After many days travel, I finally arrive at Earthside Terminus. Not long after my arrival, I spotted one of the McHenry fliers. It contained the details that I expected, and 1 that I didn’t. It instructed all applicants to report to the Old Water Saloon. A line at the bottom then stated that they would be hiring in groups of 2? Pairs? It would’ve been pleasant to have known about this before now! At any rate I have little choice but to press on. Hopefully there will be others who have arrived sans partner. I’m sure that I can find someone who’d be willing to join forces.
I easily found the saloon and entered. The place was packed. Almost all of the tables were occupied. 2 people sat at each. The exceptions were 3 tables in the back. 1 person sat at each. An individual dressed similar to myself, a wiry looking oriental guy, and a burly chap with 2 cavalry sabers and a full beard. After sizing up all 3, I elected to approach the big guy, he looks like the one most able to handle himself in a fight.
I approached the table and asked to be seated. The Scot, James claimed to be seeking a position as a bodyguard. I informed him that McHenry was seeking teams and asked if he wished to pair up. He readily agreed once I identified myself as a physician. Our agreement made, I settled in to wait. Tables were being called upstairs in turn. As I’d been the last to arrive it looks as we will be the last table. Meanwhile, the other chap had approached the wiry Chinese fellow and had made a similar arrangement.
We saw several pairs come back down looking upset, with a few looking like they’d gotten good news. Eventually we were called up. We were directed to a small room that had been mostly cleared. Within was Joshua McKinney, he sat at a small table and was surrounded by stacks of files. The interview then began. James spoke about his experience as a warrior, fighting in inter-clan conflicts. I recounted my experiences fighting in the Cree campaigns with the 12th cavalry. I went on to speak of my medical training, both as a physician and a combat medic along with my interest in historical research and experience treating patients with pneumatic augments. McKinney seemed impressed.
Then something odd happened. McKinney dug into his stacks and pulled out a couple of folders. As he read through it seems that he had a file on each of us? How in the hell could he have that? No one knew that I was coming here? He then asked James and myself some questions about our past. Our answers seemed to satisfy, for he soon after offered us positions with McHenry. Rooms would be provided for tonight, then tomorrow morning we would meet in the lobby and depart for Malifaux!
We gathered the next morning and met our co-workers. Roger Jones and Xun Chang were the other 2 that were forced by circumstance to team up. There was the brother/sister team of Stav and Madeline VonDrex. Twin brothers Todd & Joe Skaggs. John & Jessica Bradwell, a married couple. Lastly there was Steven Frost and Lorna Stockman.
A brief orientation followed. We would be leaving on the 11AM train for Malifaux but there was an 11:30 if anyone happened to miss the 1st train. He then gave us our travel papers and company ID badges, they were cast to resemble the brass base of a shell with the letters “MSEC” embossed around the edges. MSEC HQ was located in the North Industrial Zone and we’d be bunking up 2 per room. McKinney then ordered everyone with any kind of contraband to load it into a large trunk that he’d provided. Everyone who had weapons or other illicit items then loaded them into the trunk. The trunk was then locked and Roger given the key and 10 script to bribe the train guards. We then had a couple hours to kill before the train departed.
Steven and James were tasked to carry the trunk and we made our way to Earthside Station. We all had business class seats, so while not as upscale as the Guild cars it was certainly better than the steerage cars. I boarded the train with McKinney, Steven, Lorna, the Skaggs’s and the Bradwell’s. The others were tasked with getting the trunk loaded and bribing the train guards.
Our car was fairly comfortable. The others joined us and took their seats not long after us. Sharing the car with us was a family of 7, a scandalously dressed young woman, a man who kept shuffling a deck of cards, and a foul smelling fellow that seemed to be passed out drunk. Shortly before departure, our last companion arrived. Mathias Gerber, a congressman from Texas was shoved into the car. He had an over inflated sense of his own importance and made no secret of his offense at the treatment that he’d received. He paid James to trade seats with him as sitting at the same table as the drunk violated his sensibilities. He’d just taken his seat when the train began to move.
We began to roll. Most of us passed the time by taking in the sights. Gerber however, was a talker. He and the gambler fell into conversation. It seems that they were both headed to a poker tournament being held at the Honeypot casino. It seems that Gerber had been personally invited by someone named Lynch.
The talk died away as we approached the Breach. The closer we came, the more the surrounding areas began to shine with a bluish glow. Brighter and brighter it got, then a blinding flash of light. I have to admit that I didn’t expect it to happen to me, but, just as Scaribus described, I too in that instant got the briefest glimpse of my destiny. It was gone just as quickly as it had struck, leaving only a few cryptic sentences in my mind. I quickly made note of them so as not to forget. I wonder what it all means?
We arrived at Malifaux Station shortly after 11:30. The train had barely come to a halt when Gerber was on his feet, shoving his way off of the train. Through the window, we watched him be greeted by this greasy looking fellow. They quickly shuffled off. As we observed this, we also saw a woman with a large sword patrolling with 2 smaller cloaked figures. I remember JS describing these things; Witchling Stalkers, the Guild’s magic bloodhounds. McKinney seemed apprehensive at their presence and was nervous as he led us all off the train. He took the first group save me to secure transportation, the remainder of us were sent to get the baggage. I’m sure that it had nothing to do with not wanting to be around as we retrieved a trunk loaded with contraband.
We joined the crowd at the baggage car. As we were waiting we heard a commotion. A Sgt. ordered the guards at the baggage car away to help with a VIP. One of the guards called away was apparently the guard that the others had bribed to look the other way. The Interrogator and her 2 Stalkers were called over to handle the baggage inspections. I’ve read about them, they say that one look from an Interrogator can peel back your mind like an onion, laying all of your secrets bare.
A well-dressed individual in a mask soon appeared with the guards. They were surrounding a veiled woman. We overheard the man in the mask telling them to “make sure she gets to my office by 4:00, be careful, she’s squirrely.” He then hurried off leaving the guards to escort their guest.
The Interrogator was quickly moving the line along. She didn’t look at a single piece of luggage. As people stepped up she only looked at their faces. So, we did our best to act casual and began to retrieve our bags. As Stav and James began to move the trunk, one of the Stalkers began growling at it. The Interrogator order the trunk opened. When no one produced a key, she order a Stalker to blast it open. Once opened, she began to dig through it. It didn’t take long for her to pull out a book of mathematics. The book that Roger had placed within. She immediately looked at Stav and asked “who is Roger Jones?” The blood drained from his face and even though he didn’t speak a word, she turned immediately toward Roger and ordered his arrest!
Here is when all hell broke loose! At this moment, the 11:30 train roared into the station on the other track and screeched to a halt. It was engulfed in flames! We heard screaming from within. The station clock struck noon and began to chime. At the same moment, the 4 guards and the woman they were escorting had reached the area in which we stood. All of a sudden, the woman appeared next to Xun. I heard her whispering to him. She asked for his help in escaping, but insisted that the 2 of them had to leave alone! The Interrogator drew her sword and shot a bolt of fire at Roger, he responded with a blast of ice. Both missed, but this is quite interesting. It seems that Roger is a practicing spell caster! Interesting!
Xun and the woman took off at a dead run and most everyone else followed suit. Unfortunately the guards had completely surrounded me just before all this began going down. The Interrogator ordered us all arrested and I found myself starring down the barrels of 2 pistols! The other guards and the Stalkers went after the others who’d run. We were all shaken as the 11:30 began to explode and the screaming stopped. I thought fast and decided that my best option was to try and appear to be a panicked innocent bystander, so I threw up my hands and began stammering a non-stop stream of terrified drivel. It seemed to have worked as she looked at me and told the guards to release me as I wasn’t involved. I grabbed my bags and took off at a run.
James and Madeline had used this time to grab as many of the weapons from the trunk as they could. James had called it good enough and had started moving, Madeline kept grabbing. Stav had tried to run but had been intercepted by a guard. The Interrogator and the Stalkers had moved off after Xun and Roger. Then the burning train exploded once again. The shock nearly threw us off our feet. The last was so intense that it actually flipped our train onto its side. Stav and Madeline got very lucky. She was standing in the foot print of the open car door, while Stav happened to be in between the cars which prevented them both from being crushed! James and I were far enough out that we avoided the falling cars altogether.
Madeline had to use a shotgun to blow a hole through the baggage car roof to climb out. She and Stav then ganged up on the final guard in the area and took her out. The rest of us had made a run for Platform 3. Hopefully McKinney would still be waiting there with some transportation. We need to leave this area as soon as possible. I heard the Interrogator screaming to the guards “Arrest that terrorist!”, she was of course referring to Roger. Thus I’m not eager to be sighted in his company right now. This is turning out to be a hell of a first day on the job. JS was certainly right about this city not being dull.
Through the Breach, Into the Unknown
Journal of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian - Session 1
Chronicle of the adventures of Dr. Thaddeus Sartorian in Malifaux