Part 42: LoyaltiesJournal entry forty-one Loyalties
From The Journal of Captain Petra Blackwood,
January 9th, 1889
This has been an amazing experience on many levels.
Even the trip was illuminating, in a way. I didn't imagine a system of locks could travel so far up.
Everything here is bright in a way it never is in the Neath. The breeze comes in strong, and there are birds and insects everywhere. It is as unlike the 'Neath as deep amber from marmalade.
Fortunately, the trip wasn't far, and largely kept to the shallow waters near the coasts. I've been told the Mediterranean is the shallowest and calmest of all the surface seas, and even so, I don't think the Checkmate is built for the kind of weather they see up here.
We put into port in Naples. The city was vibrant. Alive. Noisy and hot. It was like London in many ways, but more different than similar.
To my surprise, as we prepared to disembark from the ship, Phoebe came on-deck and made a request of me. She wanted to go visit her homeland. Of course, I wasn't going to refuse; The ticket was not insignificant, but not expensive enough that it mattered, not in the long run. I hope the woman finds peace up here that she never could have below.
Say hello to one of the Legacy items. 'A Dream of Red' gives all future captains +25 Hearts. You get it for finding Phoebe a proper home. There's two places to do it, but the surface is really far, far easier of the two.
Unfortunately, I had to go even further inland if I was to properly sell off the coffee I'd brought. A ride on a train was all it took, of course... The Surface is so vast. There are no railways this long in the 'Neath. Hardly any rails at all, in fact.
Vienna seems to have a problem. The revolutionaries that plot in London seem to have taken nest here, as well. Probably no small number of English ex-patriots, displaced by the selling of their city, have come here and now brood in hate and resentment.
An individual even recognized me as a 'Neather, probably because of my skin, and asked if I'd be returning below soon. And if I could bring something with me. I said I'd think about it and moved on.
I eventually found a man interested in buying my coffee. The owner of a coffee shop an establishment that looked like it would be right at home in Veilgarden, a place after my own heart. The owner is a dreary man, but he knows good coffee when he tastes it and offered a more-than-fair price for the load I'd brought up. It was, indeed, enough to cover the trip.
Upon my return to Naples, I checked in with my crew. I'd left a few orders while I was away.
Slaan had done well in terms of provisioning the ship. Food here is so very cheap, compared to below, and for such quality! We could eat like kings here. Kings of the 'Neath, at least. It does, a little, make me wonder what the kings up here eat. I cannot imagine how one can make food more luxurious than this.
The crew had gotten a chance to taste the life of the surface. As I prepared to depart, the crew assembled, and we all noticed Lotus was missing. Maybe she has decided to stay. Perhaps the Sun got her. Either way, we don't have time to stay and look for her.
Finally, we returned to the Neath. I can now say what few of my generation can I've visited the Surface and returned unharmed. I enjoyed myself, certainly, but I feel like... Whatever I was meant to do, to learn, went undone. I'll have to consider that, and make a return trip soon.
Perhaps the oddest thing of all of this Upon returning to the 'Neath, everyone is insisting it's still January 9th, despite me spending four days on the surface. Well. I'm not going to argue with every person I meet. I think it's best just not to think about this.
For now, we head north, to return to London and restock.
January 10th, 1889
Having seen cities comparable in London in size, now, I feel more happy than ever to be coming home. There's just something comforting about this place.
As soon as we arrived in London, the Hands-On Diplomat told me it was time to complete my charge. I oversaw docking as quickly as possible and started to fill me in on the details of the mission.
It was enough to start giving me second thoughts. On the other hand, if he is working with Snuffers, maybe he's not the man I thought he was.
Voting time! On two different issues, in fact.
First, do we support the anarchists? I should point out, Supremacy London and Supremacy Anarchists are, naturally, mutually exclusive. And we're almost done with the London supremacy. Finishing Port Carnelian should do it.
Second, do we let the Hands-On Diplomat get her hands on the dapper chap, or do we save him?