"Captain, we've got six incoming fighters off the port bow to the south," the young radio operator of the Atlanta Princess listened to the turrent gunner's chatter as the two escorting F9 Kingfisher's broke formation.
"Call battle stations. Launch our fighters," Captain Dan Kirk rubbed his forehead worredly. Even though the Atlanta Princess carried six of the Fairchild fighters as escort, and had Twin .50's on it's engines, she wasn't a combat zeppelin, she was a fast cargo zeppelin. Hopefully if the Princess could pick up full speed and the fighters hurt the incoming fighters, it would be enough to get them to back off while the zeppelin high-tailed it out of there. She was capable of going almost 90MPH....officially that is.
"Helmsman, increase engine RPM to 3,500. Bring our speed up to eighty two knots. Call battlestations, and form damage control teams from non-essential crew, unlock the armory and begin issuing weapons."
"Yes sir," the helmsman began pushing the various levers and switches arrayed around his control, pressing the engines harder and adjusting the course ever so slightly.
"Sir, what about the passengers?" the radioman asked. He was young, barely twenty, and the first combat he'd witnessed was having an effect on his calm.
Kirk sighed, "Get on intercom, tell them to remain in their rooms until this blows over," of all the times for passengers, the Princess was carrying it's first for almost two months, and the one time, it had to be in combat.
"SIR Nose flak gunners report six fighters inbound from the north," the radio operator nearly shouted the sentance.
"Calm. Ease up Chalmers," Kirk appeared calm on the outside, but was sweating bullets on the inside. A confirmed twelve fighters against his six. They were definately outgunned. Even the turrets weren't that much of a evener against those odds. Contemplating surrender, he shook his head. It was worth the risk considering there was only four passengers. Their cargo consisted of a valuable load of Dixie tobacco to Hollywood. Part of the shipment was due for Tuscon as well, albeit a small load.
"Recall the fighters. If they can, have them form a defence around the zeppelin, keep the major attacks off us, but leave it to our turrets if they can," the captain ordered, "And increase engine RPM to 3,600."
"Yes sir," the melmsman replied. His increase in power was met almost immediately by the appearance of the zeppelin's chief engineer on the bridge.
"Bloo'y 'ell Cap'in. Ye' ca'ot poosh da engine's anee mo're or yah'r goh'na bloo sum'in." Scott, their chief engineer exploded in one of his worse outbursts of Scottish-barely English language.
The zeppelin's commander shook his head, "Not now Scot. I know it's tough on 'em, but we don't have a choice. The longer we can go, we might get help." Kirk doubted it, as many Arixo militias were quite small, and reserved their aircraft for attacks on their own nation's registered zeppelins and small pirate raiding parties. However they were close to Tuscon, which was home to one of the larger Arixo militias, just maybe....
"ZEPPELIN DEAD AHEAD," hollared the helmsman. The entire bridge jerked their heads forward and looked at the zeppelin. Long, a dark green cloth on it, so dark as to appear black, with the emblem of a skeleton brandishing a sword on it's nose.
"Damn," Kirk uttered, "The Reefers." A particularly bloodthirsty band from Pacifica, with tendancies that varied weekly, however usually leaned towards annihilating a zeppelin's crew then torching.
"Zeppelin Atlanta Princess. Stand down yer fighters 'n crew 'n prepare to be boarded. Failure will result in death," came the brusque and growling voice over the radio.
"Sir?" asked the radioman, waiting to send a response.
"Forget it," the captain responded, "Issue arms to all crew, even damage control, gunnery crews and mechanics."
"Sir?" he asked again.
"They're ruthless. They aren't going to let us go anyway," was the response.
With a loud explosion the another engine blew off of it's mounting, leaving the New York Princess with only two engines, and virtually dead in the water.
"Get 'er in close," Jack "Wrecker" Logan commanded "Thugee" Jahani, the pilot of the Scourge, the light battle zeppelin of the Wrecker's pirate band, "We gotta get close enough to fire the boarding lines."
"Yeas boss," the man replied, he carefully watched the opposing zeppelin as he regulated the engines on the zeppelins, swinging the Scourge in alongside the crippled cargo zeppelin.
Wrecker Logan turned to a pirate standing beside him, "Harvey, get to engine nacelles two. Have the gunner soften up the entry hatches behind the fourth and fifth engine mountings," the man nodded and then turned out of the bridge.
"Keep 'er steady Jahan, we're going in," Logan turned to the assembled pirates, "Okay, we're up."
The group walked out onto the deck of the gondola. The harpoon cannons fired and hooks carrying light cables soon stretched from the Scourge's gondola to the now destroyed engine nacelles of the Dixie zeppelin. Each nacelles had an entryway into the zeppelin, and with three lines now connecting the zeppelins, it was doubtful enough resistance could be made from the defenders. However as an insurance, one of the pirate engine gunners opened up with the twin .60's mounted on them. Short bursts of .60 caliber Armor Piercing rounds ripped through the doorways, shattering the locks and ripping through any defenders that were just inside waiting for boarders.
"ONTO HER BOYS," Jack Logan roared. With experianced moves, the pirates hooked their harnesses onto the lines and began working their way across to their target. Occasionally a shot would ring from an opening in the zeppelin, however the watchfull turret gunners of the Scourge quickly peppered the shooter with heavy machine gun rounds, forcing the defenders to await boarding.
A dozen boarders made their way across. Opening the hatches was met with the roar of shotguns, pistols and submachine guns. However the pirates experiance with weapons and boarding was far superior to the armed crewmen.
Jack Logan stopped just short of the corridor's corner and peeked around the edge. Almost immediately he yanked back out of sight as a dozen rounds impacted the light paneling around him, some stopped while a few penetrated but didn't hit him.
"Three behin' a barricade in the hall, one each on doors alongside," he whispered to the team behind him. They nodded and readied their weapons. They were close to the bridge, probably the final hurrah from the defenders.
Logan holstered his revolver and withdrew the converted 1911 from it's holster. Flipping off the safety he stuck his hand around the corner without aiming. The now-full automatic recoilled and emptied the 18 round magazine into the hallway. Under his covering fire two pirates with Thompsons barreled around the corner. Not bothering to aim they mashed down on the triggers, firing on the run, the hail of bullets caught one crewman, while another was already down from Logan's fire. The defenders were shaken by the ferocious attack and just managed to drop one pirate short of the baricade. The other got behind them and at point blank range finished off the three unwounded defenders
Jack and the remaining pair of pirates quickly stepped over the barricade and the downed pirate. Only the finale pirate spared a glance at him, and quickly determined him dead from the bullet wound in his chest.
Reaching the door, Logan stopped. He tapped experimentally but knew the answer. Solid steel. The newer zeppelins were being built to repel boarders. Unless they came prepared that is.
Kirk and the rest of the bridge crew remained silent, sitting behind the improvised barricades constructed from crates brought in, or several storage columns in the middle of the room. Weapons drawn, they waited. The shooting outside had stopped, but no one entered.
'Hmm," Kirk thought,' The door wasn't locked. wonder if they...." BAWHOOOM. The explosion rocked the bridge, peppering the crew with shrapnel from the door, while the concussion stunned everyone inside. That was one reason that few zeppelins had steel doors.
Through the smoke a long burst of machine gun fire rattled through the door. .45 rounds sprayed the room, shattering control handles and blowing out the glass on the bridge windows.
"Com'on out with yer hands up," Logan bellow through the doorway. A response to his ultimatum was a barrage of gunfire, fired haphazardly through the smoke.
"Okay, that's the way you wanna play," Jack grinned savagely and yanked a grenade from his pocket. He pulled the pin and threw it into the bridge. Instead of the usual explosion, it began expelling smoke, and even with the shattered windows, filled the room. The pirate leader pulled his .44 revolver and shifted the full automatic .45 to his left hand.
Just rising from his crouch another of his band came around the corner behind him, "Boss. We got the Professor, he's heading across the zipline to our Zep, spotters also report four aircraft coming in from the north, 'bout 50 miles out."
"Damn," Jack muttered, 'Oh well. Guess I'll hafta just leave a present instead.' He withdrew a second grenade, pulled the pin and tossed it into the bridge, "Okay boys, let's get the hell outta here."
Two cowboys lounged alongside their autogyro in the desert just outside the Navajo Nation's boundary lines. The autogyro's radio was playing a bluegrass tune out of Tuscon and the fire had just started the coffee boiling. All of a sudden the radio squawked and garbled out into static.
"What the..." the one pondered as he looked into the cockpit and fiddled with the dial. All of a sudden a voice came across the radio.
"Anyone who can listen, please. We're under pirate attack, I believe we may be captured. If you can assist, we're at...." the radio fuzzed out, "If you can't, go to the Longhorn Bar in Tuscon...Contact..." the radio scrabbled again, "and let .." it fizzed out, "know what's happened. I don't recognize the planes, they look dark green, they've got some kind of skeleton insignia on them. I....." the radio didn't fitz out but the man's voice was cut off.
A few seconds later the voice came on the radio again, "Uh..hhh..huh. If anyone recieves this, please come to Colorado, Durango airfield. I need help, I'll pay what you ask, just come."
Several hundred miles east, a freak radio transmission comes across a pilot escorting a passenger zeppelin. The same message.
"What the?" the pilot thought.
At the Longhorn Bar in Tuscon.
One of the band players looked up from his intrument at the bar. Lot of people in here tonight.
Somewhere in Free Colorado.
"You're sure that's what it said?" Grant Olson snapped at the man.
"Yeah boss. Started writing the moment it came through," John "John Paul" Jones, the captain of the Montana Raider's zeppelin Helena chewed on a cigar, "That's what she wrote."
Grant looked at the message, "I don't care who it is. But if the Wreckers got them we're involved. Get whatever crew that's onboard and get them out into Sky Haven, drag everyone back here, we're loading up and getting out of here in six hours."
"Aye, aye boss," the man replied.
Okay boys, thar' she is. No real rules except:
No taking actions for opposing players. For example typing conversation is allowed,etc. But YOU CANNOT just randomly kill off opposing people (NPC's maybe...all depends on how the Game Manager (me) decides tough they are.
This is going to be very loose. I have a rough storyline in my head, but abandoned a rigid structure for more free-styling. How a person reacts to their surroundings will matter.
For example. At the moment, with the above, a player can choose to either:
A. Go to Durango Airfield in Colorado.
B. Go to the Longhorn Bar in Tuscon Arixo.