Author Topic: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story  (Read 5904 times)

Offline Piemanlives

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Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« on: February 23, 2014, 04:22:45 am »
In the frozen north of Firnfeld, the winter snows were finally beginning to calm, of course the ice would still remain, such was life in the north. People drew into the streets, the city once again filled with the life blood of its people. As the city recovered from the seasonal snow storm, the city guard stepped up patrols, times like these Quinqaachi saw an uproar in crime as citizens tried to supply for their families, and it was up to the guard to keep order.

--Militia HQ, Quinqaachi Arm--

The building was filled with activity, guardsmen were deployed as more returned from their duties, a few militia vessels pulled into the headquarters mooring area. Wounded were pulled off and transported to the nearest medical facility, the remaining members of the crew stepped off onto the docks, Captain Alexander Henley made rounds as he checked on his men, they'd made a dent in a pirate force held up in the ruins of a nearby city, however they'd lost equally as well, he'd be writing letters to families again, and he hated that. He felt a hand on his shoulder, he turned, only to see Richard standing behind him. The two of them sighed together, Richard passed him a cup of coffee. They stood for a few moments before Richard spoke.
   
“You feeling alright?”
   
“I'm alright, I just realized that I'll have to tell another family that their loved ones aren't coming home.” He sighed and took another swig of his coffee. He crushed the cup and threw it's remains into a trash bin nearby, he pulled Richard's hand off him, “We need to fill a report, tell command what happened, I'm beat, can you do it?”

Richard mentally slapped himself, he knew his fellow Captain hated paperwork, however he was resigned to his fate. “Fine, I'll have it on your desk to look over tomorrow, now, let's get some rest shall we?”

Alex shrugged, “I'll probably go to the market first, I have to grab a few things first.”

"Alright, try not to spend too much time out there.?”

“I'll make sure I'm not out for very long, you should also get some rest Richard, it was a fairly demanding battle.”

Richard snorted, “I'll try, no guarantees though.”

Alex shrugged, “Well at least you'll try.”

The two of them waved goodbye, Richard tossed his empty cup into the bin before entering HQ, Alex stayed on the dock, he scanned the troops as they disembarked, he saw a face he recognized and called him over. From the ship's gangplank, Phillip Williams saw the militia Captain waving to him, he gave a quick jog over he stood face to face with him.

“I suppose a bit of payment is in order isn't it?”

“Well, I sure hope so, that was quite the adventure.” Phillip took Alex's hand as he spoke, “It's been a pleasure serving with you Captain.”

Alex chuckled a little bit, “I suppose you're not staying then?”
   
“No, I have places I have to see, things to do, people to meet, a bit of an adventure, though, if you ever need a gunner, if I'm in town feel free to conscript me, or whatever it is you lot do!” Phillip gave a laugh, Alex felt the unerring need to join in, and did. For a moment they stood there on the dock laughing, after a moments calm Alex looked back at him.

“I suppose there's nothing I can say to stop you?”

Phillip shook his head, “I'm a wanderer at heart, so not really no, it's been a pleasure.”  The two of them shook hands as they moved into the HQ to discuss payment.

--Militia HQ--

Reagan sat at her desk, it was times like this that paperwork took a rise, in addition to crime, so as it stood at this moment, from the stack of papers on her workspace, she would be busy for the foreseeable future. As she flicked through the notices of arrest, medical releases for various guardsmen, and the occasional notice of resignation, one caught her eye, it was a notice of seizure for a vessel, looking at it she read it to herself.
         
   
By order of the Firnfeld Regional Guard, the vessel Sky Runner under ownership of Hexler Davis is hereby seized for unlawful conduct in civilian sky ways and is hereby sentenced to 10 days in the city jail pending further investigations concerning accusations of piracy. Upon conclusion of investigation, should he be found guilty, will be sentenced to 6 additional months followed by 4 months probation.

Order of Lieutenant William Gates

She found this notice fairly interesting, but she had more work to do, and filed it away under seizure claims for further review. She spent a few more moments filing work when she saw Captain Henley enter the door across the room with another soldier she didn't recognize. Spotting her however, the two of them made their way through the crowd towards her, most got out of the way and saluted the Captain, he really wasn't really one for excessive respect if it took someone away from their work if the situation didn't require it. Finally making his way to her deck, he sat the other soldier opposite from her.

“Corporal, I need you to organize payment for this man, he's provided a great service these past few days, and I fear without him, more of us would have been coming home in boxes.”

She looked at the man sitting opposite her, shrugging she addressed her commanding officer.

“Will that be all sir?”

He thought for a second, “No that will be all for now. Carry on Corporal.”

He gave a casual salute and made his way out of the building. Reagan looked back to the other man. “So Mr...?”

“Uh Williams, you can call me Phillip though.” She looked at him again, trying to see if he was trying to hit on her. Seeing no such intent she shrugged.

“So, Phillip about this payment of yours.”
   
“There won't be an issue will there?” He asked as another stack of papers was slammed on her inbox, she sighed and began filling out more paperwork as she spoke.

“No, there shouldn't be, however you will need to sign this.” She took a paper from a cabinet behind her. “This is your proof of identity, when you return to receive your payment make sure you have this with you.” She pulled out an identical copy and had him sign both of them. “You are entitled to 700 crowns, will this be sufficient?”

He looked over the papers before passing them back to her. “I don’t have a problem with it.”

“Well good, now, if you have nothing better to do then please leave, we have enough to do already.”

He chuckled, surprisingly, “Alright, I'll get out of your hair for now then.”

The office was a hive of work, she motioned for him to take an out of the way exit behind her, it led into one of the back alleyways that dotted the local harbor space, Phillip glanced back to the bustling space before promptly exiting through the back door.

--Quinqaachi Market District--

City dwellers, ice farmers, and all sorts of other folk milled about, going from stand to stand looking for goods they could use, a few stands were already closing for the mid morning run, presumably out of the goods they brought with them when the market first opened early that morning. Alex was wandering from stall to stall, picking up a few preserved food items and the occasional fresh produce as he could afford. For a moment his mind wandered on the subject of Phillip, he was quite a decent fellow, though he had that air of mystery about him that he couldn't discern.
   
He shifted the thought elsewhere and put his mind to the task at hand, his daughters twelfth birthday was just a few days from now. He hoped to surprise her with one of her mothers dishes, a potato bake, simple yet delicious all the same. It was something more for him then it was for her, as he walked through the market he recalled those times when he and his wife would cook a meal in secret, waiting until the last minute to serve it to the three of them. Lorena loved that, always wondering what they would cook up next time. Since coming here, several years after Elena's death he hadn't had much time for her, joining the guard to provide for her, she grew up independent from him, and it was something that broke his heart at times.

He was soon pulled from his thoughts as he heard a scuffle in the nearby alleyway. Shoving his bag of groceries into the hands of a nearby shopkeeper, he drew his revolver and moved in. After traversing a wall of boxes he saw three bandits in the middle of mugging two young men, one was being held down by two of the bandits while the other lay wounded against a few boxes, the third bandit was looking through a satchel on the ground, aiming his revolver, he fired it a few inches from the offending ruffian’s face. Sensing something was wrong, the three of them looked up to see him sitting on top of the box wall with his revolver pointed at them. Realizing the danger they were in, they quickly fled the scene.

“You two alright?” Alex jumped from the boxes and moved to assist them, the one who had been held against the ground retrieved the satchel from the ground while Alex helped the wounded man off the ground. As they were getting situated a group of guardsmen entered the alley from the opposite end.

“Sir, we heard reports of gunshots in the area. Is everything alright?”
   
Alex looked to his two companions, “I believe we have the situation covered.” He handed the wounded man over to the stretcher bearers. The one carrying the satchel held out his hand.

“Thank you sir, I don't know what would've happened to us if you hadn't come along.”

“It's my duty, you two take care, these men will keep you safe.” He nodded to the guard who seemed to be in charge, he gave a quick salute. He pulled aside the nearest guard. “You didn't happen to see three men run out of this alley did you?”

“Yes sir, they were heading in the direction of the dock.”

Alex thought for a moment. “Send a message and tell them to keep an eye out. We can't let people like that wander around unaccounted for.”
   
“Aye sir, will do.”

With a quick exchange of salutes the guardsmen left as Alex ascended the wall again, retrieving his bag of groceries he checked his time piece. Thinking it best he began walking towards his residence elsewhere in the city.
   
--Quinqaachi Main Docks--

Quinqaachi was situated on a crescent shaped cliff-side, it gave it ample harbor space, and an excuse to build a network of tunnels that lay beneath the city surface, here a number of gun emplacements and guard bunkers were situated, enough to provide security to the docks and provide a degree of safety to those who lived out here. Captain Richard Morgan was inspecting a vessel that had been seized earlier in the week, he hadn't caught the name but it was a fairly impressive vessel. It was built like a junker, long and thin, though this one was wider, giving it a decent amount of cargo space, and if properly modified a place for a crew berth. The hull was also slightly larger in general, featuring 3 decks instead of the normal 2 found on a junker, the second deck was mostly devoid of furnishings, a number of supports spanned the vertical distance from the top deck to the bottom deck. Her engines were also larger and more powerful than those found on the average light vessel, due to her profile however she could still be classified as a junker, and probably would for the foreseeable future.

“Excuse me sir, message for you.”

Behind him a dockworker came up to him with a telegram, taking it from his hand he scanned through it before paying the young man a tip. He stuffed the message into his duster. On a militia vessel attached to the mooring next to him a lieutenant was explaining to a group of rookies how to jury rig an engine in the middle of combat, he whistled to grab his attention. Motioning him over he, and the group of rookies, made their way over.

“Sir?” The younger man saluted him as he came on board.

“We have a bit of a situation,” Richard checked his time piece. “A few moments ago a couple of bandits were caught mugging a few citizens, however they fled and were reported moving in this direction, we need a unit out there to intercept them should they be heading this way.”

“Aye sir, we'll report in once we've apprehended them.”

Richard sighed, “All I ask is that you keep an eye out, should you spot them, report in and try to capture them, we'll send who we can to assist you.”

“As you order sir.”

“Also try not to do anything stupid alright?”

“Yes sir.”

He and his group of rookie-turned-squadmates saluted before making their way off the pier. Richard went back to examining the vessel. She was a fine ship, and he was certain she would make a fine addition to the militia air squadrons. As he moved about the deck a younger soldier was crawling out of a maintenance hatch. Richard found himself sighing at the newly minted corporal.

“Preston, find anything interesting?”

“Nothing.” Preston picked himself up and dusted off his uniform. “No logs of any sort, I'm going to check the bottom deck, maybe somethings stuck in the engines.”

“You go and check that.” 

Preston disappeared below deck, Richard took stock of his surroundings, it was late in the afternoon and activity on the docks was slowing down. Richard resolved it was time for him to head home soon, as he leaned over the ships railing Preston came up from the bottom deck, the look on his face said he found nothing. Letting out a sigh he straightened himself as he stood away from the railing, however as Preston cleaned himself off he heard a faint whistling coming from afar.

“Get down!”
   
Not even bothering to look for the source of the voice he and Preston hit the surface of the pier, a sudden round of thunder echoed out as the militia vessel nearest to him erupted into a plume of fire. Dock workers brought out hoses as they attempted to contain the fire, the nearest flak emplacement responded with a lash of its own wrath, Richard followed the cannons aim to a galleon sitting in the harbor, what caught his eye was the flash of gunfire erupting all over it. Looking all over, the harbor was a mess, they weren't the only section to get hit, a few warehouses were ablaze as fire crews moved to limit the damage done. His gaze drifted back to the galleon as several squids swarmed it, he could see guardsmen boarding the vessel as they aided her crew against the borders, he noticed a rope or two leading away to the pier, several members of the boarding party were fleeing down some back alley before being followed by several uniformed guards.

“Captain? Captain are you alright?”
   
“Preston?” Richard realized he was trapped under a length of beam which had thankfully not crushed him.

“Are you alright Captain?

“Yeah, yeah I'm fine, now can you get this bloody piece of construction off of me?!”

“Oh, of course Captain!”

A few moments later Richard was dusting off his uniform, he found a few holes in his coat he was going to have to patch later, but aside from a few scratches and possibly a bruised ego he managed to get out of that unscathed. The dock was another situation entirely, flames danced about through storage areas, several craters had been blown into the bulwarks, it would possibly be a few weeks to repair all the damage that was caused, and only the skies above knew how many have died.

--End Chapter 1--

« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 04:43:43 am by Piemanlives »

Offline Don Griffen

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 05:48:20 pm »
That was magnificent! I can't wait for more! I have a theory that Phillip wasn't so good after all! I noticed a couple run on sentences, but for the most part it was perfect!

Good read, thank you!

Offline BdrLineAzn

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 06:56:06 pm »
Nice one Pie. So, time wise, this is set a few years back from the Skies have one Limit, maybe even before Burning Skies?

Offline Piemanlives

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 07:02:06 pm »
Time wise this is roughly 9 years prior to the skies have no limit.

Offline macmacnick

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 07:09:08 pm »
Delightful. Much Prologueness. I think an appendix section at the back of The Skies Have No Limits document containing this would work well.
You fine with that?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 07:10:52 pm by macmacnick »

Offline Piemanlives

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 07:17:44 pm »
It's certainly not done, but it should be fine Mac.

Offline macmacnick

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 11:56:39 pm »
...Or... I could incorporate this into a flashback.

Offline Piemanlives

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Re: Taken to The Skies: A Character Story
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2014, 01:18:01 am »
Well anyways I'll try and push out another chapter in the next 2 weeks or so, we'll eventually get to how they received command of the Sky Runner.

Offline Piemanlives

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Re: Taken to The Skies: Chapter 2 Up
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 03:22:42 pm »
Authors Note: This not my best work, but I hope you guys enjoy it anyways, expect errors, and as always feedback is appreciated.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Early the next morning several militia vessels left their moorings, with the events of yesterday afternoon rocking the city about like a skywhale does to its hunter, it was decided to step up patrols in the local airspace rather than sit around and do nothing while they figure out exactly what happened. As the morning raged on most of the on duty staff and personnel attached to their arm of the militia had been sent off on various assignments around the city, hopefully to calm the people long enough for them to figure out everything. While not technically on the days roster, Alex entered the headquarters main facility. It strange walking into a barren office, though there were the usual clerks and guards stationed around, the sound of footsteps could be heard echoed hallways down.

He spotted Reagan asleep on her desk, head rested on a pile papers. He spotted another clerk walk towards her desk, and quietly placed another stack of papers next to her. He shook his head and quietly made his way over to her desk.. He shook her softly and she bolted upright, a few papers sticking to her cheek. She rubbed her eyes as she got a hold of her surroundings, instantly spotting the fresh stack of paperwork she let out a silent cry and slammed her head on the desk in front of her.

Alex chuckled, “Seems you've inherited the hate of paperwork.”

She picked herself up, “I don't understand, how can we get so much paperwork? I thought we had different divisions for this.”

“We do.”

“Skies above...” Her head again fell forward towards the stack of paper, scattering them on the floor.

“You do know you'll have to clean this up right?”

“I hate you.” She picked herself up and began sifting through them, grouping them by date and subject matter.

At this moment in time a few more members of the general staff filed into their level of HQ, a few gave a quick salute before quickly getting to work, lest they get drowned in paperwork like Reagan, they all gave a her sympathetic look, before filing away everything they could before the next load came in.

“So Captain, that mercenary of your picked up his payment earlier.”

“Well, at least he got paid right? I've heard bad things happening when a merc doesn't get paid, something about a violent guerrilla war against those who wrong them.”

Reagan snorted, “That sounds like one of those cheesy radio dramas you get nowadays.”

Alex shrugged, “Certainly could be worse, we could be-”

“Captain Henley?” Behind him a young courier stood at attention.

“Yes, that's me, is there something requiring my attention?”

“No sir, not at this moment, however I'm required to tell all personnel that the regional council will be convening today to discuss yesterday’s attack.”

Now that was a surprise, The regional council? He thought, The city council I'd expect but actually pulling the other cities into this? He shook his head, he probably shouldn't dwell on it that much, if they thought convening the regional council was a good idea then let them, his job is protecting the city, not wondering what the hell politicians do with their time.

“So, what exactly does that mean?”

“The guard is being placed on high alert until further notice.”

“And have you told the others?”

“There was an informational sent out to all personnel on duty at the time.

“Ah, thank you, you may return to your post.”

“Sir.” An exchange of salutes after Alex went back to the matter at hand, and made his way to his office.

--Militia HQ, 4th floor--

Alex opened the door to his office, true to his word, Richard had left a report compiled on his desk, he briefly leafed through it as he drank a coffee he retrieved on his way up.  He set it aside on his desk, outside his window he had a clear view of the city harbor, repair crews were scattered about as they tended to the damage from the engagement of the previous day. The harbor itself was cluttered with debris, the Galleon was a mess, the militia flak operators really knew their equipment, a few salvage vessels were pulling it out of the harbor space, however it had lost most of its helium and was proving a challenge due to its immense size. Another vessel, bearing the official crest of Snowpeak and Ulavaar, two closely related cities residing near the border of the Baronies, sailed into the harbor. So, the meeting is staring soon isn't it? Alex thought about what could happen now, the other vessels from their respective cities had arrived before he went on duty today, the council would soon be in session, and soon a decision would be made.

--Quinqaachi, Council Chambers--

The last of the delegates entered the council chamber, nodding their heads at their compatriots as they took their seats. Arlhem Gulliver was the Council Representative from Staagmut, he sat in one of the middle rings of the chamber proper, looking down to the stage situated below them. He spotted the Quinqaachi representative step up to the podium.

“Ladies and Gentleman, thank you for coming on such short notice.” As the councilor spoke Arlhem noticed that the Navinstaak seat was unoccupied, probably verbally fencing with the Baronies, as it tended to happen from time to time, “As you know, this city, the center of our people and our government, has recently faced an... upheaval so to speak.”

“Upheaval you call it?! You call a rouge warship firing in your harbor a mere upheaval?!” All heads turned to see the Thula ambassador, one Celia Hans, stand in anger as she stared in disbelief at him, “If this is your idea of a small setback you have your priorities in the wrong place councilor!”

She sat back down in a huff, for a moment everything was silent, the sound of beating hearts could be heard, outside the wind rustled the glass panes and for a moment, no one knew what to do. She spoke the truth, something of this scale couldn't be considered minor, Quinqaachi was the major city of the north, Firnfeld would be in disarray if the city fell.

“Yes, I suppose this is a rather compelling incident don't you think?” All heads turned to the 3rd voice, Anatoli Yarlov of Hanat stood. “While the situation is grave indeed, this is no fault of the cities guard, nor the city's government, an event such as this has been unprecedented in the years I've served on this council, it simply could not be seen coming.”

“And what do you suppose we do?” Surprisingly, this time it was the Quinqaachi Representative who spoke, however the statement was aimed at everyone, and they knew it.

Voices spoke and were quieted as the chamber discussed this, Arlhem wondered what this all meant, obviously on one hand the fact they managed to steal aboard a Galleon in the harbor and use it against the city and the fact they managed to accomplish this is not something to smirk at, however it would cause increased instability if more like it were allowed to happen. He sighed, this wasn't the job he signed up for, his job was acting in the best interest of his city and its people, not fighting a force of unknown power.

A few moments passed, voices continued to argue against one another, yet there was one clear point, they knew nothing, and until they learned something they would have to keep watch, stay vigilant until they had something to work with. The meeting was adjourned and the delegates scattered to their rooms somewhere in the city.

--Skies Above Firnfeld--

Richard and the rest of the 202nd had sortied early that morning, there weren't many of them available, considering the circumstances of the past few weeks. His ship was a goldfish, running escort for a few merchants as they made their way towards Staagmut to the southwest. It was terribly dull but that didn't mean he didn't appreciate it, the past few days have been hectic, with the recent engagement in one of the Firnfeld's many ruins, and the incident in the harbor, a quiet afternoon was a welcome change to him and his men. They weren't the only vessel running escort, two vessels had joined them from the 214th as they made their way south for a training exercise.

“Captain, vessel to east.” The lieutenant passed him the spy glass, sure enough, a vessel was making flank speed in the opposite direction, now that's suspicious, wonder what they're up to. He passed the spy glass back to the officer.

“Think we should investigate Gates?”

William Gates was one of the older officers, even though he was one of their best, somehow he had avoided promotion for this long. He's command worthy alright, Richard briefly paused to look at him, as a more senior member of their command he should have priority over most when it came to gaining a promotion, but somehow both he and Alex had managed the rank of captain before him, then again at the time they were in the need of decent officers and both of them were likely prospects anyway.

Back to the situation at hand however they had a mysterious vessel, running headlong in the opposite direction of them.

“I think we should follow them.”

“My thoughts exactly, Preston, follow that vessel!”

From atop the goldfish’s helm, a turn of the wheel sent them after the vessel.

“Think we’ll find anything Gates?”

“I hope not, I’ve had a bit too much excitement these past few days.”

“Could be worse I guess, we could be dead.”

“I aim to keep living sir.”

“That my friend is something we agree on.”

They drew closer to the vessel, an old freight runner, relegated to lesser routes as they were phased out of commission. It seemed a bit off to him, why would such a vulnerable ship be flying off the standard routes? He knew pirates tend to flock to such vessels, easy prey, slow, relatively unarmed, but by now they were way off, Richard took stock of their surroundings, they’d lost track of the convoy and were now sailing head long into a region known for its large canyons and deep fissures.

“Preston?”

“Yes sir?”

“Take us out of here, I have a bad feeling.”

“Aye sir, setting course.”

As they flew away from the chasm he still had that feeling of dread, the other 4 members of the crew remained at their stations as he paced on deck, they were moving slowly, the winds working in the opposite direction. It all seemed odd to him, they’d even lost sight of the vessel they’d been following somewhere in the canyon sides. Where had it gone? He would have to report the sighting, though they’d probably find the wreckage in a few days, but the curiosity of why they were here still bothered him.

“Sir, I’ve spotted the vessel, making a direct course straight towards us.”

“Let me see!” He took the spy glass and held it out towards the approaching ship, It had come around the large spire off to their port side, something was odd indeed, the vessel was larger than his goldfish but that made sense because it was a freighter, but it was somehow cruising at a higher speed then his, which was odd, considering it’s age, the wind, and most of all the engines on her, fairly small things in comparison to the vessel that mounted them. He saw the crew race on the deck, a large crate was pulled open on deck, revealing a lion’s head, pointed straight at them.

“Captain, I do think they mean to disable us.”

“I noticed.”

“So what do we do?”

“Unless they’re smart they’ll probably be trying to start firing on us soon, if not, that gives us time to escape, Preston, full speed ahead, burn the kerosene if you have to!”

“Uh, yes sir.”

He pulled Gates aside, the two of them standing in the small engineering room near the center of the vessel.

“Gates, we need to know what they’re doing here, it’s either we run, or we capture the vessel, if we destroy it we may be left with more questions than I’d like. Do you think we can do it?”

The two of them looked at the other three crew members, Preston was too busy but the others sat gawking at the oncoming ship. He motioned for them to check on the engines.

“I think so, they’re a bit green behind the ears, but we can do it.”

“Alright, let’s take em’ out shall we?”

They cut the kerosene funneling towards the engines, Preston was already taking his duty as engineer as Richard took the helm. Behind them the Trojan Freighter was slowly closing the distance, Richard slammed the wheel the wheel to port as they maneuvered to engage the enemy.

--End Chapter 2--