummage through while he sleeps. After a quick shower, a drink, and a cigarette he lays down to the sound of Bob merrily working on routine maintenance and the rain pounding down on the roof of the only place he is truly comfortable.

Never Surrender

And an Adventure it was.

The Airship Avariel few low and at max speed crossing the searing desert, quickly dodging left to right as she was being fired upon from behind. Bindusara had seen these pirates before, these men trying to be lords of the air. They did not care to take cargo like most pirates; These men were in it for some sadistic pleasure in making others fear them and in doing so, showing their dominance over the west coast. They were one reason not much trade was done by airship anymore in this region.

The small armed airship had been painted black with some symbol in red on the side Bindusara had never been able to make out. "Damn, they must have been nearby when I landed, BOB I need you in the back NOW! Secure the cargo and make sure nothing moves!" The ship pressed hard to the right, narrowly avoiding another volley of incoming fire. The Avariel was made mostly as a cargo ship, and a mobile workshop for Bindusara not as a warship. He pulled up hard and arched the nose of his airship towards the sky and just as he parted the clouds and sunlight filled the cockpit, forcing him to pull down his goggles, the ship rocked and shook violently as obsidian black smoke began to pour from the back of his ship. Beeps and hums could be heard over the intercom as Bob reported back to the pilot, struggling to maintain control. "How much coal did we lose Bob!?" Bindusara shouted back as the ship lurched to the left and he pulled hard on his controls to get it centered and landed without crashing. The ground was coming at them fast and there was still incoming fire from the gunship. Bob sent his report back and the only reply heard back over the intercom was the single word, "damn!", that seemed to fill and echo through the entire ship.

He pulled back again on the controls and spun the craft to the side to brace for the impact of the smaller ship hitting the hull. Just at the moment it would have impacted the Avariel the gunship quickly dipped down, grazing the sand and pulling back up into the sky. The Avariel settled down in the sand roughly, shaking everything inside and Bindusara slammed a button on the console that popped open the back hatch of the ship. Leaping from his chair he sprinted down to the long corridor to the rear of the ship checking all the cargo with a quick glance as he stepped out into the open air and looked around to see if the black ship was still nearby. Pulling his gun for a moment he stopped to briefly scan around and assess all the damage. Bob rolled out, covered in coal dust, making little robotic coughing sounds and beeping happily. Bindusara looked at him for a moment and all at once the adrenaline left his body. "Yeah only you would get a kick out of something like this. Well guess that means you're on engine repair!" Bob beeped sadly like a child pouting because he had been told he could not go outside till his chores were done and rolled off to take a look at the engine. Bindusara walked back to the front of the ship and yelled back to Bob, "We can't get full repairs now, just get us a little bit up in the air so we can make it to the next town." Bob beeped back in acknowledgement.

Back in the kitchen Bindusara took a sip of rum and pulled the goggles off his eyes. Silence dominated as he just took in the events that had just transpired and then without warning he slammed his fist into the table, denting it. It was going to be a long night of repairs for the both of them, but at least the cargo was intact.

"Who are these guys?" He asked the empty room. The only response was the dead silence of the airship.

Later the next day...

Bindusara lay with his head against the metal shower wall. Water trickling over his body, he let the sand and dust of the outside world wash its self off. His slender pale form almost a light in the dimmed airship bathroom. The events of the day flashed through his head, every little detail. He left with Bob beeping his goodbyes in high pitched noises and waving to him at the exit of the airship. He wandered into that little town, somewhere on the border of Arizona and California, surrounded by sand and locals trying to make a way for themselves in this little plot of land that life had tossed to them.

As he walked out dust clouds swirled on the ground, and the sound of music from a local bar could be heard playing. "Probably", Bindusara thought, "some poor musician trying to make a little cash from drunken bar patrons." Heading towards the music he stopped into the little "Saloon" as they called it. Some attempt to make people think this was some old western town. Just as well, there were just as many criminals in these parts who would rather shoot you then pay their bar tab. He found his way into the "Saloon" and took a seat in the corner. A lot of people had seen his airship touch town and they would know why he stopped there. Within a small time local market people came to him, bartering their goods for the cheapest price and even offering to move them on to the airship for him. He would never let them of course, just let them set the items outside the ramp for Bob to take care of. Bob would try to talk to a lot of them, and most likely scare most of them off when they could not understand him.

Finally a man approached him, wearing darker colors for an area like this. "Some people never give up on cliches" Bindy observed. The man in dark clothes asked if he could transport some items to near Mississippi, or just inside it if "he was good enough". Bindusara couldn't help himself but roll his eyes at this comment, pistol tucked under his right hand at all times. He had left his blade back on the ship, most people still looked at you funny for carrying such an arcane weapon around. Bindy accepted and when the man tried to tell him what the cargo was he simply told the man to place the first part of the payment down on the table and to pay for his lunch tab. The man in black seemed a little too eager to agree.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. A few looks from locals, apparently wrapping their head around the idea of an Elven airship pilot and finally he went to shower and retire in the Avariel after helping Bob load the last of the cargo and listening to the little bots stories of the locals who came around the airship that day. Bindy laughed as always, and told Bob that no one would ever understand him because he was just too brilliant for them.

Bindusara opened his eyes and steam had filled the bathroom. Slowly he turned the water off, a slight pinkish tint to his skin now from the heat of the shower. Stepping out and wrapping a towel around himself he left the bathroom, still dripping, to the cargo hold where he checked to make sure everything was secure. Walking past the dining area he saw that Bob had left him a cigarette, ashtray and a cherry rum nightcap, even turned on some light music in the airship for him, an oddity because Bob hated the vibrations from music while he was in stasis. Music from his people that filled the airship and lifted Bindusara's heart a little. Bob did all of this because he knew the next few days would be nothing but stress to his partner, because all their adventures always seemed to end in some kind of excitement . Bindusara closed his eyes and listened, slowly taking drags off of his cigarette and savoring the flavor of the spiced rum. Tomorrow they would begin their transport. Another day, another adventure aboard the airship Avariel.

Take 2

(the first noises heard are several popping noises and light piano music)

This is captain Bindusara Cidel of the Avariel attempting my second recording.

It's late. Not quite sure of the time as Bob ran into the clock today, just after I got the altimeter fixed. Gives me something else for my to do list. Bob has shut down for the evening on his part of the ship, shortly after bringing me egg drop soup (of which he makes a damn fine one) and a nightcap. Some kind of spiced rum with a hint of cherry I believe. Something that we have had stored in the back forever. 

Today was quiet, perfect in some ways. I had time to work on a couple steamjack designs that I have had in the back of my head forever, not that there is much use for them right now with no real wars going on. Dragon attacks seem to be on the decline and I wonder if that is a good thing. Check and balances of nature and all. Aside from that I had time to clean my Luger, shes been a bit neglected since I last used her. Bob needed a couple small repairs himself. He's not a bad kid, I mean I DID build him myself and all. He's just a little, excited about life I guess. Closest thing I have ever seen to any kind of bot, jack, hell anything mechanical think for its self. He has a childish way he goes about things, rolling to and fro on the ship. Poor kid gets very little interaction with the outside world, and when he can he forgets that I am the only person that can understand him. Sometimes I think it's better that way.

(the sound of metal and flint can be heard along with the crackling of paper freshly lit, and a deep breath)

The stars are beautiful tonight, the sky is clear and free. It's nights like these that remind me why I took to the skys in the first place. I just remember those days...

(silence is held here for a minute, only the occasion puff breaks the near constant nothingness)

It's a good night. Tomorrow we will touch down at a local city and restock on supplies and see if there is any work for us. Until then, this is captain Bindusara Sebastian Cidel of the airship Avariel, signing off.

Testing, testing...is this thing on?

Hmm, barring any technical difficulties this should be my first recorded log. My name is Bindusara Sebastian Cidel, airship pilot and steamjack enthusiast. I am recording this from aboard my ship, the "Avariel". She may seem like a junker to most people, but you'd be surprised what she can pull off, and contrary to popular belief elves CAN fly airships. I am living proof of that., at least in my own mind. Right now we are over the Atlantic, not quite sure of altitude as Bob, my steambot assistant has a bad habit of running into things and breaking them. Not his fault entirely, he has no way to see things the way you and I do. He uses a type of experimental sonar to feel his way around here. Not a bad cook for the most part either, with the exception of sushi. Can't really find many places to get good sushi when you're as high up as I am usually.

This is just a test of my recording system, should anything happen while we are flying, most of my records should remain intact.

I ship cargo by trade. What kind you may ask, well I am not paid enough to know. Often this means my hands get a little dirty and more than a few harsh words, harsher blows and gunshots are exchanged, but the money is good so what's an elven-flyboy to do. Me and the Avariel have been together a long time, seen a lot of the world and even more of the sky. More airships than there used to be a long time back, guess people are more comfortable with it now. Mostly they used to just stick to the good 'ol rails, means more pirates out here too. Not all of 'um are bad people either, more than a few are friends of mine. It's what you have to do to get by out here.

(the sounds of glass shattering and metal on metal is heard here)

DAMMIT BOB, I told you to watch out for the box of gears! (low beeping sounds are heard) No, it's ok, just make me another cup, I will clean this up...This is Bindusara "Bindy", of the Avariel, signing off.