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Jul 06, 2022 8:58 PM
A Sable and her Ship find their Crew
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"London lost its attempted invasion because it wasn't prepared, not because Hell is strong enough or rich enough to contest a truly dedicated effort to crush it. There are more human cities in the Neath than just London, and if Hell becomes an open threat to humanity as a whole, they're quite aware they won't be able to stand against that much attention. So even if people became wise to Hell's tricks and the flow of souls slowed dramatically, Hell would not be able to pick much of a fight about it."

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"I guess I would have to know more about Devils and the War before I speculated further," she says dubiously.

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This merits another kiss atop her head, in the Skipper's opinion. "You're welcome to take a look in my little library here aboard the ship, though I don't think I have any of my books on the Brass Embassy on board right now. I'm sure I have some good ones from different perspectives back at my base in Port Carnelian, though, and if you decide to stick with us that long you can absolutely have run of the library next time we stop there."

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"I want to stick with you," she says immediately. 

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"Eee, really? Good! We'll have to outfit you better, having the only outfit you own be the clothes you escaped in just isn't good for you, and I don't think you're either of our sizes, and we'll have to teach you a little of everything and see what you like doing best, and we've got to show you everything, there's so much to the zee and you deserve to see it all!"

She pauses, catching her breath, squeezing the girl tightly, then adds, "Oh, and my name is Sable Crawford, and this," she nods indicatively at her wooden girlfriend, "is Maya. If you're really sticking around you get to call us Sable and Maya."

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"I'm Anselma Sumner." 

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"Oh, Anselma is such a pretty name. I'm so glad you're staying, we're going to have such fun teaching you and showing you around the Neath." She snuggles Anselma tighter with a grin.

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Snuggle!

"I want to learn everything. Starting with how to be useful on board this ship. This...you. This body of yours? I'm not sure how to talk about it, this doesn't come up on the Surface."

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Maya giggles. "It's okay to call me a ship. I am a ship. Sometimes we just say 'on board' or 'aboard' to be very short, or we'll reference my registered name — the Heart's Handbasket — to refer to my ship form separate from my figurehead body. So you might hear us say 'aboard the Handbasket' or 'back to the Handbasket'. She combs her fingers tenderly through Anselma's hair. "Your love of learning is so delightful."

"As far as ways to help out aboard, there are three main jobs that aren't best left exclusively to Sable and I, apart from general hauling and tidying which we'll all help with. First, you and Sable both need to eat, so someone has to to cook. Sable enjoys it well enough, but you're welcome to give it a try. Second is gunnery. I have two guns on board: a forward gun and a deck gun. I can aim and fire the forward gun well enough, from the eyes painted on my hull in front of it, but I don't have as good a view from the deck gun unless I stand there in this body, and I can't reload either gun other than manually. So we'll definitely train you in loading my guns, and on aiming and firing the deck gun. Third, there's medicine. Injuries do happen, and it's worthwhile to have someone who can patch you two squishy humans up." She smiles fondly and strokes each girl's cheek.

"The last major role is more sensitive, for me. I can't repair myself properly. It's," she pauses and bites her lip for a moment, "it's a bit intimate, working in engineering. You're the first person we've considered training to help Sable with that."

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"I want to help any way I can," she says solemnly, nodding at the import of it. 

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Sable nods. "Then we'll start training you on the guns tomorrow, maybe today if you feel up to it. I want you to focus on healing up from your escape, though. That's the top priority."

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"Healing up? I'm not hurt."

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"You're dangerously underweight, hon. You're malnourished enough that you don't even realize it, because you're just used to it." She shakes her head for a moment.

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"It's not really lunch time yet, but let me know as soon as you think you could handle a snack or a meal."

And she protectively snuggles Anselma some more.

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Hug. 

"...I mean, I knew I was hungry. And skinny. But being skinny isn't...a...wound?"

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"Health is about more than just cuts and broken bones and infections, hon. Being malnourished means your body doesn't have the energy to keep operating, and so it starts burning parts of its own structure for fuel. That's why people get really skinny when they're underfed — their bodies are using up things that would normally serve a functional purpose."

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"It would be like if I used pieces of my decking in my engines, dear."

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"...Oh." 

So that's one more thing they stole from her. And she didn't even know they were doing it.

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Maya and Sable both squeeze her and nod. "You can bounce back, though. If you eat well and stay active, you'll build yourself back strong," Maya reassures her.

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"Yeah."

But also fuck those guys SO MUCH. 

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So Much.

Also, much hug.

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"Will it help me get better that I'm down here?"

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"It will! There is a mountain on the southern continent — also called the Elder Continent — that shines with its own special kind of light. The Mountain of Light shines with a light that is life, instead of law as the stars do. That's why it's possible to bounce back from death in the Neath, and why people heal quicker here as well. I quite suspect it will help you heal as well. Conveniently, our home-base is on the southern coast, and thus much closer to it, meaning you'll get more exposure to it with us than the average London resident would."

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"Oooooh. How does it do that." 

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