We pick up back in Azu’s hotel room, where she has just taken “megajoos”. From Cel’s perspective, Azu drinks the potion and after a moment, begins yelling. Her veins bulge. Cel asks if Azu’s okay, and she yells that she is. Azu starts doing push-ups, demanding more and more weight until there’s no more, at which point she starts smashing things — first by accident, then in anger after breaking the first. All that time, Azu continues to yell about how she’s not really feeling anything and babbling with absolutely no filters. At the end of two minutes, Azu just falls asleep.
Cel puts Azu into a comfortable position with a pillow under her head (causing Azu to yell full volume without waking up), then lies back in a gigantic chair two of whose legs have been torn off and eaten. They start drinking alcohol.
After about five minutes, Azu wakes up; she feels exhausted and has no memory of what happened. She starts panicking about paying for the hotel room, but Cel reassures her that they have lots of money. Azu thanks Cel for staying with her; Cel says it wasn’t scary (Azu wasn’t threatening to Cel at any point), and that it’s good to know that even when Azu was raging, she was still lovely and caring.
[Note: mechanically, megajoos induces a barbarian rage while imposing heavy penalties on any social skills; criticals auto-confirm; and the drinker has no memories of what they do under the potion.]
The morning after, Zolf meets Earhart at the warehouse, where she’s tinkering and rearranging things. He tells her they have one more stipulation: they have other associates, namely James Barnes, Howard Carter, and… Oscar Wilde. Upon hearing about the latter, Earhart calls Wilde “a Meritocratic tool”. Zolf says that he’s no longer working for the Meritocrats, and reminds Earhart that he used to work for them, too — which surprises Earhart. Zolf lectures Earhart on having perspective, because the most important thing is defeating the blue veins; once the apocalypse is diverted, she can kick him off the boat. Earhart reluctantly agrees, saying that Wilde is Zolf’s responsibility and she gets to pick where he sleeps. Zolf warns Earhart against shouting at him, petty pranks, or generally diminishing his well-being. Earhart says “fine”, walking off and telling Zolf he’s a rubbish first mate.
Cel, with Hamid and the kobolds’ assistance, finishes the ship: it’s got fantastic alchemy and arcana, well-made engineering… and the ability to fly. Zolf manages to easily source a fitter to put the elementals into their containers. He summons three large elementals over the week (two is standard, four or five is extremely dangerous; while five is Earhart’s preference, it’s not Cel’s recommendation, because they actually care about other people’s safety, if not their own). Zolf summons one air elemental and two lightning elementals (the latter because he knows Cel prefers them). When Zolf plugs them in, Cel gets extremely giddy, babbling about the lightning and even calling Zolf by his first name.
Earhart also insisted on making a number of last-minute modifications, under Cel’s supervision, to make the ship spikier than it needs to be. Cel is baffled but accepts it as Earhart’s style.
While waiting for the ship to be finished, Zolf and Azu go into the city and heal people, spreading messages of hope. Hamid finishes making cold-weather gear for everyone, having bought enough materials in Hiroshima. Hamid also briefly looks for a substitute captain for Earhart, but when everyone laughs at him for wanting to attempt a trip to Svalbard, he gives up. Finding the crew was easier — Earhart posted a notice on the job board, and Zolf signed off on them. Although the trip is dangerous, people are eager to sign on because of the pay and Earhart’s reputation for being an incredibly caring, dedicated, and talented captain who only takes calculated risks and wouldn’t do a suicide run; the story of her crash has gotten muddied. Being wary of spies, the team is secretive about the exact nature of the journey when the crew is hired. The three new crewmembers are uncommunicative and grizzly. Zolf pays them 500 gold each.
Before they leave the hotel, Azu shamefacedly pays for the damages to her room. The hotel is understanding, because larger races frequently accidentally break things, given most of the hotel is made for smaller people.
Everyone assembles for the reveal of the ship outside the hangar; Cel has synched the opening of the hangar door to the sunrise. The group is fairly large at this point: there’s the four adventurers, the seven kobolds, Amelia, the three airship crew, Barnes, Carter, and Wilde (standing as far as possible from Amelia, wearing a fur coat made by Hamid, with suggestions from Wilde). Inside the hangar, the ship is completed. It looks like someone took a hot-rod car and strapped a lot of knives to it. There’s an engine on port, another on starboard, and one near the stern; it still has masts and rigging, but also a ram at the front, reinforced sides, and in general appears to be longer and thinner. As the light hits the ship, it hovers in place and crackles with electricity. Hamid bursts into applause; Azu joins him and Zolf awkwardly joins in, and eventually everyone does.
Earhart steps forward with Zolf. She matter-of-factly tells everyone to do what they’re told, walks over to the ship, smashes a champagne bottle on one of the ship’s knives, and in the same tone of voice says “it's [the ship] called the Vengeance, get on board”. Zolf shoots Barnes a look, and has a conversation with him about mutinying if Earhart goes off the deep end. Earhart takes her place at the helm and requests Cel be beside her and everyone else straps themselves in (Azu notices her carabiner is bloodstained but doesn’t comment on it).
Earhart plunges a lever and the ship shoots forward, nearly vertically. Cel, Skraak, and Hamid fall flat on their backs and are pulled to the extent of their cables down the deck; Zolf, Azu, and the kobolds manage to keep their footing. The ship is vibrating violently, and Cel knows that Earhart has pushed the ship to its maximum tolerance. Azu asks if everyone’s alright, and Cel says the take-off is good for their hair. Privately, they tell Zolf that they’re concerned about the way Earhart’s flying the ship. Earhart then does a sharp turn, about as tight as the ship can manage. Hamid and the kobolds stay prone, while Azu is knocked down; Zolf’s the only one left standing. The ship is now spiralling upward in very tight turns. Zolf drags himself along the deck to Earhart, who’s power-standing, and tells her to calm down. She says that she wants to know now if it’ll blow up, but Zolf insists and she decelerates just as it breaks through the cloud cover. The ship levels off and everyone (except Zolf and Earhart) picks themselves up. Earhart tells Cel that the ship did a good job, and Cel awkwardly says that she’s going to get everyone killed if she continues this way, to which Earhart only replies “noted”.
It’s very cold, but pretty, and the ship is going at about twice the speed of Earhart’s previous ship. Azu, who’s never been on an airship before, stops feeling the effect of the ship being high up, and more like sailing.
Cel isn’t satisfied with Earhart’s answer, and tells her that not everyone on the ship shares her level of risk tolerance, and Cel doesn’t want to die. Cel lectures Earhart on taking into account the ship’s limitations and her responsibility for the crew. Earhart responds the same way; she hands off the helm to Zolf and goes off to inspect the ship. Cel is quivering with something that looks like suppressed anger. Zolf advises Cel to go with Earhart on the inspections. Cel confides to Zolf that they’re not worried about the ship so much as Earhart’s “arrogance and recklessness” that will endanger everyone, and Zolf reassures Cel that they’ll mutiny if Earhart does this again, but he wants to get as far as possible before doing that. Cel doesn’t know what to say, and follows Earhart, making big eyes back to Zolf. Earhart seems to be correct in doing her rounds, though is harsh on the new crew members.
The three new crew members are taciturn, and the opportunity for conversation has not arisen, as they only turned up at dawn (for everyone aside from Zolf). Siggif is not a looker; he is a human, probably mid-50s, quite weather-beaten and dressed for cold weather with an odd assortment of clothes. He has a strong smell of sweat and tobacco, which he chews incessantly and spits overboard. Friedrich is a dwarf who’s somewhat attractive. He’s also weather-beaten, with a beard that’s short for dwarves (which is common among seafaring dwarves). He carries a war hammer at all times and has very large arms, which Cel knows is probably a mutation as a result of high level, long-term exposure to ambient magic. Kiko is a very tall, very well-built human woman wearing chain-mail. She has a stern expression and fabulous bone structure; she’s the least aggressive and youngest of the three of them, at about 20 years old. She has a swagger, like she has something to prove. She hums a shanty, and has a good singing voice.
We end with a shot of ship sailing through the clouds, leaving Hiroshima behind.
- "It's one of the nicest things you can learn about someone, that at a point of stress, confusion, and intense emotion, they continue to be lovely and caring before anything else."
Dice rolls & mechanics
- Cel & Skraak Knowledge (engineering) on the airship: 22 (Skraak assist), 21 (Cel total)
- Cel & Skraak Craft (alchemy) on the airship: 25 (Skraak assist), 33 (Cel total)
- Cel & Hamid Knowledge (arcana) on the airship: 32 (Hamid assist), 30 (Cel total)
- Cel & Hamid Fly on the airship: 25 (Hamid assist), 15 (Cel total)
- Hamid Knowledge (local) to find a substitute captain: 13
- Reflex save for the ship taking off: 21 (Zolf), 17 (Cel), 25 (Azu), 11 (Hamid), 11 (Skraak), 23 (kobolds)
- Reflex save for the ship’s sharp turn: 18 (Zolf) nat1 (Cel), 10 (Azu), nat20 (Hamid), 27 (Skraak), 10 (kobolds)
- Knowledge (nature/arcana) for Friedrich’s arms: 21 (Zolf, arcana), 18 (Hamid), 28 (Cel, nature)