From the landscape we flew over on our descent, Sam believes we have landed in the hills of Mars, somewhere in the area of Parhoon. It is late afternoon. Sam pulls out his astronomical atlas, Conklin’s and a telescope. Using the sun’s position and where we roughly know we are, he narrows down our position greatly: North of Parhoon in bandit territory.
With Kip, Crammond and his offer of military help should we need it and he can gather the help, and the Marquis who prior to this voyage thought, by reputation, the Lord Percy to be only a buffoon, we hopefully have some quality unexpected help and allies during our adventures on Mars.
At this point, the ship is of no use to fly us out of here. It is too damaged now to go. But, Cyrus has no idea of what happened to us so far as we know.
Percy “If Grant gets to Sirtis Major before us, he will likely come looking.”
Sam “Perhahps someone saw us streaking through the atmosphere as well.”
We begin moving south, the entire group of passengers and crew, leaving the Fennians tied up in the ship. We see a gleam in the distance and find a small gold pyramid in the sand. We dig a foot and it continues. We may actually have the top of a full pyramid structure! We marks its position on our maps in relation to the wreck and our supposed position, bury it well, and continue. It is a hard march through the Martian landscape. We find a large outcrop for shade and stop to rest after almost 2 days of travel…
Looking up, we see a sky galleon.
Martin “Signal it!”
Percy “Wait! We don’t know who it is.”
It has already seen uis though, and comes closer and closer, landing a short distance away flying the Irish flag of all things. Several of the crew exit and make for us, and we send Martin, Will and Gerald to meet them.
Sam “The Irish have a ship on Mars?”
The Marquis insists on going, until we explain the ancestry of our 3 men. As we approach, we see Moriarty in their number! They have already stopped at our wreck blast it! Our intended bluff has been ruined.
Crammond “We have guns and men. We could fight them off.”
Percy “Not with the manpower they probably have.”
Will “We have snipers, don’t take another step.”
Moriarty “Ah sure. And we have snipers on you too.”
Gerald “To be expected. A nice peaceful parlay then, Moriarty?”
“My name is not Moriarty. It’s Col. Ian O’Reilly. Of the Army of the Republic of Ireland.”
That name almost turns our 3 white with fear. A terrifying man know all over the world for leading the Irish army. He despises anything British, especially active officers and NCO’s whom he loves to torture. Other Brits are fairly safe from him. Active duty military is his focus, as well as collapsing the British influence on Mars. ‘He is not randomly cruel’ and will give any but active military a way out. Willing to join with anyone, even Germans, to achieve his ends. He is a master of disguise, but his schemes are always grand and require vast sums of money to bring to fruition.
Knowing O’Reilly, Martin knows he never leaves Mars since coming here several years ago. Yet, he was on our voyage from Earth. It is possible Moriarty is not O’Reilly, and instead this man is a lier.
Martin “Surprising you left Mars for such a time, if you are who you say you are.”
“Where I go and what I do is obviously not any of your business. And who are you to question me?”
Martin “I’m Irish! I should know O’ Reilly if I saw him.”
M “No one knows O’ Reilly. Look at this ship, it’s O’ Reilly’s ship. Very recognizable. If that’s O’Reilly’s airship obviously I’m O’Reilly.”
Martin “Maybe you stole it off of him.”
M “Nobody steals from O’Reilly.”
Martin “Maybe you murdered him.”
M “Nobody murders O’Reilly.”
Martin “Either way, I don’t believe O’Reilly was on Earth to come back on our ship.”
Behind him, one of Moriarty’s men, a hulking giant of a guard with a nasty facial scar and large red beard plus eye patch, nose obviously previously broken several times “Don’t matter if he’s O’Reilly or not. Just know that you’re listining to O’Reilly’s orders.”
Martin “Well, I don’t take orders from O’Reilly. Neither do my friends.”
Hulk “We got 3 canon and 2 sweepers. Loaded with grape on that ship. A lot of women and children are going to be dead if you don’t listen.”
Martin “What is it you all want?”
Hulk “We want all the British sodiers in your party to come over here, and give themselves into our tender mercy’s.”
Martin “I don’t think you have tender mercys.”
Hulk “We also want the 2 Lords among you. Lord Herring and Lord Percy.”
Martin “You’ll have to speak to them.”
Moriarty “If they give up, and with the British soldiers, we will let the rest go in peace.”
The 3 head back to deliver the news, and promises of water and food for the survivors.
Moriarty “You have 10 minutes.”
Percy “So, we surrender and take the ship from the inside.”
Martin “He didn’t seem to be bluffing about anything to me.”
Percy says the ship is a modified swiftwood, a popular ship. A row gun at the fore. One on either side plus the sweepers. He estimates they use up to 35 to 40 men. But that unless they have a stable base around here they are likely not full. But, they could still have all the prisoners we left at the ship. They did come from the same direction we came from. They would need room for the prisoners among us they want. Hmm. A toss up on their numbers, really. Ship has 2 mounted gattling guns as well.
A net is dropped over from deck to climb aboard. Douglas, Percy, Coveyt, Kip and manservant, the Dr., and Crammond all give up as prisoners.
We are already talking about uprising aboard ship; Queensbury and the Dr. are astounded at our brazen nature.
Suddenly, Grant’s ship arrives in a blaze of Maxim, Benson firing the newly built in gun that Grant applied before he followed us. We rush up the netting and board the ship and capture it.
Benson is killed by return fire. Grant has daughter in tow. Moriarty is captured.
Grant’s ship can still fly but will not be aether ready for a couple months or more.
Percy gives crew option, Percy will argue amnesty for them or they can foot it into desert as deal for surrendering. Most choose to hoof it.
Swiftwood is worth 40,000 pounds and change. Our salvage reward will be 8,000 pounds (= $40,000)!
We take the guns off ship, Grant and Covey disasemble them, and stow in Gran’t ship:
2 sweepers, rod gun, rogue gun (need to look up “size of the explosion”?), 2 gattling guns, grappler
We find all of our prisoners from the trouble during the voyage on our captured ship. As we are cleaning up, a cruiser escorted by a couple cargo airships arrive from Parhoon. They came after Grant’s ship. He had been watching for us and saw our entry via telescope, that’s what sent him looking for us.
It takes us all late into the day to get to Parhoon. We still do not know who murdered the Canal Priest on the Alexandria.