Monday, November 17, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Forteen

Continued From Here

The Dungeon of Fusang Castle

"You have a choice," Koen said as he advanced slowly. "You can give me the keys, or you can give me your heart..."

Suddenly, Koen felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck. All his muscles froze. He tried to use his magics, but found that he was unable to do so. He dropped to the floor. Standing behind Koen was another Chinese gentleman. He was tall and lean. Purdie noted that he appeared to be of high intelligence, and yet, as he looked into the eyes of the newcomer, a chill went up his spine.

"Interesting," the newcomer said, "I had thought that the Bloodtail were extinct."

He looked at the guard who was standing behind Purdie, "Quit hiding, coward. How Lieng has managed to accomplish what he's done with the imbeciles at his disposal is beyond my comprehension."

"The Neko was powerful." the guard protested

"And yet, one neural nerve pinch, and he is both unable to move and use his magicks."

The Chinese man walked up to Purdie and looked him over, "The methods you use to torture him are barbaric. Very Western in nature. There are other methods of extracting such information......"

He stopped and stared at Purdie's left chest, then his right. He looked up at Purdie, an evil smile on his face.

"Two hearts. Do not worry about the Bloodtail," he told Purdie, motioning at Koen's limp body "He will live. But you will tell me, how you come to speak the language better than a native."

Purdie let out a sigh, then looked at his captor, "A psychic link.....translates all languages....we hear....and helps us.....speak the language."

The captor smiled, "Very impressive. Why are you here?"

"To save a friend...." Purdie said "Captured.....and brought here....."

There was a puff of smoke, and another Chinese, this one appearing to be a wizened old man, appeared. He looked at the other, then dropped to his knees.

"Master, I did not know you were here." He said

The tall China man scowled at the newcomer, "Lien Bao, what is going on? I have heard rumors of a captive who escaped? Where did this prisoner come from?"

Lien Bao got up, keeping his head bowed at the tall one, "He is an old enemy of The Dragon Who Waits."

The tall one looked at Purdie, "No doubt the one you seek to rescue."

Lien Bao stepped closer to the tall one, "My Master, it is but a temporary setback. The Dragon Who Waits....."

"Lieng is a fool. Make sure this escaped prisoner is found. Now, go."

Lien Bao bowed to the tall one, then vanished in a puff of smoke.

"So...." Purdie said "H'sieh Lieng is not...... the true...... mastermind. It's you."

The tall one's response was a cold hard stare, which was interrupted by a voice from behind.


The tall one turned as three werewolves entered the dungeon.

"What is it?" the tall one asked

"Word from Kowloon," one of the werewolves responded "the outcast, Soft Paw, has joined the army of Feng. Also, three of the west have joined in, as well."

"I am not concerned of the outcast. What of the three?"

The second werewolf stepped forward, "One carries a bag of the medical profession. One is a captain of an airship. The third is dressed as a cowboy, but......."


"It is said that the cowboy is Fenris' Bane."

Once more, the tall one scowled, "Very well. Have troops ready to stop them, no matter the cost. Do what you want to the cowboy."

The werewolves bowed and left the dungeon, the tall one turned to the remaining guard and pointed at Purdie and Koen.

"Have them placed in a cell, have three mages perform a spell to prevent the Bloodtail from escaping." The tall one looked at Purdie, "We may not meet again, Two Hearts, but I'm sure you would have made an impressive adversary."

Purdie looked around then tried to shrug, "thanks?"

Feng's Camp, Kowloon

Fuzz, Nayland Smith, and Feng stood around a table, looking at the map of the area. Nearby, Dogg Food sat, listening intently. Smith pointed out key spots, and what dangers lie ahead.

"There is a British patrol boat here," Smith said, pointing at a section of the map "unable to head up river, or it's a violation of a treaty...."

"And us marching and flying to Fusang is not a violation?" Fuzz asked

Smith ignored Fuzz and continued pointing at the map, "Feng's forces will march here to Bridge Village."

"We are greatly outnumbered," Feng added "Lieng has land and sea forces that have become undefeated. And there is the Land Dragon."

Fuzz looked at Feng, then at Smith, "Land Dragon?"

Smith nodded, "It's an armored vehicle. Powerful, firing destructive weapons."

"If my army is to be victorious," Feng said "the Land Dragon must be dealt with."

"And it will be," Smith said "the sooner the Fusang forces are defeated, the sooner peace can come to these lands. Now, we must prepare to leave. It's a two days march to Bridge Village."

Smith and Feng left the tent, leaving Fuzz alone with Dogg. Fuzz looked at Dogg.

"Hear that?" he asked "Explosions. We should've brought Tensai"

Dogg jumped up on the table and looked the map over.

"There's no way that Smith guy can think that Feng can win this." she said "As Feng said, the opposition is great in numbers, and there this tank...the Land Dragon."

Fuzz nodded, "Land and sea."

Fuzz looked at the map, strumming his fingers against the table, then nodded.

Outside The Tent

The army prepared to march out for Bridge Village. Smith and Feng were briefing Biggles, Angus, and Darien on the situation. He looked up to see Fuzz walking towards the group.

"Change of plans, Smith." Fuzz said "We'll be traveling by river."

"The Fusang army patrols the river," Feng protested "the water craft that we have are not equipped for battle."

"Don't worry," Fuzz said, smiling as he looked at Biggles, Angus and Darien "we'll have the protection that we need."

To Be Continued

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey To Fusang Part Eleven

Steelhead City, Oregon

Mother Superior stood at the edge of the docks, behind her the steam powered automatron, K1, waited with her. A splashing sound was heard from below, Mother Superior looked down as a merman came to the surface.

"Well?" she asked

The merman shook his head.

"I see." Mother Superior replied, "Thank you."

As she turned to walk to leave the docks, the distant sound of the church bells began ringing. Mother Superior looked up, then looked at K1.

"I'm afraid that the SWAT team and I have duties that must be performed for one who is greater than all of Steelhead."

"I-understand." K1 replied "I-have-been-programmed-with-knowledge-of-all-religions-found-here."

Mother Superior smiled, "Good. Then, please find Mr. Eclipse and deliver two messages for me."

"I-am-here-to-serve-Steelhead." the robot replied

Outside Town Hall

TotalLunar Eclipse stood outside of the town hall, speaking with a newcomer to Steelhead, an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair that was powered by steam. He looked up to see K1 walking towards him.

"And this," Lunar told the gentleman, pointing at K1, "is one of our newest residents. Mr. K1. Artificial being created by one of our top inventors, Purdie Uggla."

"-Please-"K1 said, "-it-is-just-K1. -Lord-Lunar-I-am-afraid-I-have-some-rather-disturbing-news."

"I see." Lunar looked down at the genteman, "You will excuse me a moment."

The gentleman held up his hand, "It's quite all right. I'll wait."

Lunar walked over to K1 and looked at the robot, "Very well, what's wrong?"

"-Mother-Superior-recieved-word-from-San-Francisco. -It-appears-that-Sheriff-Ortega-Doctor-Mason-and-Dogg-Food-hired-an-airship-and-left-California."


"-It-is-believed-that-the-destination-is-China-. -Rumor-has-it-that-was-where-Colonel-Hotspur-O'Toole-was-taken-the-night-of-his-disappearance-."

Tensai Hilra walked up, having heard the conversation, "Dogg went with them? She was supposed to make sure that Fuzz stayed out of trouble, and rested like he was supposed to."

"That cat has a mind of her own, Dearest," Lunar told his wife, "Most of that is thanks to you."

Tensai smiled, "Yea, I am a genius, aren't I?"

Lunar shook his head, then looked at K1, "Thank you, K1. I'll let Lady Eva know of this. Seeing as how she's not in charge of the non-existant secret intelligence organization in Caledon, she might have some way of finding Fuzz."


"Depends on the situation in China, I suppose."


Lunar smiled, "I doubt it. He'll probably come home a hero. Thank you, K1"

Lunar and Tensai turned and headed back towards the gentleman in the wheelchair.

"-There-is-more-" K1 said, "-Regarding-Jobias-Barthelmess-"

Lunar and Tensai stopped, then turned to K1. The old man in the wheelchair looked over at K1, with interest.

"-The-authorities-from-Portland-interrogated-the-henchman-of-Jobias-Barthelmess-" K1 said as he walked closer to them, "-they-soon-learned-that-Jobias'-airship,-the-one-that-fell-into-the-sea,-had-a-submersible.-Small-steam-powered-and-only-able-to-carry-one-person-"

"And?" Lunar asked, not wanting to hear more, but knowing that it was important.


"The slippery little weasel escaped." Tensai said with a scowl.

"-Sid-Weezul-was-captured-by-Sheriff-Ortega." K1 said, "-Currently-serving-time-in-a-Steeltopian-prison."

"That's not who she meant," Lunar interrupted, "What are the possible destinations of the submersible?"

"-Accessing-" There was a few clicks and whirrs, then K1 looked at Lunar, "-North-the-submersible-would-get-as-far-as-Olympia. -South-as-far-as-Sacremento-. -West-all-known-destinations-from-Steelhead-could-not-be-reached-the-submersible-will-not-have-enough-power-"

"I see. Thank you, K1. You have been most helpful."

"-I-am-here-to-serve-Steelhead-" K1 said, tipping his hat.

As K1 left, Tensai turned towards Lunar.

"We'll need to get Fuzz back to Steelhead, if Jobias is alive....."

"Don't worry," Lunar said, "I doubt Jobias will return so soon." he gestured towards the gentleman in the wheelchair, "In the meantime, I wish you to meet a visitor to Steelhead. Professor, this is my wife, Tensai Hilra."

"A pleasure to meet you, madam," the gentleman said, "I'm Professor Treloar Parx."

The Camp Of The Progressive Army Of Heavenly Peace, Outside of Kowloon

"I'm sorry to hear of your friend's fate." Feng said, after hearing Fuzz and Darien relate the tale of Hotspur's disappearance, "If he is an enemy of H'seih Lieng, I am afraid his fate could be dire."

"I'm sure," Fuzz said, "that Lieng may not kill Hotspur outright. With what we've been hearing, this 'Dragon Who Waits'...or whatever he calls himself, may take some time. Sort of gloat over what he's accomplished. Doctor Mason and I are both familiar with men who are like that."

Feng smiled, and offered food to the group, and laying a plate of tuna down for Dogg to eat, "It is his way. I have seen many horrors carried out by him. Men, women.....even children are not safe from his evil. I dare not give you the details at this time."

"Regardless," Fuzz said "I have a duty that I must perform. One that was entrusted to me the day that I....." Fuzz glanced over at Darien "reluctantly accepted my position as sheriff."

"And that duty brings you here?" Feng asked

Fuzz nodded in response.

Feng smiled, "You are a man of honor. You do understand, that in order for you to carry out this duty, you will be coming into a fight that is not yours."

Fuzz chuckled, "The Colonel being kidnapped actually makes it a fight of Steelhead, Caledon, and various other places. There is a saying in America. 'You scratch my back, I scratch yours'. We'll help you the best that we can, although it seems you've got plenty of aid."

"As the saying in the Western World goes," Feng replied "'The more the merrier'. Finish eating, there is more to show you."

Later, the group walked out of the tent. Angus turned to his first mate.

"Mr. Sideman, return to me Lady. I'll be joinin' these gentlemen." he said

"Aye, Cap'n" Sideman said

As Sideman left, Fuzz looked at the Scottish airship captain.

"You don't have to come with us, Angus. The deal was to get us to China. I'm not asking you to go any further."

"Aye, Fuzz, I know. But, ye two can't get into trouble without me, wouldn't be fun now, would it?"

Darien nodded, "I will admit, these past few years, all the scrapes we've been involved in has been somewhat empty of something."

"Plus" Angus continued, reaching into his satchel, "I've got these"

Angus pulled out a couple bottles of whiskey. Darien smiled. Fuzz took one and looked at the label.

"Irish whiskey?" Fuzz asked

"Yer friend's name IS O'Toole, is it not?"

Fuzz smiled and handed the bottle back to Angus. Feng walked out of the tent, then motioned to the group to follow. He led them to a tent, located near a few vehicles, including small aircraft. Fuzz heard voices inside, and noted the English accent of the voices. Once inside, they were introduced to two men, both English. One appeared to be a cheerful character, dressed in an aviator outfit similar to what Fuzz and Darien have seen Zoe Connelly wear. The other gentleman was slightly more distinguished looking, he looked at Fuzz and company and gave a hmmph.*

"These gentlemen have come from England." Feng said, "Courtesy of the British Intelligence."

The cheerful aviator smiled and walked forward, extending his hand, "James Bigglesworth. But you may call me Biggles."

Darien shook Biggles hand and smiled, "Doctor Darien James Mason. These are my friends, Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega and Captain Angus GlitterRoch."

"Americans" the other gentleman replied.

"Scottish." Angus replied

"Moldavian" Fuzz added

"Mew" said Dogg

"Cat" Fuzz said, pointing at Dogg.

Biggles pointed at his companion, "Denis Nayland Smith. You'd have to forgive him, he's not overly fond of the colonies. Ortega....of course, I've heard of you, The Werewolf Sheriff. Yes, quite extraordinary stories."

Fuzz shrugged, "Most of it's nothing but a typical day for me. My youth, my time with the Capper Brigade, travels with Lady Amanda....."

"Lady Amanda?" Smith said, "You traveled with Lady Amanda Smythe?"

Fuzz nodded, "Haven't heard from her in awhile, though. Do you two gentlemen know her?"

Biggles chuckled, "She's the one who sent us here."

"The British government," Smith explained "is very concerned with what has been going on here in China. The presence of advisors from both Germany and Russia found in Northwest China. The Emperor staying inside his palace, letting the warlords fight it out amongst themselves, believing that he and his rule is safe. Warlord Feng seems to be one who fights for peace. We are hoping to assist him to turn the tide. Why are you here?"

"They are here...." Warlord Feng started

"We are here," Fuzz interrupted, "because a wrong must be made right. Darien and Angus both have experience in flying crafts. Darien has also performed magicks from time to time. As for me, well, as Biggles pointed out, I am The Werewolf Sheriff. I think we can be of assistance against Lieng."

"It's not Lieng you have to worry about" Smith muttered, as he turned to walk away from the group.

"I'm sorry," Biggles said "he believes that there is a greater evil at work. He's been on about it, even back in London. It has put a strain on his career."

"He may be on to something." Fuzz said, "You guys can't feel it? The way that the wind blows? The smell that it carries?"

"Ain't a warwulf, laddie." Angus replied "Senses ain't as keen as yers."

"Evil." Fuzz whispered

The Dungeon of Fusang Castle

Purdie's wrists hurt from being shackled and supporting his body that was hanging in the air. His hearts were beating fast. His face had seen better days. As one prison guard watched, another punched Purdie, again.

"Why are you here?" the first guard asked "And how do you come to speak Chinese so fluently."

"The TARDIS....." Purdie gasped "is powered by......the heart.....of an hole...."

The prison guard punched Purdie again. Purdie spat out blood.

"It was.....on the....planet Skaro that the....Master was finally.....brought to trial...."

"WAIT" the first guard called out, stopping the second from punching Purdie "We shall try a different measure."

A door opened and two more guards walked in, dragging Koen behind. They threw Koen up against a wall. The first guard turned to Purdie and smiled.

"Now," he said "tell us what we want to know.....or we torture him."

"No" Purdie whispered as the guards moved closer to Koen.

To Be Continued
*Despite the fact that these two gentlemen are not in their proper timelines that other media has them established, it is asked that the reader accept that in this particular universe, things may've gone a different route.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Now, The OpenSpace Announcement

Linden Lab has made a new decision regarding Openspace sims. OS regions will stay at 75 bucks, but there'll be limitations to how they'll be used. Scripts, prims, avatars, etc. Hotspur's favorite sailing sims will probably be in this category.

They've introduced a new sim called Homestead. For use of low density rentals, but will also have restrictions on scripts, prims, and avatars.

January 5, 2009 – non-compliant Openspaces will transition to Homesteads and the maintenance fees will go from $75 to $95 per month. We will offer an educational discount to qualified educators on the new Homestead product. The discount amount will be the same as Private Regions, roughly 30%.

July 2009 — the maintenance fees for Homesteads will go from $95 to $125 per month

You can read more on Linden Lab's blog. That being said, the end result will be some people will wind up having to eventually pay 125 a month. But, I'm sure a good number of people followed LL's regulations on how the OS are to be used, and won't have to worry.