Nuria didn’t care much for, well, whatever was going on in the Glacial Wastes. What she did know, however, was that a place called the ‘Glacial Wastes’ had to be cold. And whoever lived there either had to be immune to the cold, or they had to be really skilled with Fire Leyas.
She should be able to learn some new skills. She hoped…
She watched as crews loaded equipment and supplies into three freighters. These were supposed to be heading down to the same location three other freighters had traveled to just a few days earlier. Some expedition for research. Or, something.
Seemed like a good way to where she wanted to go.
The workers put the last of the supplies onto one of the trucks, closed the doors, and walked off to help load the other two trucks. Nuria grinned, and slowly, silently, snuck towards the back of the truck, carefully opened the doors, and hopped up, closing the door behind her.
She settled down and felt the soft rumble of the Hover engines as it lifted up and began to slowly traverse the gangplank onto one of the freighters. The Hovertruck came to a stop, and the long trip began.
She found weeks of hiding on the boat both boring and invigorating. Food was challenging to sneak, and worse yet was trying to use the poop deck. In fact they had already safely passed the Lost Colonies, and Nuria was sure the crew was unaware of her presence onboard.
Finally she opened the paperwork the banking guild representative had given her. The same rep who told her to be at the boats at the time she had snuck on board, had given her a sealed envelope. Opening it now, she saw the crisp Banking Guild Notes, enough to build a small settlement. She also saw there was a name card for the captain of the vessel, and a room number onboard.
Smelling herself she realized the idea of sneaking aboard a multi-week sea voyage was not the brightest of ideas. Maybe it was time to take advantage of the luxury suite?
She popped out of the back door of the hovertruck, and slammed smack dab into a tall guy, nearly 6’ 4’’, and sporting a foot long white mohawk. His ears were studded with piercings made from reclaimed radio parts. He had a massive septum ring, and a naval shotgun in a waterproof gunfighter’s rig. He smiled revealing his front teeth had been busted.
Nuria quickly looked at his aura and saw right through him. He was an Immutable all right.
“You must be the hidden expedition leader?” he asked, “I heard we were supposed to leave days before along with the McGraw Expedition. But everyone’s been hush hush about your arrival. Nobody even saw you, but Captain Elsenwehr got word from the Banking Guild that they were to set out and follow the McGraw Expedition. You know Eli McGraw? Heard he was a rich man once, raided Lurlock’s own treasure house, but lost it all to gambling on Olgog Financial Markets and expensive weddings in Tal Hanon I hear… I’m sorry where’s my manners? I didn’t even introduce myself I’m Myka Dumbarski.
I’m driving Feshta.”
As he said this, the Immutable rapped his hand on the side of the truck she had been hiding in.
“But I guess you and Feshta already know each other,” he said with a blush, “Umm you didn’t give me anything to call you?”
Nuria looked at him, and thought for a moment, and extended a hand saying, “You can call me Nuria.”
“Good to meet you Nuria,” Myka replied, “Umm have you eaten recently?”
“Yeah…of course,” muttered Nuria looked for a way to change the subject, she didn’t want to have to explain the pile of Vinvir bones she had in her hand. Of course she had planned to make them disappear into the sea, but now with Myka watching she felt uncomfortable. She put her hand behind herself and consumed the bones in a quick burst of fire leyas. She tapped away the ash.
Myka sniffed the air, “Hmm seems the cooks may have burned one of those alien lizard chickens.”
“They are called Vinvir,” Nuria corrected.
“Hmm, Vinvir,” said Myka, “Learn something new every day.”
“What are those?” asked Nuria pointing at three white stone pyramids that approached. Each was mounted on an immense wooden catamaran, and was manned by hundreds of Blue Skinned Cambions.
“Those are…” said Myka trailing off before widening his eyes and running back towards the bridge of the freighter. He yelled back to her, “Nuria, you may want to get back in Feshta, and button her up. Those are freaking Pirates and Slavers!”
Nuria felt the rain come down on her, and looked up at a gathering storm. Walking back over to the Truck she opened the rear, and waited.
Within ten minutes the Cambions were within striking range. One leapt into the cold cold waters and swam for the side of the freighter. Firing up a grapple line, the Cambion pulled himself up within moments. He lifted a sword that was more sharpened girder than forged weapon. Charging towards Nuria, he swung the blade, and nearly tore the rear door off the Hovertruck. Nuria hurled a pair of fireballs directly into the Cambion’s stomach, and saw them absorb harmlessly into his alien skin.
Nuria sighed. It seemed the blue skinned pirate was going to make things difficult. Focusing Fire Leyas on the hilt of the Cambion’s sword, she raised the temperature until the pirate yelped and dropped his weapon.
At the moment Nuria disarmed the pirate, Myka stepped back out from the bridge. Raising up his shotgun, he put a trio of buckshot shells into the Cambion. The first two knocked the Cambion backwards, and the third sent him up and over the railing and out into the drink.
“I think there is a problem Nuria,” Myka stammered, “Captain Elsenwehr said another three of those Sea Kings vessels followed us from the south. All three ships are boxed in. But the Captain said its all our jobs to get you and the Banking Guild reps out to the expedition site. So the Captain and crew are going to stay and fight, and if they give them a good fight maybe they will live to see another day.
But us, we are going. This Hovertruck and the other two are going to make a run for land. They are running interference. My job is to take you the rest of the way to the McGraw Expedition landing site.”
They got onto Feshta, the Hovertruck, and this time, Nuria was happy to sit up front. She sorta figured it was when she discovered she had a paid room and good food on the way, she would lose both.
But the last few weeks aboard the ship had raised another deeper concern for Nuria. Unless the Glacial Wastes already had towns that would take the bank notes she carried, Nuria had no idea how she was going to supply food for herself…
The Hovertruck flew across the water, with a pair following. One of the pair had its entire rear section annihilated, and fell into the icy waters. The remaining Hovertruck caught up to Feshta and they set off towards the shore.