In the Fog (Maya Antares)

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In the Fog (Maya Antares)
Date of Cutscene: 03 August 2015
Location: The Great Mountains
Synopsis: Maya Antares and her brother-in-law, Skymarshal Urik Antares, consider the coming battle with the Taktarov.
Cast of Characters: 851

For nearly a week now they have been drifting in this cold, grey miasma.

Since their flight from Nokgorka, the Taktarov has been in relentless pursuit, skirmishing with them, only for the Konstantinov to flee into the mist in desperation.

Yet this time, there is no cowardice. They must make repairs if they have any hope of an even battle, and their mission now is too great to throw away their lives for the glory of their Motherland. Besides that, even the lowliest crewmen of the Konstantinov know what kind of man Volkov is. He incinerated his own soldiers in a bid to send a message to the Nokgorkan freedom fighters. Among the casualties had been men of the Konstantinov.

The Commonwealth of Red States may be vast, but there is a camraderie among the crew of its Skyfurnaces. There is a common denominator – they all serve together on these vast airships, for if they do not serve, those airships will be their graves. It takes a tremendous amount of manual and magical work to keep a Skyfurnace aloft.

She is beginning to wonder when hard labour and sorcery will not be enough. Already they have skirmished with the Taktarov, and always they have lost it in the fog, fleeing in the blind vast grey.

"How long do you think it'll be until they find us again?"

She startles; lost in her thoughts, she hadn't heard him approach. He's leaning against the deck railing, arms folded, a half-eaten apple clutched loosely in one hand. Even with fatigue wearing on him, there is a certain charisma about Urik Antares, as though he could straighten up in an instant and be the inspiring, heroic Skymarshal his crew looks to for guidance.

He looks tired and worried, she decides.

"I don't know, Urik." She's tired, too, and she knows it reflects in her voice. "I don't know. Supplies are starting to run down. I can't help but notice that morale is starting to run down right alongside the supplies. I guess I am, too. The waiting is the hardest part."

He sighs, and crunches a bite from the apple. "I guess I can't argue with that. Our supplies should last us a little while longer, so don't worry about those." He eyes her for a moment. "Besides, the Taktarov's going to find us again before we starve to death."

"They're better equipped, but even they must be cut off from the Red Fleet by now." She looks up; studies the featureless mist beyond the deck rail. Sometimes it almost seems like she might see something, just beyond the limits of her sight, only for it to fade back into cold and featureless damp. "I don't even know how far we've gone."

"No idea." Urik finishes his apple, squints, and then hurls the apple core into the mist. "When Volkov finds us again, but... I don't want to throw their lives away, Maya. We have to find him or all of this will be for nothing. And not just this. Kar Dathra, Nokgorka... all of it."

"I know, Uri," she answers softly. "Don't you think I want to find him, too?"

"What I'm about to tell you..." He reaches up, adjusting his officer's cap and frowning. "I haven't told any of the crew yet. Only Torin knows this. Something's wrong with the navigational systems. We made the jump transfer from Nokgorka successfully, and it's been nothing but mist since then... but I thought I saw something on the navigational systems earlier. It looked like the top of a mountain."

"A mountain? Out here in this soup? That's impossible."

"I know. But that's what I saw. Part of a range, even... but it's nothing I've ever seen before. These mountains were huge, Maya. Bigger than Everest. It was the damndest thing."

She frowns. He hasn't touched a bottle since before they left Nokgorka; she doesn't doubt his sobriety.

"If the Taktarov catches us again," he presses, "we're not going to make it this time. We need help, Maya. I wouldn't even consider this, normally, but... it's for him. We can't afford to die – not yet. If we're near some kind of civilisation, even those Transnationalist dogs..."

She eyes him speculatively. "You're going to broadcast a distress signal."

"We don't have a choice. Look at the Konstantinov. She's at her limit, and so is her crew. We have to survive, even if it means calling for Transnationalist help... if Fleet Command hasn't already told them to blow us out of the sky." He sighs, folding his arms and rubbing at his jaw. It's a thoughtful gesture, but a weary one, too. "We'll get through it."

"For him," Maya agrees, sighing. How far the mighty have fallen that they would call for help. Their mission is too great to risk, though; already their crew is compromised, and the Konstantinov is not running at full strength. She wonders if the Red Woman has lost faith in them already, and how much time they have left.

He studies her for a moment, as though guessing at her thoughts.

After a moment she shakes her head, clearing her hair from her face with a swipe of one hand. "Let's get to work," she says, with a fire she hasn't felt in years. "Marcus is waiting for us."

She turns on her heel, stalking for the bridge of the Konstantinov.