*Annie tells you and the others that have
chosen to go on the Quest, that it will take
you up the River that winds its way across the
surface of Riverworld for 20 million miles.
She says that you will travel through and
interact with peoples from many different
places, time periods, and cultures that have
formed communities. Some of these will be
peaceful, but many will not. In order to
protect yourselves, and before you begin the
Quest, you will need to fashion tools and
She opens a paper-like vellum tube. There
are illustrations, and the text appears to be
in French. It reads:
††Vous devrez employer les ressources qui sont
autour de vous pour faire de ce que vous avez
Annie: Can anyone read this?
Ben: Though I am conversant in that language, I
believe that I know of a person who's native
tongue is French. I shall be right back.
*He goes to one of the bamboo and thatched huts
that cover the plains around them, enters, and
cames back with a blond haired man.*
Ben: May I introduce Annie. This is my friend
*Follows Ben looking slightly confused, and in
an archaic and hard to understand dialect of
Simon: Je dois faire des excuses, mais je ne
parle pas anglais. Je suis Simon, Earl de
Liechester, ŗ votre service. Je parle ťgalement
l'allemand et le latin. *reads the note* Il nous
indique doit se contenter de ce que nous pouvons
trouver.*looks around at the thousand or so
naked people in site along the Riverbank* Je
proposerais que nous nous armions, cette foule
ne regarde pas comme il restera long amical
*holds up his grail* Est-ce que maintenant, pour
quoi ceux-ci pourraient Ítre?
Ben: Simon mon ami. Annie ne vous comprend pas,
et bien que j'aie compris sa majeure partie,
nous devrons vous trouver quelqu'un qui peut
vous donner quelques le√ßons tr√®s rapides en
anglais avant que nous commencions la recherche.
Simon: "peut-Ítre."*Wanders over and places his
grail on the mushroom-shaped stone, yet keeps
one of the cups out After making sure where he
placed it, he wanders over to the stand of
bamboo and tries to break a stalk that is
roughly two inches in diameter, and at least
six feet long.
* He turns to Ben and asks if there is any
chance of finding a rough chunk of rock
about.... foot sized.*
Ben: I don't know, but let me ask Annie, she
*As Simon continues working on the bamboo
stalks, obviously creating weapons of some sort,
he repeats what he had said earlier.*
Simon: Je proposerais que nous nous armions.
*He says that the goal here is to create at
least one spear, preferably two, and a
staff/club type thing, and if the cup he has
taken out of his grail has thin enough walls,
he will try to use it to chop a point into the
Annie: * Looking at Simon* I hope that you will
learn English so I can understand what you say
without resorting to Ben. As to your question.
From what I heard in my first life here on the
Riverworld, one can find small amounts of quartz
and chert, but I had a knife made of the basalt
that can be found in very large quantities at
the foot of the mountains. Then you won't have
to use your grail cup.
H.G Welles:* Looks at everyone * Good Day to you
all. My Name is Herbert. I see you fellows are
making weapons. A wise move, this place clearly
has the potential to be very dangerous. May I
join you? I made a Chert based axe by jamming a
large sharp edged piece into a section of
bamboo, with a fork cut into the end. I then
bound it with grass. I can show you how if you
like, it now makes useful tool, and a good
weapon, but hopefully we will not have much call
to prove that.
Annie: Good day Mr. Welles. I know your writing,
and read the War of the Worlds when I was
18 years of age, and I believe we met when I was
touring in London with Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show. Let me present Simon de Montfort Earl of
Leicaster, and Dr. Benjamin Franklin. May we
call you H.G.? We ain't very formal around here.
Ben: That is certainly a fine piece of work you
have made there. A scientist as well as a
H.G.: You can indeed call me H.G. It is
flattering to be remembered! I was not an
inventor in my earthly life, but here? Who knows
what we must become to survive.
Hardin: *He walked up from the river heading
towards the grailstone. His grail was attached
to a strap which went over his shoulder and he
carried a war hammer made of bamboo and stone.
In his belt was a chert knife. He glanced around
at the crowd and stopped to study one small
group. He recognized the woman and one of the
men looked familiar too but he couldn't put a
name on the face of either. He stepped closer
half out of curiosity and half to hear what they
were saying. Someone around here he thought to
himself is bound to know what's going on.
He looked at the two faces he felt he
recognized and studied them. He knew that he had
not met them before but somehow they were
familiar. Maybe he saw their pictures somewhere.
The last thing Hardin remembered was shooting
dice in El Paso. He felt a sudden stinging pain,
like he was shot all over his body and then
nothing. He woke up on the river, naked and
surrounded by people who he didn't understand
but they too were naked and hairless. He
wandered some and just about the time his hair
had grown back he found a small settlement just
upriver from where he awoke. He had cooked a
dinner of fish over a small fire and gone to
sleep but when he awoke he was somewhere else on
the river. He hadn't slept much since then, not
sure where he would wake up if he did sleep. He
had been moving slowly upriver since then hoping
to find someone who spoke English, Spanish both
of which he was fluent in or even French which
he was able to speak some of. So far, nothing.
He still didn't know how he got here or about
dying and being reborn somewhere else along the
He looked around at the group and it appeared
they were tryng to make weapons of some sort. He
also noticed that some were better at it than
others. He shook his head and turned to walk
away but stopped when he thought he heard some
words in English. He turned back but was
distracted by something on the river. He watched
for a moment to be sure then said out loud*
Hardin: War canoes!
*He turned to the group and said it again but
Hardin: WAR CANOES!
*He grabbed the familiar looking girl by the arm
and pulled her forcibly to her feet. Pushing her
hard in the direction away from the river he
Hardin: They're slavers! Get your tail as far
from here as you can go! Move!"
*He looked around at the others.*
Hardin: If you're not ready to fight then you
better run too.
*He looked around in an attempt to see if any
others were going to fight or run.*
Annie:* She was sure that she recognized the man
who had pulled her to her feet and was now
pushing her, but she did recognize the word he
was saying. She had never run into them but she
knew what slavers were.*
Annie: Ben! H.G.!, Simon! DANGER! DON'T ASK ME
WHY, JUST FOLLOW US AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN!
*Annie, Ben, H.G., Simon, and the stranger
headed across the plains toward the thickly
wooded hills as fast as their legs would carry
them. Behind them the canoes with their slavers
had spotted them and headed for the bank.
Reaching the woods, they stopped and looked
toward the River. The canoes were now on the
bank and its crew members were pointing toward
Annie: *She looked at Ben Franklin and said,*
Ben. Tell Simon what I say. Those people appear
to be slavers like this gent here says. We've
got to find us a place to hide or we'll end up
slaves and possibly maimed or killed.*With that,
Annie and the stranger led the others deeper
into the woods.*
Hardin:*Once into the trees the ground rose some
and at one point Hardin stopped to see who was
following them. The other people who were on the
shore were not expecting an attack. The slavers
quickly grabbed anyone who had a grail and those
who didn't were savagely killed.
Within minutes the beach was littered with dead
and the slavers dragged the remainder back to
the canoes, as a small band of slavers, 6 or 7
of them, were running towards the trees. Then
half to himself and half out loud*
Hadin: Damn, they spotted us, the greedy SOBs.
*He turned to the others.*
Hardin: Keep going, I'll catch up in a few
*He moved back down the trail and with his back
to the hill he stood waiting for the slavers,
his war hammer resting in his hands and a chert
knife in his belt.*
Annie: I just figured out who you are. Mr. John
Wesley Hardin. Outlaw and many other things.
Hope you're as good with that hammer as you were
with a six shooter.*Annie stood on the trail
with a basalt knife in her hand.*
H.G.: And I too know you from the penny
dreadfuls that were sold in London. How much of
it is fact, I have no idea. Maybe you can answer
some of my questions once we get out of this
predicament. *He had a chert axe at hand.
Ben: And though I don't know of you, but I do
believe 7 to 5 odds are better than 7 to 1. I
am quite skilled in the art of boxing, which I
learned whilst in England.
Simon stood beside the others with three bamboo
spears at the ready.
Hardin:*He looked at the girl with no change of
expression and then lifted the hammer. Showing
her the stains on the stone he replied,
Hardin: I have had plenty of occasion to use
this and I'm still around to talk about it.
*Then turning to Ben*
Hardin: I've already faced 7 to 1 odds.
*He smiled wryly*
Hardin: I was too fast for them.
*As the slavers came into sight he spit out a
curse. Then he said,
Hardin: You all may want to consider leaving now
before its too late. They don't look like they
want to take any prisoners.
*Seven slavers came at the group of five. They
brandished weapons that ranged from stone axes
to stone headed spears. Two attacked Annie, two
faced off against Hardin, and one each attacked
Simon and H.G. They were small but wiry men of
mixed ethnicity. As one man charged the unarmed
Ben with his spear, Ben moved one small step to his right and his fist landed against his attackers jaw and the man dropped like a stone to the ground. Picking up the unconscious man's
spear, Ben moved to help Annie who had dodged
an axe blow and sunk her basalt knife into her
attacker, and whirled around to face her second
opponent whose raised stone axe was moving down
upon her head when a spear went through his
body, the axe falling inches away from Annie.*
Annie: Thanks H.G. Now I have my knife and an
axe, and you have a spear and an axe.
*While Annie and Ben were busy warding off their
attackers, Simon had scored two hits with his
bamboo spears and now had a stone axe.*
*Annie had tied the hands of the slaver that Ben
had knocked out, and looked toward where she had
last seen Hardin being attacked. She saw him
standing up over two men who lay on the ground
with their heads rearranged. Surprisingly, the
five stalwart Questers had miraculously
*Looking back toward the river bank, they could
see many dead bodies on the shore and the
slaver's huge war canoes packed with the bodies
of those who would now be slaves, moving back up
H.G.: I say. Looks like we had a good bit of
luck. Those slaver chaps didn't care that their
comrades here hadn't shown up for the
Ben: I believe that we better embark ourselves.
We now needn't worry about the making of weapons in order to protect ourselves and can continue
upon our Quest.
Simon: Que sommes-nous √† faire avec le prisonnier?
Annie: I wished that he would learn to speak in
English! What'd he say Ben?
Ben: He asked a question that has been bothering
me. What do we do with the prisoner? *As Ben
translated the Frenchman's question, Hardin took
his axe out of his belt and walked toward the
Hardin: *He pulled the knife from his belt, bent
down over the captured slaver and slit his
throat. He stepped away from the body and looked
around at the weapons on the ground until he
found an axe that suited his grip. He held it, spun it in his hand and nodded to himself. He
slid his knife and hammer into his belt and
glanced towards the river and the departing
Hardin: Well, it looks like you'll be safe for
now. I don't expect them to return here since
there's nothing left for them.
*He looked at he others.*
Hardin: Anyone back there you care to bury?
*He looked over the at the bloody shore and then
to the bodies around him.*
Hardin: And any of you know what the hell's
going on? Where the hell am I?
Annie: Seems to me that the stories about you
being a cold-blooded killer be true. I hope you
knew that the tied up man you just killed will
come alive somewhere up or down the River. That
may make the killin' like a pretend to you.
I'd have let him go. As he was, without his
friends nor a weapon, he was no harm to us.
That might have learned him a better lesson
while he was tryin' to survive.
Ben: As for me, I believe that all of us should
have had a say as to the fate of the prisoner.
Annie: As to your wantin' to know what and
where, we are on what folks here call the River.
you. My name is Annie Oakley. I died in 1926,
and when I woke up, I found myself nekked and
like someone took all my hair.
I met others who told me that they was on a
quest with others to find who they called the
Mysterious Stranger. He, she, or it, is said to
be in a tower that stands in the center of the
Polar Sea, where the great River both begins and
ends. It's there in that Tower that the answers
to all our questions was to be found. They
warned me about joinin' them and showed me a
message that said,
If you attempt to find me,
I warn you that I will place
many obstacles in your path.
These could result in dire
consequences for you.
You may have a chance if you
join with others, but always
remember! I am anyone.
I am here. I am there.
I am everywhere!
I joined them, and whilst we were movin' up
the River, I was kilt, and woke up here.
Let me introduce you to my friends.
Ben Franklin, Simon IV de Monfort, and H.G.
Welles. We are continuing the Quest, and my
friends have decided that I will lead them as I
have had a good deal of time on this River
world. If you want to join us that's fine. If
you want to go off on your lonesome, we lose
quite a fighter, but that's up to you.
Hardin: Cold blooded? What do you think that
savage had planned for you? He'd stuck you every
which way from Sunday before slitting your
throat and most likely worse than that! And he
wasn't about to learn any lesson. He'd go back
to his kind and bring them back here for us.
*He stepped over to one of the slavers Annie
killed and nudged him with his toe.*
Hardin: It seems none of you had any problem
killing them. I guess seeing someone else do it
doesn't sit well with you.
*Turning to Ben*
Hardin: There wasn't time to ask if we should
take a vote. Besides, I never killed anyone that
didn't deserve it.
*Then he looked a bit confused.*
Hardin: How did you know who I am, anyway?
*Then he thought for a moment.*
Hardin: So we're all dead here, is that it? And
if we die here, or die again, we wake up
somewhere else? That explains some things....I
must have been shot in the back by some yellow
SOB the first time and again killed from behind
once I got here. *He shook his head and looked
at the group.*
Hardin: The only reason I saved your tails was
because you're the first bunch I've met here
that speaks English. No other reason.
*A flicker of recognition crossed his face.*
Hardin: Ben Franklin. That's why you looked
familiar but you're different than your
*He looked at the other men.*
Hardin: Never heard of you two or you either
*gesturing to Annie* but you still look
*He slowly spun his new axe in his hands as he
thought for a moment.*
Hardin: I'll go with you. I have a few things
I'd like to discuss with this
Stranger...including finding out who shot me in
the back. He should be somewhere along this
river too, right?
Simon: *Pointing his finger at Hardin.* Monsieur† Hardin. Vous souhaitez prendre le
credit pour sauver nos queues ? Nous avons
√galement sauver nos queues!
Hardin: Et qui vous a averti au sujet des canoŽs
de guerre? My French is poor but I got the gist
of what you said. You were too busy doing
whatever you were doing to even notice the
slavers. Another 30 seconds and you'd be in
their canoes heading back to the slave camps.
Or wishing you were.
*Looking across at the bloody beach.*
Hardin: Well, Boss Lady, do you have some plan
in mind to find this Mysterious person or is
this a let's make it up as we go expedition?
Annie: We all thank you for the warnin' that
you gave us about the slavers comin' up the River. I believe that Simon thought that you
meant that you were alone when we fought the
slavers that came after us. If you would like
to call me Boss Lady instead of Annie, it's
fine with me. As to my making it up as we go.
I ain't no fool Mr. Hardin. There are canoes we
saw the locals hide back on the beach. I'm sure
that if we took a few, twouldn't be missed, and
Ben tells me that he is workin' on somethin'
that I gave him that twould make it much easier
on us all aroun'.
*The group then walked toward the beach and a
large pile of bamboo and other vegetation under
which Annie had said a number of canoes lay
hidden. As they came near a strange happening
*They saw a very tall figure with unkempt hair,
which was tied up in a towel. He was wearing a
kimono that had been fashioned out of other
towels. He leaped from one of the canoes,
brandishing what appeared to be two wooden
swords as he rushed up the beach towards them.
They were preparing to defend themselves when
the strange-looking man stopped and said what
?: wah-tahk-shee no ee-moht-toh!
Annie: Hold on everyone! Musashi?
Musashi: My Little Sister. Is it you?
Annie: Oh. Musashi. I thought that†I would never
see you again.
Musashi: And I am so happy that we are together
once again Little Sister.
Annie: * To the others.* I can't believe it!
I want to introduce you to my Big Brother,
Miyumoto Musashi. He and I were on the Quest
when we were attacked as we slept. He will tell
you more after we take what we need. I believe
that three canoes should be enough. As I have
many things to ask Musashi, he and I will share
one canoe. Ben. Since you have been teaching
Simon English, I'd like you to share a canoe.
And Mr. Hardin and H.G. can share the third
Hardin: *to Annie* OK... whatever. No sense
standing here flappin' our gums. Let's see what
these canoes can do. Oh, by the way, I'll voice
my objections when I disagree but you ARE in
charge and I'll go along with what you say. That
is, until its time for me to leave but I won't
leave you in trouble. You've got my word on
Annie: Fair enough Mr. Hardin.
Hardin:*The canoes looked sturdy and were of
good size. Hardin took the back of the canoe
before anyone could object. There was a small
amount of supplies in each, enough for 2-3 days,
and they set off upstream. The sun was now
setting and darkness covered the river. Hardin
hoped that they would continue through the night
since he felt travelling on the river in the day
was risky, and the others agreed with him.
He had checked the supplies and found some dried
food, containers with water, some blankets and a
large canvas-like material. There were also 2
grails. 'Someone's out of luck' Hardin thought
to himself. He kept his eyes on the shore both
ahead and behind them but all seemed quiet. His
mind tavelled back and forth between the River
and the real world he came from as he tried to
sort out what had happened but all he could
think about was what he would do to the men in
both worlds who had killed him and who they
might be. At one point the canoes drifted over
50 yards apart and were almost out of sight of
Hardin: Let's try and stay closer to them. *he
said in a low voice, just loud enough for HG to
hear. And then he said*
Hardin: She's opposed to killing to save our
lives but not to stealing. I guess not all 10
Commandments apply here.
H.G.: I say old chap. I agree with the argument
that you put forth as to why you killed the
prisoner, but I believe that our Annie was
aghast as was I, that you killed the blighter
while he lay there all trussed up like a
Christmas turkey. As to our stealing the canoes
and supplies. One can look upon it as the
preservation of life, a human instinct. Had
there been other than bodies to have bartered
with, I believe that we would have done so.
Hardin: A preservation of life, a human instinct
as you put it? Well, that's how I saw it, a
preservation of MY life, MY human instict... to
survive. Now, suppose he was not about to
cooperate, what then? Take him along anyway,
keeping him trussed up like a Christmas turkey?
Would you have fed him and washed him too? Go
behind the bushes and help him with his bodily
functions? Or perhaps when you get tired of
caring for him then you'll slit his throat. I
saved you the trouble of making that decision,
which you obviously would have agonized over for
days first. And concerning these canoes, they
belonged to someone and we stole them, very
neatly and very quietly with everyone's
approval. Everyone's. There were locals to
barter with, they just happen to be far enough
away so that we could justify not waking
*Hardin paused to listen for sounds on the
water. Hearing nothing he continued.*
Hardin: Don't judge me for what I do when all of
you are no better. As the Good Book says, 'Let
he who is without sin cast the first stone.' Or
perhaps you've already decided that you're less
wrong than I am therefore you can sit in
*Hardin shook his head to himself and sat in
silence as he paddled quietly.*
*H.G. thought to himself. What a poor troubled
human soul, and continued moving the oar in the
*A shrill whistling sound rose over the River.
The mile-wide River was shrouded with fog which
obscured everything. The whistles that Musashi
had fashioned out of bamboo for each Quest
member now proved their worth.*
Ben: Simon. Stop rowing and blow your whistle!
*Simon looked puzzled until Ben stopped rowing
and blew on the whistle around his neck then said*
Ben: Soufflez votre sifflent!
Annie: Big Brother. You have been here for a
very long time. What chance do we have in
finding the Tower and the Mysterious Stranger.
Musashi: We must first bring all canoes close
so our forces are strong.
Annie: I think I can see a canoe.*As they draw
closer they can make out Ben and Simon, both
blowing their bamboo whistles.*
Ben: Ahoy there! Thank the lord you found us!
This fog is as strange as this valley. It would
appear that the interaction between the water
and air causes quite a thick mist.
Simon: Acoutez! I hear whistle!
Annie: Hey! You're sayin' it in English, and
you're right. That must be H.G. and Hardin.
Let's stay close and move toward the sound.
* The two canoes turned almost as one and they
moved toward the sound of the bamboo whistles.*
H.G.: *Whispers* What the devil is wrong? Can't
see a thing - which direction did that come
from, let's move gently that way with our hands,
not the paddles.
Hardin:*As the whistles blew Hardin looked
Hardin: What the hell is that? Wells! What's
that noise? What's going on?
*The canoes were now engulfed in the fog and
Hardin could barely see the front of the canoe.
He cursed to himself then felt something was
wrong. He reached for his axe and listened.*
*The two had forgotten about the small bamboo
cylinders with vines to place around their
necks, that the samurai had given each Quest
member. Now they found them and began blowing.*
*Hardin spoke in a loud whisper*
Hardin: Wells! Stop blowing that damn whistle!
And stop paddling and listen!
*The River was calm, almost glass-like and the
only sounds were the whistles but they sounded
like they were coming from every direction.
Hardin cursed as he turned his head to listen
in every direction. It's an illusion caused by
the fog Hardin was thinking, half to himself
and half outloud. Off to the left he heard a
small splash and as he turned quietly in that
direction he poised ready to let his axe fly.
He listened to the sound of the whistles which
sounded like they were getting neither closer
nor further away but had the illusion of
circling around them.*
Hardin: Wells! *he whispered.* WELLS!
*It wasn't very long that the two canoes found
Hardin and H.G.*
Ben: Ahoy there. We didn't hear your whistles
until a short while ago, and we couldn't imagine
where you might be in this 'pea soup'.
Annie: Now that we're back together, let's
travel two by two at least until the sun comes
up. Fortunately, we each have a share of the
supplies in our canoes, with one spare grail in
Musashi's and my canoe, and the other in the
canoe of Mr. Hardin and H.G.
Musashi: In rush to leave, we did not see if
grails we possess are 'free' grails. Please
Hardin sahn. Take grail and see if you can find
on it a small picture that show how grail can be
opened. Little Sister, you do same. If picture
is there, we can open same. If not, grail can
only be opened by its owner.
*Hardin scowled slightly at Musashi. He had
checked the grail right after he found it so he
already knew it was useless to them.*
Hardin: I already checkee grail. Grail no good,
like chopsticks. *He tossed the grail over to
the canoe near Annie.
Hardin: Little Sister can checkee if she not
*Then he stopped and turned his head to try and
listen harder. There were sounds close by,
splashing sounds.Then silence.
The canoes began rocking slightly as a small
wave passed them. Hardin listened intently and
at the same time he tried to get his bearings,
but there was no way to tell how far away the
shore was. His hand instinctively grabbed the
handle of his axe again.*
Hardin: I don't like this.
Annie: Then why Mr. Hardin did you allow us to
drag two grails with us if they were of no use?
Or are you holding back something that we should
know? And by the way Mr. Hardin. My friend will
not tell you this himself, so I'll tell you!
Miyumoto Musashi was the most respected Japanese
samurai of his time. He has been here a good
deal longer than any one of us. He has mastered
many languages and customs of those who inhabit
this River valley, and he truly cares for
people. This I know first hand, as I would not
have survived without his help. You on the other hand treat people as if they were all your
enemies. To make this Quest work, we need to
respect each others abilities, not make fun of
others without one speck of knowledge about
them! Now Mr. Hardin. Please tell us all what
you don't seem to like at this moment!
Hardin: You want to know what I don't like?
First off, I'm somewhere I don't know anything
about or even how I got here. You tell me I died
and ended up here which may be right because
this seems more like Hell than the fire and
pitchforks I grew up thinking Hell was. And if
it's not Hell I don't know what it is, but it
certainly isn't Heaven! Apparently I was shot in
the back! Some blasted coward shot me in the
back! Didn't even have the guts to face me!
Then someone here gets me from behind when I was
eating. If that's not enough, the only people I
meet here in... where ever I am.. the only
people that I can understand seem content with
being here as if its the most natural thing in
the world. Well, its NOT natural! And I want out
of here. If I have to find some Mysterious
person in order to find out how to get out then
that's what I'll do. But I am the way I am and
just because I'm somewhere that I can't explain,
or anyone else for that matter, it doesn't mean
I'm going to be someone else or act differently.
And I have no reason to respect anyone I know
nothing about. Respect is earned and I respect
those who earn it. I gave you my word that I'd
help you and wouldn't leave and my word is good
no matter what those dime novel thieves wrote.
*He paused then continued.*
Hardin: But I didn't say anything about changing
the way I was and I didn't promise to like
anyone. Now, if you think I'll be a problem for
your little group as you go on your Quest then
drop me on the nearest shore and I'll go alone.
But I guarentee that I'll find that Mysterious
Stranger and the Tower with or without all of
Musashi: First. There was a time when I would
have struck you down for your words of
disrespect toward Little Sister and myself, but
not now. Now I put all my energy into the Quest.
Like yourself I was confused when I awoke from
death to find myself here. I have been here for
too many years, and like yourself I wish to
leave, but I have learned that the only way to
do so is to find the Tower and the Mysterious
To like or not is an individual decision, and
you are correct. Respect must be earned.
*The rocking of the boats and the sounds that
had been heard now became apparent as dark figures emerged from the river.*
Hardin: *He looked at Musashi as he spoke and
found nothing to disagree with.*
Hardin: OK, we'll eventually respect each other.
In the meantime we should .... *Just then the
dark figures climbed into the canoes. Hardin
still had his axe in his hand and reacted
instinctively and quickly. The figures might be
men though he wasn't sure, and his first thought
was that they were more slavers. He swung the
axe over and into the head of the one closest to
him. He tried to pull it back out but it was
stuck. He cursed loudly and kicked the body back
into the water, his axe going with it. He
reached for the hammer but 2 others grabbed his
arms. He cursed again and threw one of them
forward towards HG in the front of the canoe,
then he punched at the one holding his other arm
and as they fought 2 more sets of arms reached
up from the water and pulled him overboard. As
all this was going on the dark figures made no
sounds nor spoke.
*The strange dark forms pulled H.G. into the
water, and the same happened to the others as
they attempted to fight off the wraith-like
creatures from beneath the River.*
*When Annie opened her eyes, she was in a
strange room. Covering her nose and mouth was
what appeared to be a green net. On a thick
greenish mat like her own was Masashi, who seemed to be tied down like herself, but asleep.
The room was in a large semi-transparent
globe-like greenish structure and Annie could
see many forms moving around the outside of it,
then Annie's eyes closed.*
*At the same moment in time but in two other
globe-like structures were Simon and Ben, and
H.G. and Hardin tied down upon a mat with a net
covering their lower faces, and like Musashi,
they were asleep.*
*When Annie's eyes opened once more, she and the
others were seated on what appeared to be green
toad stools with flattened tops. Their hands and
feet were tied and the green net still covered
their nose and mouths, and the air felt very thick. A small wizened woman moved toward the
center of a large green spheroid-shaped room and
began to speak.*
Queen: I welcome you to Aquatainia. I am sure
that all of you are confused, and saw what you
must have considered an attack upon you two
periods ago, when we were forced to save you
without explanation from an attack upon your
boats by Night Raiders. You were tied up until
you could be told that we mean you no harm, and
to prevent you from taking the breathing net
from your faces. They allow you to take in the
oxygen you need from the green net plants and
sending out the carbon dioxide to them in a
symbiotic exchange. I know that you must have
many questions, so please ask them.
H.G.: I say. When are we to be released from
Queen: If you will all give me your word that
you will not attempt to harm any of us here, I
shall have your bonds removed.
Ben: I will certainly give my word, and I am
interested to know where we are and who you are.
Queen: We were members of the legenary peoples
from Atlantus on Earth. When our civilization
ended with a catastrophic meteoric strike, all of us were ressurected here. Because we were a
peaceful people, we became easy targets for
slavers, Night Riders, and other non-peaceful
inhabitants. We developed Aquatainia to hide our
peoples from the evil ones that exist, and tried
to protect others from those evil ones as we did
with your group.
Simon: Vous avez mon mot. Merci de nous
Annie: My word is yours. What is this building
that we're in?
Queen: This net sphere is a larger version of
the breathing net over your faces. The oxygen in
the River's water is filtered in and our waste
gases are filtered out.
Musashi: My word as a samurai is yours as well!
Hardin:*When he woke he was seated with the
others and still tied. He struggled fiercely
to free himself, and cursed loudly but to no avail. As the others spoke calmly to the Queen,
Hardin grew madder both at his being tied and
at the calmness of the others. Realizing that
his bonds were not going to give, he ceased
struggling but his face still showed his anger.* Hardin:I would have been more likely to go along
with your terms if you hadn't bound us all up.
All trussed up like a Christmas turkey.
*At those words he glared at HG.*
Hardin: My word is my bond and its good, but
I'm not about to give it without some sort of
guarantee that we'll all be safe. *Then he
looked around at the others and let his breath
Hardin: OK, since you've said none of us will
be set free until we all give our word then
you'll have mine too. No sense being the only
one in a sinking boat that's allowed to swim.
*He shook his head.*
Hardin: I can't believe I'm doing this.*He
studied the Queen for a moment.*
Hardin: And what happens if we break our word?
Queen: If your words mean nothing, then we will
be forced to expell you from Aquatania before
the upper world is safe for you. I hope though
that this will not be the case. Now. I'm sure
that you are hungry so if you will follow us,
food is waiting.
*The food that they were served was strange to
their eyes, but their senses of smell and taste
were very much satisfied.*
Queen: As I know that you would like to continue
on your way, our watchers of the upper world are
making sure that your way is safe. Your boats
and supplies are in a hidden cove where you will
be taken.*Just then a small group entered the
food center and moved toward the Queen.*
Queen: It seems that the evil ones are busy
elsewhere and if you are ready, you are free to
go. I hope that you will forgive the manner in
which you were brought here, and your Quest will
meet with success.
*With that, those on the Quest followed their
guides and were soon on the surface and in their
Hardin:*He was still angered over what happened
but hadn't said anything. They were leaving that
underwater world and that's all that mattered to
him. It was just before dawn as the canoes left
the shore and glided upriver, and he couldn't
hold it in anymore.*
Hardin: Wells, what the hell just happened down
there? As I see it, they attacked us and
dragged us underwater to their sea shell homes,
fed us and let us go. All this to 'protect us'
from some one? Something doesn't feel right
about the whole thing!
*He kept his eyes on the shore ahead and then
behind them as they paddled. The sun was just
starting to show itself and the river was calm.*
Hardin:If we pop up somewhere else on this River
each time we die, why would they care what
happens to us? Death means nothing here yet they
kept us shackled so no one would die. If we
didn't promise to behave ourselves they would've
pushed us out as if it were some kind of
punishment. I don't like it, don't like it at
all. Those fish people are up to something and
the further from them we get the better I'll
H.G.: Maybe they protected us because they
wanted us to succeed as a group. It is my understanding that when one "dies" here, he or
she is usually ressurected in another part of
the River. I can't blame them for binding us.
Though we were protecting ourselves against an
unknown danger, we did kill one of their
members. Strange that nothing was said about
*At the north pole of the Riverworld, long past
the last grailstone,in the center of a great icy
sea, is the headquarters of the Ethical Council of Twelve, a huge structure known as the Dark
Tower. A mile tall and ten miles in diameter.
In the Council chambers, a meeting of the
Ethicals is being held.*
One: It is my understanding that the Group has
reappeared on the River?
Three: Yes. The Group that is being monitored
should have been stopped by the Night Raiders,
but we believe that a renegade Ethical calling
himself the Mysterious Stranger or simply X, has
taken the form of one of the Group and is aiding
them for some reason that we can not now
condescend. He may even be here at this moment.
*Back on the River, Annie and Musashi are
talking as they paddle.*
Musashi: So Little One, you say that the
Stranger spoke with you in the world below?
Annie: Yes. You were still sleepin' when he
came to me. I thought that his message meant
that he was goin' to try to stop us, but he told
me to trust the Aquatainians. I'm sorry, but
things went so fast that I had no time to tell
you or the others about his visit.
Musashi: We must tell the others, especially
Hardin about this as soon as possible!
H.G.: *Speaking to Hardin.* These people cannot
be what they seem. I am a little concerned with
their technology also. It seems like somthing
from one of my novels! How did they manage to
build their breathing nets, and dome on this
world? I am concerned that we have unwittingly
told those who have built this world much that
we should not. Perhaps we should modify our
plans? I think we need to discuss this as a
*At a signal from Annie, the three canoes moved
toward a grailstone on the banks of what
appeared to be uninhabited land.
Five of the six people pulled the canoes up on
the shore while Hardin stood guard, prepared to
deal with any problems. Then the members placed
their grails into the depressions in the
grailstone, and after an energy discharge, the
members took their grails out and opened the
The grails contained food, an alcoholic drink,
tobacco, a drug in the form of "dream gum", and
other personal items.*
Ben: It continues to amaze me how these
grailstones can supply us with things like this.
It's almost like magic. Before this adventure
began, I was working on an idea that may allow
us to utilize the energy source of these
Musashi: Little Sister has information that all
of you should know.
Annie: Yes. Musashi was still sleepin' when I
woke up. Over me was a stranger with a hood
coverin' his head and hidin' his face. When he
spoke, he said that he was here to help us, and
to trust the Aquatainians. I'm sorry, but things
went so fast that I had no time to tell you
*As Annie spoke Hardin looked over at Welles.
They were just discussing that very point and
now they had some interesting information to
think over. He shook his head.*
Hardin:Trust those fish people? Sorry little
lady but I just don't. Something ain't right
*He put his hands on his hips as he thought it
over before finishing.*
Hardin: I was just telling Wells that they don't
seem on the up and up and he agrees. Think about
this for a minute. First they attack us and drag
us down to the river bottom. We wake up all tied
up and then for no apparent reason, they untie
us, feed us and bring us back to the surface.
Why? Now you're telling us that one of them came
to you and said we should trust them. But he
wouldn't let you see his face. Now doesn't that
sound a bit unsettling?
*He sat down and ate some of the hot food from
the grail all the time shaking his head. He
opened the bottle and drank some of the
alcoholic drink and spat it out.*
Hardin: I'll tell you one thing, whoever is
responsible for this River ain't perfect. I
understand that everyone's grail is filled with
food and supplies for each person individually.
Customized, you might say. Well, this is Scotch
whisky and my preference has always been
bourbon. And this dream gum.
*As he spoke he tossed it into the river.*
Hardin: I've thrown every piece into the water,
ever since I saw what it can do to a man, and
they still put it in my grail. Like I just said,
they ain't perfect.
*With that he smiled. He looked at each of the
others than took out a pipe he had made from
reeds, filled it with the tobacco and lit. He
slowly let out a puff of smoke.*
Hardin: At least this is good. If any of you
don't want your's I'll be glad to help you out
and relieve you of the burden. And speaking of
burdens, I've seen these grails used a lot of
different ways even if they couldn't be opened.
Since they weigh very little, I saw no reason to
leave them behind when we first took the canoes.
One never knows when they might come in handy.
*He stood up, grabbed his hammer, and walked a
few feet from the others. He looked around the
shore and all the way back into the trees but
Hardin: Sure is quiet around here. I wonder how
many areas are like this along the River?
Annie: But whoever he was, he wasn't one of the
Aquatainians. I can't tell you how I knew, but
I just knew. I was also knew that I could trust
*Ben who seemed to be in another world, suddenly
jumped up from where he had been seating.*
Ben: I believe that you have done us a great
favor Mr. Hardin. The three grails can't be
opened, but I believe that they can store and
discharge electricity like a Leyden jar. Sorry.
I'm so excited that I am forgetting that you are
not scientists. Just let me say that if my
theory is correct, we may have a small power
source using the extra grails and that
grailstone. Do you think that we can safely
spend some time here so I may see if my theory
*Turning toward Hardin he said*
Ben: I will certainly trade you my tobacco for
your Scotch whiskey.
*Shaking his head *
Hardin:I don't like it. I don't think this
mystery man can be trusted any more than those
fish people. Call it a gut feeling or whatever
you want. Keep in mind that all we've got to go
on is their word that they were helping us.We
never saw who they were saving us from, did we?
I didn't, did any of you?
*Looking around at the others*
Hardin: How about the rest of you? How do you
all feel about these new turn of events? She
says we should trust the fish folks but I don't
and I think Wells agrees with me. What about the
rest of you? Not one of you three has said
*He tossed the rest of the container with the
Scotch to Ben.*
Hardin: Here's what's left, what I didn't drink
or spit out. You can have any more they give
*He picked up a grail and then looked over at
the grailstone. Again shaking his head*
Hardin: I don't see how you can use this and
that monster mushroom. Aren't you going to need
something else? Tools, supplies?
*He looked over the beach where they stopped.*
Hardin: I don't see anything here that you'll be
able to use but the ground rises over there and
then drops forming a low spot. We can drag the
canoes over there and they'll be hidden from
anyone on the river. I haven't seen tracks of
any kind or any indications that anyone has been
here so this may be a good spot to stay a while
if all of you think it's a good idea. I haven't
seen too many spots along the river that were
this empty either.*He climbed to the top of
Hardin: Come to think of it, I don't recall
seeing anything along the River that had this
kind of low spot this close to the water either
but I haven't seen that much of the river. What
about the rest of you, ever seen any area like
this before? Or am I just over-suspicious
because of what's happened?
Ben: Thank you Hardin. You may have whatever
tobacco my grail provides. I tend to be wary as
to the Aquatainian's motivation in saving us
from the "evil ones", but though I also believe
in Annie's positive feelings, we should be alert
to any danger.
H.G.: Yes old chap. I'm apt to agree with you.
One never knows whom to trust in unknown
situations like this, so I as well say heads up.
Musashi: Having walked with Little Sister before
I have come to trust her instincts, but I too
say that we should be weary.
Simon: Oui. I as you say fera attention. Will
take care is correct Benjamin mon ami?
*Ben Franklin smiled at Simon's progress.*
Ben: Yes. Bien!
Annie: Though I still feel that the "fish
people" as Mr. Hardin calls them, and the
mysterious stranger are to be trusted, but I
too feel that we must take care.
Musashi: Hardin. To answer your question. In all
my time in this Valley of the River, though
there may be, I have never seen an area like
this where a grailstone is available for use,
but there is no one. Your suggestion to move the
canoes sounds good, but until we can answer the
why of this emptiness I would suggest that we
*Hardin nodded as everyone spoke, understanding
but obviously not agreeing completely.*
Hardin: All right, I agree with waiting but
everyone has to keep your eyes open. Everyone.
I'll move upriver a hundred yards or so and keep
watch, One of you two, *gesturing to Simon and
H.G.* go downriver and watch for anyone
following us and the other go inland, also only
about 100 yards. Keep each of us in sight and we
should be OK. The rest can I guess, help figure
out how to use that thing *pointing to
grailstone. Hardin left and headed upriver.*
*As Hardin quickly moved upriver, Simon and H.G.
looked toward Annie quizzically.*
Annie: Impulsive isn't he? But an excellent
strategist. As he suggested. Go down river and
take care. Musashi and I will give Ben an
opportunity to work on his theory using the
extra grails and the grailstone.
*Ben and the others walked over to the three
foot high, broad mushroom-shaped grailstone,
and Ben took one of the three extra grails and
placed it into one of the 700 depressions in its
flattened top. Nothing happened.*
Annie: What's the matter Ben?
Ben: Nothing Annie. Just had a theory tossed out
*Ben took the grail out of the depression.*
*Annie and Musashi looked and saw Ben laying on
his back on the ground a short distance from
the grailstone. Musashi ran toward where Ben
Annie: Ben! Are you all right?
Ben: I'm a bit shocked but otherwise I am fine.
*Rising from the ground Ben thought to himself.
Musashi: It appears that you have discovered
Ben: Yes! I think I have. But I need to try a
number of experiments, and hopefully we won't be
disturbed while I'm doing them. Excuse me.
*Ben walked back to where he had dropped the
extra grail, bent down, and carefully picked it
up touching only the strap which was made of
some kind of transparent material. He then
called to Annie*
Ben: Dear girl. Would you please bring my grail
*Annie went to the pile of belongings and pulled
a grail from Ben's webbed pack and brought it
over to him. Ben then carefully holding the two
grails by their straps, brought the bottoms
together. As they touched, an intense blue flash
of light seemed to move between them, and a
sound like thunder could be heard echoing off
the high mountains. Then Ben very carefully
opened the hinged lid of his grail and peered
Ben: Extraordinary! Quickly! Give me your grail!
Annie: What happened?
Ben: Later Annie! Please give me your grail!
*Annie complied and Ben again took the extra
grail and Annie's, brought their bottoms
together, and again the flash of light and the
sound like thunder.*
Ben: Open your grail and look inside!
*Annie did as she had been instructed.*
Annie: My Gosh! There's food in here, and it
ain't breakfast, lunch, nor dinner either!
Ben: Musashi. Give me your grail.Please.
*Ben again followed the previous procedure with
the same results, and when Musashi opened his
grail he too found food. In the meantime, the
noise had brought back the others.*
Ben: H.G. Please let me have your grail for a
moment. *Again Ben did what he had done before,
then instructed H.G. to open his grail.*
H.G.: I say old boy. What am I supposed to see
*Ben took the grail from H.G., and checked each
of the cups within it*
Ben: I can't say for sure, but I think that
there is a limit to the "magic" that a charged
grail can perform.
*Hardin heard the sound of thunder and turned
around. Then he saw the blue light flash from
the area of the grailstone. He cursed loudly and
Hardin: WHAT HAPPENED? What's going on?
*Then he watched as Ben touched the extra grail
to the others and had everyone open them. He
shook his head and cursed at Ben.*
Hardin: What the hell is wrong with you? You
could have warned us that this might happen.
And then you went and kept it up! I thought we
were trying to keep our presence here a secret!
*Again he walked away shaking his head and
cursing to himself. Realizing what just happened
he stopped and turned back. *
Hardin: Wait a minute! What the hell just
happened? You put one of the extra grails in the
mushroom and nothing happened, right? Then when
you touched it to one of our grails there was a
blue light, thunder, and like magic, our grails
were filled with food?
*He stopped talking and looked at Ben then the
others, and then the grail stone. He shook his
Hardin: No, that's not right. We put our grails
up there *pointing at the grail stone* and then
there's a blue flash and thunder. That's when
our grails were filled. This is all wrong here.
*He started to look around slowly for other
points that might be wrong.*
Hadin: Now I'm startin' to feel real uneasy
about this place. *pointing at the rise he
noticed before* And this, this isn't anywhere
else either. Anyone want to put odds on the fact
that there's something hidden under it?
*He fingered his hammer as he slowly walked up
the slight rise. Then he smiled slightly.*
Hardin: Feels the same as everywhere else. No,
it actually feels a bit harder.
*He walked back to Annie and spoke carefully.*
Hardin: I'm inclined to see what's under that
but all we have that will do us any good is
this. *holding up the hammer*.
You're the boss but I'm suggesting we go back
to the canoes right now and making some
decisions. Like, what we're going to do now, and
what will we do if all that blasted noise
attracts some undesirables. Do we run or do we
try and hide here? I know he wants to do his
damned experiments but my vote is for getting
back in the canoes and moving out before it's
too late.*looking around as if expecting
trouble* But we should decide right now.
Ben: Sorry Mr. Hardin. I had no idea as to what
would or what wouldn't happen, so cursing at me
would only raise your blood pressure if that is
possible here. Continuing my experiments up was
necesssary, and showed that we no longer need to
be total slaves to the grailstones for our
necessities, and since my experiments are
finished for the moment. His cursing aside, I'm
with Mr. Hardin in now moving on.
*With that, the group went to the canoes and
continued on their journey.*
*At the north pole of the Riverworld, long past
the last grailstone, is a great icy sea, the
source and mouth of the River. In the midst of
this sea is the headquarters of the Ethical
Council, a huge structure known as the Dark
Tower. Here are the twelve humans raised on the
Gardenworld and chosen to lead the Riverworld
project, called The Ethical Council of Twelve.
These are the ones responsible for the system of
grailstones, for monitoring the progress of the
Valleydwellers, and for dealing with anything or
anyone that interfered with a prime directive of
non-interference with the progress of
Valleydwellers or endangered the Project in any
The six men and six women were now meeting to
discuss the happenings in the Valley of the
One: So they have discovered a means that we
were unaware of to secure the grail offerings
without the total necessity of being near a
Six: Yes. This might allow them to store enough
extra and free grails for energy to matter
conversions where no grailstones exist.
Eleven: And cause a danger if for any chance
they succeed in reaching the polar sea.
Five: Is that renegade still helping them in
defiance of the non-intereference directive?
Two: Yes. Ten is with the Aquatainians to see if
they have any information of the visit by this
so-called Mysterious Stranger or just X.
Nine: And one of our members is this X is one of
our members? I see that Three, Four, and Seven
are not present.
One: Yes. They are on missions at this moment
Eleven: Does anyone have a suggestion that could
help us do something about these problems?
*Before they climbed back into the canoes,
Hardin spoke up.*
Hardin: Blast my blood pressure or whatever that
is of mine you're so concerned about. You may
want to consider the safety of your friends here
before telling the entire valley where we are.
I don't mind dying as long as I'm going to wake
up somewere else on this river but the rest
might object some. Now are you telling us that
you plan to use these extra grails as something
like those mushrooms that we can carry with us?
If that's true, maybe we ought to put those
extra grails in the front or back of the canoes,
away from any other grail. I for one don't want
any of those grails touching each other while
we're in the middle of the river.
Ben: Again, a very wise idea Mr. Hardin,
delivered in your own inimitable way.
Hardin: Hey Boss Lady. In my time we were taught
that the North Pole was covered in ice and snow.
Do you think its the same on this world? I'm
willin' to wager a month's supply of grail booze
that it is, and if I'm right, how are we going
to travel up there dressed like this? I haven't
seen any animals to make a fur coat out of. In
fact I haven't seen any animals period. I'm not
complainin' mind you. I'm just givin' you
something to think about.
Annie: First. The only person to call me Boss
Lady was my husband Frank, and he always used
it in a caring manner! As to the possibility
that the climate at the pole of this Riverworld
is similar to that on Earth, and that we would
need clothing to protect us against cold
temperatures. The rectangles of towel-like cloth
are very tough, and the insulating properties.
We are supplied with this cloth from time to
time in our grails, and I have saved what I've
not used. Hopefully others have as well, or will
do so. I'm sure that layers of this towel cloth
may be used as protection.
Musashi: You are correct Hardin. There are no
other animals as could be found on Earth, but
the vegetation, the skin and other parts of the
River creatures can be used for many purposes.
NOTE: Click on Riverworld Resources
*He nodded his head as if in agreement with the
idea. Then everyone climbed into the canoes and
Staying away from the shores to avoid any
possible problems with those nations that might
be unfriendly, the three canoes moved up the
*Speaking to Miyumoto Musashi Annie said,*
Annie: Gettin' near dark. 'bout time we all got
together an figured out where we are gonna hole
up for the night. Whyn't you stop paddlin' and
I'll signal t'others to come here.*She put the
bamboo whistle to her mouth and just as she was
about to blow it, she noticed something in the
distance coming down the River toward them. As
the object got closer it could be seen to be a
very large bamboo raft with one sail and what looked to be a wooden cabin near its center.*
Musashi: Little Sister. They are coming directly
toward us! Either they don't see us, or they are
attempting to ram us!
Annie: Paddle Big Brother! Paddle as hard as you
*Try as they might their efforts were in vain.*
Once again, When Annie awoke, she found herself
tied hand and foot with Musashi near her in the
same state. They were inside, and around them
were two people.*
*As Annie stirred and finally opened her eyes
one of the two men standing over them nodded to
Man 1: Ok, they're both awake now. Go tell the
*Both were large black men, not so much tall but
wide and both wore grail towels and what looked
like leather belts around their waists. In their
belts each carried a knife. One disappeared up
a short ladder/stairs and returned shortly.*
Man 2: Cap'n says bring 'em up.
Man 1: C'mon you two, someone wants to see ya.
*The two men pulled up the prisoners firmly but
not too roughly and then carried them up the few
steps. Once on deck, the prisoners found that
they were on the lighted deck of a very large
bamboo boat, apparently the same one that had
rammed them earlier. The boat was larger than
most on the river and seemed to be be built
quite sturdily. The cabin sat in the middle of
the deck and there was a mast with one large
sail. On the bow was a strange apparatus and
there was similar one on the stern. There were
also oars lined up, not being used now because
there was a fair wind.
The prisoners stood up up facing a man and a
woman. The man stood with his fists on his hips
and was dressed in a leather skirt, vest and
sandals, all made from the hide of the dragon
fish. He also wore sleeves of leather that
just covered his forearms. Around his neck was a
string of what appeared to be the vertebrae and
horn of the Horn-fish. He was well built, very
muscular, about 5'10" with long black hair tied
back and black eyes, and extremely tanned.
The woman was shorter, about 5'6" and also well
built, or well endowed would be a better
description. Her hair was also black, longer
than the man's and braided but her eyes were
light blue and she too was well tanned. Her
clothes can best be described as almost
non-existent being made of grail towels with
just enough to barely cover the important areas
and was barefoot. She also wore a skirt made of
strings that hung from her hips which obviously
for show since it covered very little. She wore
the same necklace as the man and a headband of
cloth with a symbol in the middle. Around them
stood the rest of the crew, men and women, all
tanned, well built and dressed in grail towels
or dragon-fish leather.*
Man 1: Here they be, Cap'n. Neither looks to be
any worse for what 'appened to 'em. Now you two
be polite and 'spectful in the presence of Cap'n
Bonny, the scourge of the Seven Seas and
meanest, nastiest pirate on this 'ere River.
*Darkness started to fall upon the River and it
was time to stop for the night. Hardin was
having trouble seeing the lead canoe in the
distance. He glanced to the right at the distant
shore, and all seemed quiet there, then he
looked to the left and saw the canoe with Simon
and Ben. He waved to them and they signaled
Hardin: Wells, they're getting too far ahead
again. We need to catch them so we can stop for
*He signaled the other canoe about his intention
to catch the lead boat and all four men started
paddling faster. They were gaining ground when
Hardin saw the very large bamboo boat heading
for Annie and Musashi.*
Hardin: Something's wrong. That boat's gonna hit
them. *yelling to the lead canoe* LOOK OUT!!!
*The bamboo boat hit the lead canoe and sunk it
instantly and then turned to go back apparently
not seeing the other two canoes but as it turned
around, the huge wake it made overturned both of
them sending all 4 men into the river. Hardin
went deep under and as he rose to the surface he
was kicked in the face by HG. When he reached
the surface, he found that his nose was
bleeding. He looked around and saw HG struggling
with the grails he grabbed as they went over. He
swam over and helped him carry some then looked
for the others. He watched as the big boat
slowed down and picked up Annie and Musashi.
Soon the four men made their way to shore. Once
they caught their breath Hardin stood up and
Hardin: Well, we can't just sit here. We have to
find that boat and the others. Now, c'mon, let's
go.Thanks to you we have two grails, *gently
touching his nose* and one broken nose. Did you
two manage to save anything?
*Hardin was holding his own grail and the extra
grail that was at the rear of the canoe.
H.G.also had his grail attached to wrist as did
Simon and Ben, who had also saved the extra
grail from his canoe.
((Note: Extra grails are those that can only be
opened by their original owner. Free Grails are
very rare and very valuable, as they can be used
*The deck of the boat shown with light from what
Annie assumed was fish oil as she looked around.
Estimating that there were about 10 people on
the deck of the boat, and looking at whom she
presumed was the leader, she spoke.*
Annie: My name is Annie Oakley, my Big Brother
is Miyumoto Musashi. Now who do I thank for
savin' us from drownin', and ask that our hands
and feet be untied?
On an unknown bank of the River, four men stood.
They could see lights towards the middle of the
River, which they assumed were eminating from
the deck of the large bamboo boat that had
picked up Annie and Musashi. It was heading
toward where they stood.
*Ben was looking first at the River, then at his
Ben: This is certainly a fine mess we're in. Now
what do we do? I have a knife.
H.G.: And I also have my knife.
Simon: J'ai aussi mon couteau.
Ben: Then we have three knives. What about you
Hardin? Did you manage to keep your knife as
*While Annie and Musashi were on deck standing
before Captain Bonnie, the boat headed for the
near shore in order to moor for the night and
be ready to charge the grails of all on board
in the morning.*
*The half naked woman slowly walked in front of
the two captives. She looked Annie in the eye
and in a heavy Irish brogue said*
Bonnie: I am Captain Bonnie and right now you're
in no position to ask for anything. My crew and
I own this part of the river and no one sails
upon it without my permission. Those who do pay
*She walked back behind the man who was obviously second in command and climbed up two
steps to a small platform.*
Bonnie: From that last bend in the river to the
south *pointing* all the way up to where the
grailstones thin out is mine. Ten days sailing
and over seven hundred miles.
*One of the men in the crew chuckled then
quickly stopped. Bonnie gave him a slight look
then returned her gaze to Annie.*
Bonnie: What that little sound means is that
there's a section about three days north of
here, about seventy-five miles long that is mine
but only the water. *She smiled.*
Bonnie: We tend to stay away from it in the
daylight and if the tide and winds are with us
we can pass through it in one night. Now, since
you are here on MY river and you've already told
me that you know nothing of me you must be
running away from someone. That implies that you
stole that canoe otherwise
whoever sold it to you would have warned you not
to venture this far north. No one sails this far
north. No one. That is, no one without a damn
good reason. Now if you have a good reason it
just might save you.
*She looked up at the sky and then with a frown
looked at the shore.*
Bonnie: Mister Nemo! Why are we heading for
shore? I didn't order settling down for the
night. The wind will be coming off the other
shore in the morning. Across the river is where
we'll moor for the night.
*The black haired woman looked at the crew then
barked orders to turn the ship around and head
back out onto the water.*
Second: The crew was apparently preoccupied with
the prisoners Captain, and the wind caught us.
*The ship turned smoothly and moved north.*
Second: And what of the prisoners Captain?
*Bonnie looked back at them and smiled.*
Bonnie: Bring them below, we'll try them in the
Mister Kan, weren't you on lookout just now?
*An Arab looking crewman started to stutter and
shake his head. Bonnie just looked at him with
no change of expression.*
Bonnie: Take him below with the prisoners.
*Two men grabbed him and brought him below with
Annie and Musashi, tying him to a support pole.*
*Hardin nodded as he looked at the lights.*
Hardin: It's coming this way. There must be a
dock around here somewhere. Let's get back in
the high grass. We can use it to hide until we
know more about who's on the boat.
*They ran into the high grass just far enough so
they wouldn't be seen and yet they could still
see what was happening. Hardin was kneeling and
cursing half to himself and half out loud when
he had a thought.*
Hardin: Its not a dock they're looking for, it's
a grailstone. There should be one nearby. Let's
find it and try to get close enough to hear them
if they say anything worth hearing. There's no
sense in us getting ourselves captured if these
people have already killed off the others. *He
stopped for a moment obviously thinking deeply*
Wait a minute. Is there any way to use a charged
up grail against someone? You know, that bolt of
blue lightning could be pretty useful. It'll
give you something to think about Franklin while
H.G.: I say chaps. It would appear from the
lights that the boat is turning and appears to
be headed towards the opposite shore. And, here
we are without even a paddle.
Simon: Mon Dieu! Cette un miracle!
Ben: What's wrong Simon?
Simon: Les canoas! Ils sont ici!
*Pointing to the dark waters, Simon said*
*Just in front of him were two bulky shapes like
small beached whales.*
Ben: Someone up there is smiling on us
gentlemen. Simon has just discovered what
appears to be our canoes. Belly up, but after
we turn them over they will hopefully be usable.
* It didn't take the four men long to right the
two canoes, and because everything had been
tied down, most of the weapons and supplies were
wet but other than that in good condition and
even the paddles had in some manner remained
within the overturned canoes, so the four took
advantage of the darkness and started across the
River following behind the lights of the bamboo
Hardin: That boat has quite a lead on us but if
it stops near one of the next few mushrooms
we'll be able to catch it. Wells, just keep your
eyes on the lights so we don't lose it.
*The big boat glided across the water heading
north, eventually stopping at the mouth of a
small cove on the other side of the river. A
grailstone stood on the shore not far from the
cove. The two canoes glided silently behind the
boat. Once the big boat stopped, the four men
were able to catch up. Soon they were about 200
yards away. Hardin signaled and the two canoes
came along side each other. Hardin in a low
Hardin: Comes daylight, they'll most likely go
ashore to fill their grails for breakfast. They
may even have someone there now as a lookout.
Since this area of the River is pretty empty
of people they may only have one lookout on the
ship. Ben, you and Frenchie approach the ship on
this side and try to board her near the bow.
Wells and I will circle further out on the river
and come in from the other side near the stern.
You can translate for him when I'm done.
Approach the boat the board as soon as possible.
We should get to the other side not too long
after. The boat doesn't look too big so the crew
shouldn't outnumber us by too much. Coming from
two sides and having four of us may just be
enough to overpower them and get the other two
out. Once we have them free head for shore,turn
south and head inland. We'll do the same and
meet up at one of the mushrooms downriver.
*He nodded and waited as Ben translated the
instructions for Simon.*
Hardin: One last thing. If those two are already
dead then get off the boat as soon as possible
and we'll still meet downriver. If they're still
alive then they shouldn't be too hard to find.
OK, let's go.
*He lifted his paddle out of the water and
gently tapped the paddle from the other canoe*
Hardin: See you all in Hell.
*Hardin and H.G. paddled out and around the boat
coming in silently from the other side. From the
canoes they couldn't see anyone on deck. Hardin
smiled at this and nodded. The canoe pulled
along side the boat and both men climbed aboard.
As Hardin cleared the railing he realized how
quiet it was. *thinking to himself*
Hardin: Where the hell are Ben and Simon?
*Ben and Simon had gotten aboard the bamboo
boat, and disposed of the lone lookout. They
then found stairs in the on deck cabin and went
down into what appeared to be the crews
quarters. Tied to one of the support poles was
a stranger. To another support pole was Annie
and Musashi. The rope-like bonds around the pair
were expertly tied though Musashi had almost
gotten some of his off when Ben and Simon
Ben: Here we are to rescue our little Annie and
her big brother.
*Ben and Simon walked over to the two and untied
Annie: We thought that we'd never see you again.
Where are Hardin and H.G.?
Ben: Hopefully they're on deck. When we got on
board Simon silenced what appeared to be the
only lookout and then we went looking for you
Annie: Then with that crew man tied over there,
we need only face the woman captain, her second
in command, and six crew members.
*At that moment, the tied crew member Mr. Kan
decided to start yelling a warning. Musashi went
over to him and pressing his finger at Kan's
neck, the crew man stopped yelling.*
Musashi: He will be fine in three or four hours.
Annie: I think we need to get up on deck. Do you
and the others have weapons?
Ben: Yes, but that is a long story that will
have to wait until things calm down.
*With that the four members of the Quest went up
to the deck. There they were met by H.G. and
Hardin who was angry at Ben and Simon for not
following his instructions. With a smile on her
face, Annie said*
Annie: I see that you are your jolly self again
Mr. Hardin. Ben and Simon followed my orders to
find you and H.G. so we may make plans to take
this Night Rider boat away from Captain Bonnie
and her crew and make it our own. With one tied
below and the sole lookout taken out, we need
only face eight pirates when they come back on
board. Musashi silenced one crew member below
using something he learned, and he has suggested
that he do the same to the lookout and prop him up where he was on the cabin roof. If we can
hide and take out the remainder of the crew one
or two at a time when they return, we'll have a
boat with which to continue the Quest, and we
can use the Night Rider reputation as protection
against many unfriendly Nations on the River's
*Simon excitedly spoke with Ben translating.*
Ben: Simon suggests that we place two of our
members hidden behind the bamboo sides of the
boat on either side of the gangplank opening,
and the other two in the deck cabin. I too have
what might be a formidable weapon that may very
well give us an advantage.
*The group set themselves up with Ben, Annie,
H.G. and Simon on each side of the gangplank
opening, Musashi and Hardin hidden in the cabin,
and the lookout on the cabin's top unable to
move or cry out.*
* The sun had risen and the grailstone had
discharged with a thunderous sound, and the six
could hear the voices of the Night Riders coming
back. The first came up the bamboo gangway not
seeing those who were hidden on either side.
Then the others came aboard. Captain Bonnie was
the last to come on deck. Suddenly a blue flame
leapt from Ben to the Captain, and as she
slumped to the deck all hell broke loose.
Musashi leapt from the cabin door and onto a
very muscular black man, and hey wrestled on the
deck. Hardin used his axe to put another hulking
pirate down. Annie dealt with a woman with a
basalt knife, Simon took on another very large
pirate, as another blue flash sprang from Ben to
knock the Captain's second in command to the
boat's deck, as H.G. slammed his fist into the
jaw of another pirate, while Hardin took care of
the final crew member.*
H.G.: By jove! I think my hand is broken, but it
seems that we are the victors.
*Strong fibers were found on the deck, and the
pirate crew were tied hand and foot.*
Annie: *Speaking to Ben* What was that strange
blue flash that seemed to be coming from you?
Ben: I'll explain when things settle down. I
believe that now we are the very tired owners of
*Captain Bonnie shook off the effects of getting
hit with the blue flash and looked around at her
crew. Once her eyes were clear she looked Annie
in the eye and without struggling against her
bonds she spoke calmly.*
Bonnie: Now what? You've killed off some of my
crew and appear to have enough to make up for
them but *looking at the members of the Quest.*
I'm not so sure they can. This ship, The Queen's
Gambit, is not an easy ship to run and you look
less than capable. Obviously you want this ship
and a crew to sail her. Why else are we still
alive? My crew has always been loyal to me but
under these conditions they can decide for
themselves what to do.*smiling at Annie* And
what of the rest of us? What will you do, kill
us? You must, you have no choice. You won't be
able to trust anyone who decides to go with you.
They're pirates and at any moment they could
change their allegience back to me. But you
won't kill us, none of you have it in you,
except you. *looking at Hardin*. You can tell
alot by a person's eyes.
Nemo: I for one will not abandon my
captain. Whatever you do to her you will have to
do to me also.
Bonnie: So, what will it be? But I'll tell you
this, you can't sail the Queen's Gambit without
this crew. And you'll never make the next bend
in the river with only the six of you.
*Then one by one the crew called out*
Crewman: We're with you Cap'n Bonnie! We'll sail
under no one else.
*But not everyone of the crew spoke up.*
*After the skirmish and as everyone caught their
breath Hardin walked around the deck examining
the boat. He looked over the strange machinery
on the bow and stern but made no indication as
to whether he knew what it was. As he passed Ben
he looked down at the grail and made sure he
stayed clear of it.*
Hardin: I'll keep my distance. You might get
excited again and start waving that thing and I
don't want to be in its path.
*He looked over at Captain Bonnie and smiled,
shaking his head to himself. Things sure were
different here. He was following a woman and a
woman was captain of this ship. He thought that
over for a while and then looked at H.G., Ben
and Simon. He'd have to talk to them later.*
Hardin: OK, we now have ourselves a boat that
looks sturdy enough to get us upriver and what
looks like quite a bit of food and other
supplies in the hold. Why don't we just toss
them over the side and leave? Oh, I forgot,*in
a sarcastic tone* we need to vote on what to do
with them. Whatever it is, you better decide
fast. It looks like we're going to have some
company in about 15-20 minutes.
*He pointed to the shore about a mile down river
where a large group of about 100 men was headed
Annie: You are correct Captain Bonnie. We could
use your help on the Quest to find the Dark
Tower and it's wonders beyond imagining within
*The eyes of the remaining pirates showed that
Annie had gotten their attention.*
Annie: But you are not correct in your
assumption that our members are inexperienced.
H.G. won a number of sailing awards during his years on Earth, and Ben gained a great deal of
nautical experience as well.
Musashi: And I have learned from necessity many
skills on this River during my many years here.
Simon:J'ai aussi l'experience avec l'operation
des metiers de l'eau.
Ben: Simon said that he too is an experienced
Annie: I admit that I have very little
experience on the water other than what I have
picked up here, but my husband Frank always said
that I was a quick learner. Now. As Mr. Hardin
has said. We need to get out of here before that
reception committee arrives, so you can make up
your minds. Go with us to find that Dark Tower
and whatever treasures that exist within it, or
you can skedaddle off this boat and take your
chances. But I warn anyone that stays to do us
mischief. Mr. Hardin would like nothing better
then to toss you overboard in a manner that
won't be pleasurable.
Bonnie: It is not sailing experience you need to
sail the Queen's Gambit. She was designed by Mr.
Nemo with the help of Mr. Sax, who, thanks to
you, will wake up on another part of the river
tomorrow morning. Mr Sax designed an engine
which runs off of sunlight, the details of which
were in his head and that of Mr. Nemo. The sail
is a backup but in order to use it the sun
engine needs to be off. You might notice a
slight vibration in the deck. That's the sun
engine, which we leave it on overnight.
*Bonnie turned and looked down the river at the
approaching men. Looking back at Annie*
Bonnie: You see dearie, you need us more than we
need you. You want the Queen's Gambit to sail
north. If that tribe overtakes us, they'll
simply kill all of us. Me, I'll wake up
somewhere and start over with a new crew and new
ship but you, you need this boat. And you need
Nemo and myself, we're the only ones who know
everything about this ship now. And this ship
will never leave this spot in time without this
crew who can't sail the ship without us two. I'd
say there's a hundred or more in that tribe so,
as you so eloquently put it, you need to make up
your minds. Set us all free to sail out of here
or lose the ship and wake up who knows where
*The approaching tribe was now about one half
mile away and now they started to run down the
beach towards the ship.*
*Hardin stepped back to the gangplank and
watched the men on the beach approaching as H.G.
moved along side him.*
Hardin: What we don't need right now is two
women too stubborn to give in to each other. We
have a bit more than ten minutes before that
group is all over us and even though I know
we'll wake up again I don't relish the idea of
dying right now. Personally, I hope Annie gives
in. Its not that I trust that pirate queen, even
though she is quite pretty and more than
appealing. I just think she's right about this
boat. We need them to get the hell out of here.
*He pointed out the problems of setting sail to
H.G. The boat was sitting in the sand in shallow
water and they were no more than 30 feet from
the beach. The gangplank ran out about 25 feet
with one end on the boat and the other just
short of the beach. The wind was too light to
free them and the only way he could see to set
sail was for most of the crew to jump in and
push the boat out. This would lighten the boat
and it would sit higher in the water and the
extra muscle might be enough to do the job.
The other option a was to use the engine. Either
choice required the cooperation of Captain
Bonnie and her crew.*
Hardin: There's something about that woman. It
could be he fact that she's half naked but I've
always had a soft spot for a blue eyed lass with
an Irish accent.
*He checked the progress of the advancing men
then walked over to Annie.*
Hardin: *speaking low so no one else heard*
We're running out of time. Why not get her word
that if we untie her she'll take us a hundred
miles or so upriver. That way we'll have a
chance to get this boat back. I don't trust her
any more than you do but my gut feeling is that
her word is good. The worst that will happen is
they'll kill us later on. That's better than
Annie: So we both agree that there is a need to
work together at least at this time. You could
"die" and wake in the morning, but it would be
without your crew and without the Queen's Gambit, and we would lose our chance at getting
to and into the Dark Tower and it's myriad
treasures. Untie Captain Bonnie and her Second.
I believe you called him Nemo, Captain? And the
other three. I would also suggest that Mr.Kan be
released as we will need all hands on deck to
get us off. *Turning to Captain Bonnie Annie
said,* I hope that when we're out of this mess
we can either decide to part company or we can
join together for the benefit of yourself, your
crew and ourselves.
*Annie untied the pirate captain's bonds and
gave her a hand up.*
*Bonnie smiled as she was untied. Instantly she
turned to the crew and started giving orders.*
Bonnie: Miss Linska, up to the nest! Mr Nemo,
to the helm. Everyone else, over the port side!
*To Annie* That includes your men too, and you
go to the bow and watch her *pointing the girl
with the short blonde hair climbing up the
*The entire crew along with the members of the
Quest all climbed overboard on the shallow side.
Along each side of the ship just about the
waterline was a row of bamboo bars. The crew
grabbed the bar on one side of the ship and on
the Captain's command lifted and pushed. The
ship lifted in the water and moved a few feet.
It was not quite enough and the crew again
grabbed the bar and again Bonnie gave the order.
Everyone lifted together and the ship moved
back. This time the ship floated. The crew then
climbed aboard helping those of the Quest after
them. Bonnie looked up at the crow's nest where
the lookout was givng directions with her arms.*
Bonnie: Hard to starboard Mr Nemo. There's
shallow water ahead! Hoist the sail! All the way
*The ship slowly turned to the right as the sail
went up revealing a large chess symbol for the
Queen. The wind caught the sail, moving the ship
slowly away from the shore.*
Bonnie: Everyone to the starboard rail!
*To Annie* You stay on the bow!
*Everyone moved to the starboard rail and the
ship leaned slightly. That gave the ship enough
weight on one side to cause it to turn sharper
and the Queen's Gambit slid out into the safety
of the River. Once the ship was underway Bonnie
gave more orders to the crew who went off to
perform their chores and then she headed for the
bow to talk to Annie.*
Bonnie: My crew performs well, does it not? It
took 2-3 minutes to get underway, something you
never could have done. The wind is stronger in
the middle of the river and in a few minutes
we'll be at full speed under this sail. Now,
if you and your crew will follow me below...
*Bonnie signaled for Nemo to follow which he did
after turning the helm over to another member of
the crew. The area below the deck was larger
than it appeared from the outside. The entire
aft part of the ship was one large room,
obviously the captain's quarters.Bonnie sat in a
large cushioned chair and Nemo stood next to her
and the six members of the Quest followed them
in. Bonnie placed her fingertips together and
crossed her legs.*
Bonnie: What is it about this Tower that is so
important that you need to steal my ship and
kill my crew?
Annie: We weren't orignially planning to steal
your boat. As to killing 4 members of your crew.
We are sorry, but our friends found us not
free, but tied to a pole below deck. We all felt
that we would have to fight to stay alive and
continue our Quest. If you wish to hear about
the Dark Tower, let us all relax and Musashi and
I will tell you.
*After all had seated themselves, Musashi began
*At the same time that this meeting was taking
place on a bamboo boat on the River, another was
taking place in the Ethical Council, within a
vast tower one mile tall and ten miles in
diameter surrounded by the North Polar Sea of
One: I must inform you that our plan to stop the
six from going any further in their Quest has
again been disrupted by the renegade calling
him or her self, X.
Twelve: Has any progress been made to ascertain
who among our twelve members has betrayed us?
One: No. The only thing we know is that the
Aquatainians at the bequest of X brought the two
canoes that were upset by the Night Riders' boat
surreptitiously back to the shore with the
scattered equipment reattached.
Six: It is unfortunate that we are bound by the Non-Obtrusion Accord, to not interefere with the
THE TALE OF THE QUEST
Musashi: It was when I first awakened from my
death on this Riverworld that I heard the tale
of the first Quest. It was told by a giant First
Man who lived at the dawn of Earth's history.
Our group was made up of adventurers from many
times and places, and we all listened as we sat
around the fire as First Man said.
FM: I lived with my tribe just below the land
without grailstones, until a large River vessel
came to our land. Young was I then, and when I
was told of a wonderous place where the head and
tail of the River met, and where great treasures
awaited those who found their way there, I went
with them. We traveled very far, but we had many
stores in our vessel. It grew cold, but our
coverings kept us warm. Then we came to the
cliffs of the sky. These were so high that even
the giant flying things in the land where I was
born would not be able to pass over them. This
did not bother the Boom Man. He had the secret
of booming and used it to open a cave in the
side of a cliff. We passed through and then up
high on the side of the cliff by a trail only
one by one could use, until there it was! In the
center of a great water. High into the sky it
went further than the eye could see. Then we
went down one by one. There at the edge of the
great water was a strange shining vessel like
that we came up the River in, yet not like it.
We were all able to fit into the vessel, and
one of our members Klan Dee, put her hand in a
place just in front of her, and the strange
vessel came to life and moved like a Dragonfish.
As we came closer to a dark tower, a hole opened
in its wall and the vessel entered and then
stopped where we were able to step from it into
a tunnel which had small suns on its walls that
allowed us to see our way. Klan Dee looked at
strange markings on the wall and told us to
place our grails into openings in the wall like
those on grailstones, then open them and take
out what we found. We did this, and upon opening
our grails, we found strange masks like my tribe
used when asking the spirits to help us. Klan
Dee then showed us how to put these mask upon
our faces, and then told us to sit upon strange
chairs that seemed like they were on the back of
a giant Serpent Worm. When we sat the "worm"
moved down a long, long, tunnel. Then it
stopped, and we entered a room of wonders these
eyes had only seen in my dreams. Stones of many
colors that sparkled with an inner light. Food
and drink that appeared upon a table by only
thinking of them, and so many other magical
things my eyes could not tell me what I saw.
Klan Dee found other markings upon the walls
that told of a great secret of such wonder that
I could not believe it. Then that the madness
began. It was then that I ran. I wandered
through the tunnels of that dark tower until I
found my way back to the vessel. I pushed on the
place where Klan Dee had pushed and the vessel
brought me back to the trail. I first went up
and then I went down the cliff. I went on and on
and on for a great long time until I found my
way back to my village. There was nothing there
but the bodies of all my friends. Then I heard
something behind me. Then I found myself here.
Annie: We all went to sleep that night anxious
for First Man to tell us what that great secret
was when we were attacked. I awoke and met Ben,
Simon, H.G. Mr. Hardin, and was surprised to see
my Big Brother Musashi again. We are on this
Quest to find out what this great secret is, and
who put us here and why. Do you have any other
questions, and will you join us?
*Bonnie sat in silence for a while then looked
Bonnie: This is not the first time I've *looking
at Nemo*, we've, heard of this Tower. I myself
have never been near it but I'd like to know
what it is.
*Again she was quiet for while as she thought it
over. Then as she nodded her head.*
Bonnie: OK, we'll use the Queen's Gambit but
keep in mind that I'm the captain and its my
ship and crew. We'll be stopping around noon at
a grailstone to resupply. I'll put it to the
crew and those who want to stay can and the
others can leave. With your crew we should set
sail with 12, maybe 13. Don't look surprised, I
know every member of this crew better than they
know themselves. They're a good crew and I'll
not force them to go on a mission like this.
*Just after noon the ship pulled over to the
side of the river near a grailstone. Not far
away was a small village. The crew of the
Queen's Gambit and the members of the Quest
placed their grails atop the grail stone and
soon the blue lightening came and they had their
supplies. As they ate Bonnie informed the crew
of her decision and told them of their choices.
It didn't take long for the crew to separate
with 6 of her crew staying on for the trip with
the rest heading over to the village to ask if
they could stay. The ship set sail again and
Bonnie directed the young blonde girl Miss
Linska to show the new members of the crew to
their new quarters. With one crewman in the
crow's nest and Nemo at the helm Bonnie moved
to the bow. She stood silently and looked back
at the sail as the wind died down. She shook her
head and cursed to herself.*
*The new "quarters" were nothing more than
bunks, three high on each side in the center of
the ship. Arrangements were made for Annie's
bunk to be near the bunks of the two remaining
women crew members. After the young blonde
girl Miss Linska left Hardin spoke up.*
Hardin: I don't know what the rest of you think
but this was way too easy. Was it just me or did
she agree to taking us to the Tower without
thinking too much about it? She's supposed to be
some sort of pirate queen and she just let half
her crew walk away free as a bird. I know I keep
saying ths but something doesn't feel right
about this. And look, back there *pointing aft*
is her cabin, and there *pointing towards the
bow* is all supplies. Notice anything? There's
no engine down here.
*Then Hardin shook his head and laughed.*
Hardin: She just bluffed you into setting her
and the crew free. And she did a damned good job
of it too. She got us all good.
*He leaned to look up the ladder to see if
anyone was near the top and listening in.*
Hardin: Well, here we are, on a boat that may
get us to the Pole or at least get us close. The
question is do we need them to get us there? My
opinion, for what its worth, is that this boat
is too big for just the six of us to handle.
Bonnie and her crew was, what, 10 or 12, right?
She knows how to handle this boat and crew, Nemo
knows more about that Tower than they let us
know and they're all pirates. They'll use us to
get to the Tower and then take whatever treasure
they find. Our lives will mean nothing to them.
And if we die at the Tower who knows if we'll
wake up again. She's heard of the Tower before
and was still content to stay here. We mention
it and suddenly she wants to go there. Something
just isn't right.
*Hardin was pacing up and down the hallway
slowly as he talked. He stopped both for a
Hardin: I was up in Canada once, and the
Mounties were chasing us. I wasn't the one they
were after, they wanted one of the group I was
with. They chased us north and we ended up at
the edge of Hudson Bay. It's like an ocean, so
big you can't see across it. But the entire
thing was frozen over, right up to the shore so
we started crossing it. We had no choice. The
Mounties were right on our tails. When we
started out, there were five of us. Only two of
us made it back to shore. Two fell through the
ice and the other just got plain lost on the
ice. What I'm tryin' to say is that I know what
it's like up there and we'll need that crew up
there to help us get across the ice to the
Tower. Just us six won't be enough and I'll bet
they think the same way about us. But once we
get there, we become expendable. I know I'm
suspicious by nature but I have to speak my
opinion. I also know I'm not always right but
when I feel this strong about something I can't
just let it go. If you all think I need to
loosen up on this that's fine, but I'm going to
keep my eyes and ears open. *Then he smiled* I
used to be a pretty good card player back in
where ever it was before this place. Maybe we
can bluff her and get her to tip her hand a bit.
She's not about to give us any information.
We're gonna have to trick it out of her. Now
that we know she's good we won't be fooled
Annie: I was expecting more of an argument from
her. Maybe my empahasis on treasure and the
great secret may have enticed her a bit. Who
knows, but I do agree with you Mr. Hardin. She
and her remaining crew are pirates and as such
we certainly can't trust any of them as far as
we could throw them. Maybe this will prove
incorrect, but we need to keep watch and do as
we would elsewhere. While some of us are getting
shut eye, the rest of us need to keep alert.
As to the Polar Sea. First Man told us that it
was too warm to freeze.
Ben: As you noted. There is no engine. I too had wondered about that, so I took a bit of time and
came down here surreptitiously and discovered
the source of their motive power. Solar energy
is collected and transported by polished quartz
that is encased in bamboo tubes that are at the
bow and stern of the boat. This heats water that
is drawn into tubes below the keel. The heated water is forced to the stern or bow and into a
reservoir. In the reservoir the water is heated
by the quartz enclosed in the tubes. I am
guessing that there are smaller diameter tubes
that come from these reservoirs, and that the
heated water pushes out and can propel the boat
either forward or back depending upon what solar
tube is opened. I'll know if I'm correct when it
becomes necessary for Nemo to use something
other than wind power.
H.G.: I say old chap. That's using your noggin!
Annie: As to your card playing Mr. Hardin. I
believe that plus the grail stunner that Ben
discovered gives us an ace in the hole as they
Bonnie: Mr Nemo! Keep her steady until the wind
returns.Trim that sail until I say otherwise.
*Bonnie was pacing angrily up and down the ship
cursing the wind, or lack of it. She watched the
shoreline waiting for the wind to move the high
grass. Soon she spotted slight movement and
signaled Nemo to turn the ship a few degrees.
Just then the girl in the crow's nest yelled
something and pointed aft. Bonnie looked back
Bonnie: Mr Nemo, bring her about and head
towards the center of the river.*looking up and
seeing where the girl was now pointing.* Let's
get closer! Nemo, you know what to do! All hands
*The crew members who were below came running up
onto the deck and looked over the side. A large
Dragonfish had surfaced on the river and was
heading north. Two men ran to the bow and
uncovered what looked like a large fishing reel.
The others all ran to other positions and
started working. The girl yelled again, signaled
directions with her hands and Nemo adjusted the
direction the ship was moving.*
Crewman:Cap'n! We don't have any bait to use.
We traded off the last of those ugly fish for
that spare sail.
*Bonnie undid her skirt and tossed it to the
crewman leaving even less to cover her more
than ample figure.*
Bonnie: Here, use this. It should catch the
light and attract that mother. Hurry, it'll soon
*The crew quickly took the skirt and attached it
to a large star shaped hook made from bamboo and
fish bones which was attached to the rope on the
reel. While this was going on two other crewman
uncovered what looked like a small catapult on
the bow. The hook, skirt and some weights were
loaded and the catapult pulled back.
Bonnie: Steady now. On my signal.
*Bonnie watched the Dragonfish then looked up to
the crow's nest. The girl signaled and Bonnie
*The catapult sent the hook and skirt, now a
lure, flying out and it landed 10 yards in front
of the Dragonfish who promptly altered his
course to see what it was. As it got closer it
opened it's mouth and swallowed the hook. It
then rose up and made a shallow dive picking up
speed. On Bonnie's signal the crew locked the
reel and the ship picked up speed as the fish
pulled it along.
Bonnie: OK, drop the sail and let's go for a
ride. She's a big one, let's see how far she'll
*The Dragonfish took off heading north and
staying in the middle of the river at a steady
pace. The crew prepared the sail to be raised
again and settled down for the ride. Bonnie
stood next to Nemo, smiled and said something to
him which caused him to smile too.
Ben: Very enjoyable Captain Bonnie. Very much
like the Nantucket Sleighrides that were so
prevalent off the coasts of New England on
Earth.Are you the first to have use this
technique to harness a Dragonfish for a motive
Bonnie: The first? I'm not sure of that
Mr. Franklin, but I know of no others that do.
One of my old crewman, who has since departed
the ship, was a, I can't think of the name, but
he studied the fish of the oceans. When he came
here he did the same and discovered that the
Dragonfish, once they surfaced, would run near
the top for as far as 20 miles.He told us
stories of some Islanders who would harness
dolphins and small whales and go for rides until
they went deep. So, we did the same. It turns
out the Dragonfish are a remarkable breed in
that they always do the same thing. Before they
go back down they signal their intentions and
then we either haul them in or let them go. Most
of the time we use that harness over there which
was designed to hold them tight and to keep
their gills closed so they can't breathe under
water. They put up one hell of a fight before
they go belly up on us. But a small Dragonfish
will feed this crew for weeks. And it tastes a
hell of alot better than what the grails provide
us. Besides, it adds a little excitement to our
*The girl up in the crow's nest yelled and
signaled with her arms. Nemo answered and
adjusted the ship's direction. Bonnie watched
them then moved to the rail and looked out over
the river. Stepping back to Ben she smiled,
almost sweetly, and resumed their conversation.
Her Irish accent was thick but tempered slightly
from the time spent on the River.*
Bonnie: As I was saying Mr. Franklin, pulling in
a Dragonfish is a lot of work but well worth it.
We use the entire fish; meat, bones and skin.
The skin can be made as tough as armor or as
soft as velvet, depending on how its treated and
what part of the fish it comes from. The bones
are strong, that railing is made from Dragonfish
ribs as well as some of our weapons. But she's a
big mother and we'll probably let her go. We
know our limits.
*Bonnie looked ahead as if searching the shore
and then looked back at Nemo. He returned her
look and it was as if they had an entire
conversation in the split second it took to make
eye contact. She then looked up to the crow's
nest and gave directions using hand signals. She
then excused herself and went below. She
returned 10 minutes later and again went over to
Ben. She had changed her clothes or perhaps
simply added some. She now wore a halter top and
short skirt made from grail towels with boots
made of Dragonfish hide that reached her mid
thighs. The skirt was short enough to leave plenty of skin showing between the bottom hem
and the top of the boots.*
Bonnie: *to Ben* Here, try this *handing him one
of the pieces of dried meat she held.* It's
dried Dragonfish, prepared by our cook. It's
marinated in its own liver oils. Quite tangy.
And this one is smoked using bamboo, Dragonfish
fins, and sea weed, or River weed, whichever
you prefer to call it. I find it difficult to
break old habits. The cook throws something else
in which he refuses to divulge but it makes the
meat taste a lot like American buffalo. This
piece is simply boiled in water and it tastes
the most like fish. But this last one is my own
personal favorite. It's prepared in a process
below that is like no other and quite
complicated I'm told. As I understand it, the
meat is packed into tubes made from the
intestines and then placed in what our cook
calls his "River Microwave". It's named after
some 20th Century invention. River water is
sucked in through bamboo tubes and then run over
quartz-like crystals. The water is actually
heated up just by moving over the rocks. It has
something to do with the chemical make up of the
crystals. It then runs over smaller pipes made
from baby dragonfish ribs filled with fish oils
and some herbs found on shore. As the oil and
herbs heat up it passes through the bone and
onto the tubes containing the meat which cooks
and marinates it at the same time. You may have
seen some of the Microwave pipes below, it takes
up quite a bit of room.
*The ship was traveling at a steady rate at
around 8-10 knots and the Dragonfish showed no
signs of slowing down. She swam in an almost
straight line and whenever she veered at all
Nemo adjusted the ship's course to follow
directly behind the fish. Bonnie leaned back
against the railing and lifted her face up to
the sun. Smiling she said softly, almost to
Bonnie: Parfois, la vie peut Ítre bonne.
Ben: Very, very interesting. And it seems that
your River Microwave can be used in other ways
as well. By the way. May I ask that you call me
Ben and if I may, I shall call you Bonnie? With
this 25 year old body, Mr. Franklin makes me
feel like that old man I understand people on
Earth remembered me as.
Bonnie: You may ask anything you want,
Mr. Franklin, but just because you ask for it
doesn't guarantee your wish will be granted. On
my ship I am the captain and therefore I am the
only one who gets all of her wishes granted.
You will refer to me as Captain and I shall
refer to you as Mister just as I refer to all
the other men on board. And, as appropriate, I
refer to all of the women as Miss. If you find
this too difficult to accept let me know. I'll
be happy to let you off at the nearest
*Bonnie looked to the crow's nest and nodded as
Miss Linska signaled that all was well and that
the Dragon fish was still travelling as
Bonnie: You see, Mr. Franklin, a ship needs a
captain and a crew that will obey every rule she
sets down without question. Anyone who cannot or
will not obey every rule I set down is
permanently assigned to shore duty.
Incidentally, the Queen's Gambit does NOT carry
any passengers. *She paused* As to the
Microwave, I do not understand what you are
referring to. Perhaps with modifications it can
have a variety of other uses just as my skirt
was used as a fishing lure but then again, the
same can be said for any other part of the ship.
Is there something in particular you have in
*Just then there was a yell from above.*
Bonnie: Mr. Nemo!
Nemo: Ready Captain!
*The crew didn't need to be instructed. They
quickly ran to their posts and started working.*
Bonnie: Mr. Franklin! Quickly, over by the mast
and grab that line with Mr. Collins. On my
signal raise the sail with all you're worth!
Mr. Hardin, to the port railing! Just follow Mr.
Kan. Mr. Wells! You and Mr. Musashi to the
starboard rail. But wait for the person on that
side to start. Miss Oakley, you and Mr. de
Montfort move back by the helm with Mr Nemo. Be
prepared to help him if he needs it. Follow any
orders he gives to the letter. We've no room for
*Bonnie moved up to her position on the bow.
The Dragonfish started to weave back and forth
in front of the ship as the crew started to
slowly pull in the line. On each side of the
ship two of the crew took up what appeared to be
bamboo harpoons and the others picked up the
lines, getting them ready to toss over the side.
The crewman near the mast quickly untied the
ropes holding the sail and grabbed the lines.*
Collins: *to Ben* Get ready. If this sail
doesn't go up in time that Drag'nfish just might
turn us right over.
Nemo: When she dives this ship will start to
spin out of control. We need to keep this wheel
straight for the most part and then spin' er
when the time comes.
*The Dragonfish dove slightly then jumped up out
of the water. When she hit the water she turned
back under the ship.*
Ben: As you wish Captain. As I once said, A
quarrelsome man has no good neighbor, but please
remember, the doors of wisdom are never shut.
*Ben moved toward the mast where Mr. Collins
*Hardin watched as Ben talked with Bonnie. The
Captain was undoubtedly someone who's looks
would catch a man's eye and they caught
Hardin's. Where hewas from women didn't walk
around half naked but aside from that, as if
that wasn't enough, she was actually very
pretty, maybe even beautiful. And he was always
a sucker for a pretty girl and an Irish accent.
Ben looked interested but it wasn't her that had
his interest. A blind man could see that and she
never smiled at Ben. She was a cool one, almost
cold but Hardin had an idea, one that just might
warm her up some. He just needed some patience,
a virtue that he had always been lacking in. But
here he had all the time in the world, maybe
even more. He looked toward the helm at Nemo who
seemed only interested in steering the ship but
Hardin was sure there was more to the
relationship between Nemo and Bonnie. He watched
Nemo's eyes go from Dragonfish to the woman in
the crow's nest to Bonnie and back again. He
might get in the way but Hardin wasn't worried,
he had dealt with difficult men before. And
bigger ones.The dragonfish kept pulling the boat
and all seemed to be going well. Hardon crossed
from one side of the boat to the other where Mr.
Kan was, as it glided smoothly up the River. He
looked to the shore and saw a large group of
canoes quickly leave the shore. He seemed to be
the only one who saw them as everyones attention
was on the Dragonfish. They were slightly ahead
of the boat and the boat was moving too fast for
the canoes to catch up, but those on the canoes
didn't seem to notice. The men inside still
paddled as if they were going to intercept the
boat. Hardin watched them as they fell behind
and yet they still paddled hard. He looked
forward and saw another group way up ahead
leaving the shore. That was it, they were going
to catch the big boat in the middle and attack
from two sides. He tried to get Nemo's attention
but to no avail. He ran back to the helm and
pointed to the canoes as he yelled. Nemo glanced
forward then back and nodded.*†
Hardin: We're heading right into a trap!
*Just then, the Dragonfish dove under the boat
and all hell broke loose.*
*The Dragonfish dove and dove deep. The ship was
moving forward and slid right over where the
Dragonfish dove so that the ship was now
directly over it. Before the ship was completely
over the last spot the fish was seen Captain
Bonnie signaled to Hardin and Kan on the bow and
they started chopping at the rope with quartz
Collins:*to Ben* See that! The Cap'n decided not
to take her in. She must be larger than we
thought. Or maybe its 'cause of them canoes.
*The canoes off the stern continued to move
quickly towards the ship without gaining ground.
The canoes off the bow now spread across the
river forming a blockade. The Dragonfish dove
deeper and the ship suddenly spun around with
the bow now facing south. The sudden spinning of
the ship threw the crew across the deck. Kan on
the bow fell into the water and the ship slid
over him. His body eventually surfaced over 100
feet away, face down and motionless. Hardin
managed to hold on but dropped his axe and it
slid down the deck towards the stern. Bonnie
yelled some orders and Nemo reacted before she
finished. He spun the wheel to straighten the
ship then spun it the other way as it turned too
far. As he did, Annie and Simon jumped on the
giant fishing reel and popped the lock off. Once
they did, the ship stopped moving and the
fishing reel spun quickly as the line ran out.
Bonnie raised her arm and the young dark woman in the crew raced over to get the axe. Running
up the deck she quickly handed it to Musashi.
Bonnie signaled and Annie and Simon threw the
lock on the reel. The line suddenly became tight
and the bow of the ship dipped down almost under
Bonnie: NOW!! CUT IT NOW!!!
*At that command Musashi hacked away at the rope
cutting it with two chops. The bow of the ship
flew high up into the air, actually leaving the
water. It landed back down with a large splash
and Bonnie turned to Collins and Ben.*
Bonnie: Get that sail up NOW!!!
*Ben and Collins pulled on the rope with all
their might and were quickly joined by two more
men. The sail went up and the as the wind caught
it the ship started moving. Nemo spun the wheel
again and yelled for Annie and Simon to help
hold the wheel. The ship slowly turned around.
Bonnie: Mr Collins! We're coming about! Watch
Collins: You! *to Ben* Grab that beam, that one
there, and pull it to the port side. That's it.
All the way over!
*The sail moved across the deck as the ship
slowly turned around. About three quarters of
the way around, Nemo turned the wheel back and
the ship slid out towards the middle of the
river in what could best be described as a NW
direction.The ship appeared to be trying to go
around the end of the blockade. The canoes to
the south, now to the stern of the ship, had
gained considerable ground but the ship was now
putting distance between them. The canoes to the
north started to spread out towards the middle
of the river. Bonnie signaled again and Collins
pulled the sail in a bit, slowing the ship down.
As the canoes closed in on the end of the
blockade line, Hardin, Simon, Musashi, and
Annie went to each side of the ship, picked up
harpoons and made ready to throw them. When the
ship was 30 feet from the blockade Bonnie turned
and yelled to Nemo who spun the wheel hard to
the right. The ship made a sharp turn to
starboard and at the same time Collins and Ben
pushed the sail out to fully catch the wind. The
ship picked up speed and headed for a spot where
the blockade line was thinnest.This sudden
change caused panic in the men in the canoes and
before they could react the Queen's Gambit was
through the line and heading north. The crewman
on the ship's sides threw their harpoons at the
canoes.They threw the with such force that they
sank three canoes.The ship picked up speed and
soon all the canoes were quickly fading into the
background. Bonnie turned around to face the
ship. She looked around at the crew and smiled
broadly. The crew saw this and cheered loudly.
Bonnie: We did well today but paid a price. We
lost a lot of line to the Dragonfish, line that
is difficult to replace. We lost 4 harpoons
which are easy enough to replace but will take
time. And we lost another crewman. But, all
things considered, we could have lost more. She
walked back to the helm.*
Bonnie: I'll take the helm Mr. Nemo. I want you
to oversee the crew as they check out the ship.
Make sure we haven't lost anything else and
check for any damage from that rocking. That
Dragonfish could've snapped this ship in half.
*Bonnie looked at the newest members of the
crew, those of the Quest.*
Bonnie: You too, you all did well. A bit more
practice and you'll be OK.
*The she smiled to herself spoke softly, more to
herself than the others*
Bonnie: *almost whispering* Cabbages to
*She shook her head and laughed.*
Annie: *Going over to Bonnie.* My compliments
Captain Bonnie, and thank you for the kind
comments. A common goal appears to bring out the
best in people. I'm sorry about Mister Kan.
Hopefully he'll find the new place where he is
resurrected to his liking. Now that we are
eleven what are your plans?
*Bonnie looked out over the river as Annie
spoke, never looking at her. When Annie finished
Bonnie nodded slightly. Then she spoke rather
somberly, her accent seeming heavier.*
Bonnie: Eleven. A nice odd number. At one time
my crew numbered 15, not counting myself. One by
one they were lost and now.. Mr Kan was the only
one who deserved his fate. He was the one who
allowed you to board my ship in the first place.
He was also responsible for a number of other
errors including letting us set anchor before we
were ready, I believe he had other plans for
himself that did not include us.
*She turned to look Annie square in the eyes.*
Bonnie: Eleven may not be enough. It will take
12 worthy seamen just to sail her and more to
fight off what lays ahead. I know over 1000
miles of this river north of here, and Nemo
knows more. A week from now we'll be going
through a part of the river that's controlled by
someone who hates me more than the devil
himself. She has a large number of boats, none
as big as the Queen's Gambit, but we may not be
a match for the sheer numbers she can throw at
us. And she'll do anything to take this ship
away from me. Or sink it.*after a slight pause*
If we're to get to the Tower it will take more
will power,ingenuity and determination than most
people have. I can speak for my crew, or what's
left of it, and they all have it.
*She looked around and pointed at each as she spoke.*
Bonnie: Mr Collins, Jack Collins, is a former
early 20th century prize fighter who let a good
bottle of run take over his life. That and
wealthy men who bet against him and didn't like
losing. He would've been World Champion except
that he took their money and lost his fights at
the exact moment they told him too. He wants to
look at himself in the mirror again and not be
ashamed. He has risked his life many times on my
account. Mr King. He's an African warrior from
many years back, sometime before the white man
even thought to go there. Proud, noble and
fearless. He's not of royal blood but his word
is better than those who are. He died in battle
and now feels that the Tower hold the path to
his heaven. This River is certainly not what he
expected. Miss Heidi Linska is the grand-
daughter of a Viking King. She died as an infant
and needs to get in Valhalla to meet him. She
too thinks the Tower has the answer. Mr Nemo has
a somewhat mysterious past, but he's been there
and has a reason to go back. He won't talk about
what the reason is but it seems to be of great
importance. And you and your crew? Do they have
what it takes?
*Annie looked directly into Captain Bonnie's
Annie: I believe that they are, but only time
*The sky was darkening and the boat turned to
shore where there was known to be a peaceful
group of people who had proven to be friendly.
As they docked people came to welcome them. It
was decided that Musashi and Mr. King would stay
on board while the remainder of the crew went ashore. As the nine members moved down the
gangplank and followed their hosts a dark shadow
fell from the sky onto the grassy plain. From
what appeared to be a glider stepped a short,
muscular man. H.G. stopped, looked, and then
with a look of great surprise he said.*
H.G.: By George! Is that you Harry?
Harry: H.G. As I live and breathe! How in
heavens name did you get here?
*The other members from the Queens Gambit
gathered around and listened to the two.*
H.G.: My friends. You are in the presence of the
greatest prestidigitator, master of escapism and
airborne flight that I was so very proud to call
my friend on old Earth. May I introduce Harry
*As they talked, two other men approached.*
Harry: It is like old home week. You remember
Harry Hawker from Austrailia and Jack London
H.G.: By heavens name! To find you all here in
one place on the River is a spot of luck!
Harry: We came here from down River to help
celebrate the Festival of Lights, a combination
of the old Winter holidays of Christian, Jewish,
and other old Earth faiths. I hope that you and
your friends will stay to help us celebrate and
see the show and we can talk of old and new
times while getting to know your friends.
*That night the members of the Queen's Gambit
stood on the grassy plains with members of the
community as lights came winding down, in, and
around the trees from both sides of the wooded
hills like two sinuous snakes.*
Annie: How beautiful!
Harry: A bit of luck. A fisherman discovered
that theTurtlefish had a substance within
its body that could be used like wax, and would
burn like a candle.
Hawk: And it can be used like a glue when mixed
withIrontree leaf resin, which makes it
impervious to heat and most wonderful to use on
our one person gliders.
Ben: Like the one that Harry landed on the plain
as we arrived? I'm most interested in how your
heavier then air machines are made, and how they
*Jack London was speaking with Nemo and Captain
Bonnie regarding the large bamboo boat that lay
anchored by the river bank, as he had much
experience using crafts upon the sea.*
Nemo: That's not quite what I said.†We have two
catapults, one fore and one aft. The fore
catapult is modeled after the catapults of old
where they tossed huge rocks at castle walls.
The aft catapult is like a giant crossbow.
They're† both basically war machines and the aft
catapult would have to be modified to launch
your gliders but that's not my decision. And it
may not be large enough.
Bonnie: We could always use the additions to the
crew but modifying the catapult poses a few
problems. First, we would lose a valuable
weapon, one that we've used before and I don't
like the idea of sailing without it. Secondly,
we would need to modify the catapult before we
set sail. Then one glider could be stored on the
catapult and the other, if disassembled, could
be stored on the aft deck. There's no room for
them any other way. That means a layover here
for however long it takes to make those
adjustments. Can we afford that? And what good
would it do to launch a glider off the ship
anyway? If I understand it correctly, the glider
is just that, a device that glides on the wind
with no power of its own. Therefore, it cannot
climb in altitude, it can only float downward.
Based on that, I have to decline your request to
modify my catapult. We can disassemble one of
the gliders and store it on the aft deck or
we can leave it here. That's up to you. But
either way, the second glider has to remain on
shore. I don't see any room for it aboard the
Queen's Gambit. But I am willing to listen if
you have a better idea.
Hardin: It seems to me that if we can take one
apart, we should be do the same for the other.
I looked at these gliders and they don't look
that big. We should be able to store both on the
deck together. But it would make more sense to
modify the catapults here in place that we're
welcome and fairly safe. There's also plenty of
manpower to gather the supplies needed while we
gather supplies for the next leg of the journey
*Hardin stopped talking for a moment as he
looked aft at the catapult. Then he had an
Hardin:† I'm no engineer but I'm thinking it
shouldn't be too much trouble to just remove
that catapult and secure it to the deck right
here in the middle of the ship and then build a
new one big enough to launch these gliders.
I'm sure one of you guys could come up with a
way to brace a larger one to the hull in such a
way that we'd be able to remove it and put the
old one back on quickly if its needed. We'd have
to make some adjustments because of the old
catapult being in the way here but if we can get
used to living on this River then a catapult in
the middle of the deck should be nothing.
*Hardin looked at everyone to see their
reactions but mostly he wanted to see what
Captain Bonny thought and willing was she to
really listen to another idea. It may be her
ship but if we all agreed to this she *had* to
agree whether she wanted to or not.*
Hawk: I agree with Mr. Hardin. The gliders were
constructed so that they could easily be put
together and taken apart, and light enough so that one person could transport each without
difficulties. As Mr. Hardin suggests, I'm sure
that I could adapt the present catapalt to be
used as a weapon and a launch platform for the
gliders as well as allowing it to be set up toward the center of the boat. Storage of the
gliders when they are broken down should present no difficulty, and Mr. Franklin and I are
investigating something very interesting. If it
works out, your comment regarding the gliders
not being able to gain altitude will be moot
*Bonnie looked at Nemo who seemed to indicate
that he agreed with the idea although it was a
very subtle indication.*
Bonnie: I like the idea. Mr. Hawker, you and Mr.
Franklin will look over the catapult and decide
what needs to be done to it. It will be up to
you to decide what the best course of action
will be but keep in mind, I will not sail
without a working war machine for the stern. Is
that clear? Mr King, you will be in charge of
getting whatever supplies are needed to rebuild
the catapult. Mr. Wells and Monsieur de
Montfort, you go along with Mr. King and follow
his orders. Mr. Hawker, before any work is
started I need to know how long it will take.
Miss Linska, take Mr. Musashi and Mr. Houdini
below and check out the stores then go ashore
and find a way to resupply our water, food
stores and other supplies. We will need to
replace that length of rope we lost. Mr.
Collins, you and Mr. London take the first
watch. No one is to get close, and absolutely no
one is to come aboard but the crew. Miss Oakley,
if you and Mr. Hardin will join Mr. Nemo and
myself in my cabin.
*The orders were given and everyone moved on to
their assigned tasks. Miss Linska went below
with Musashi and Harry to check the food.*
Linska: We keep a supply of food and water so we
don't have to depend on the grailstones. Too
many of them are in very hostile areas. Whenever
the lightning stikes we like to call it
"feeding the cattle". We also keep fresh water
because we found areas of the river where the
water is undrinkable. The water is in those clay
jugs over there, the ones with the wicker around
them. That helps keep the clay from breaking.
Damn! These two must have been broken when we
came up out of the water. We came down pretty
hard. Those baskets contain the food. We'll
count the number in the crew and then calculate
what we can put in this storage area. We'll also
need to check our ammunition.
*Hawk and Ben went aft to look over the catapult
as Mr. King, HG and Simon followed.*
King: I spent alot of time ashore and have a
pretty good idea of what's available to us in
terms of building supplies. We shouldn't have
any trouble finding what we need. You just need
to make sure the ship stays balanced both port
to starboard as well as fore and aft. If the
stern gets too heavy the bow lifts out of the
water and that's not good.
*Collins and Jack took their positions near the
Collins: Like the Cap'n said, no one gets too
near and no one comes aboard. We always get lots
of gawkers who think they have some right to
come aboard.Usually we growl and they leave but
every so often one decides to test us. They end
up in the river and usually go home. Oh, when
they return with the supplies, don't help them.
Our job to keep a lookout for trouble. We can't
do that if we're carrying supplies. Got it?
*Once inside the cabin Bonnie motioned for them
all to sit at the table as she went to a large
chest and took out a large pitcher. She placed
it in the middle of the table and sat down. The
pitcher was made of what looked like glazed clay
or pottery and could hold about one liquid
gallon. On the outside was painted a picture. It
was an outdoor winter scene, with rocks snow and
ice. In the center of a large mist-covered polar
sea was a tower.*
*Hardin picked up the pitcher and turned it
slowly in his hands. He looked at the scene on
it very carefully and then studied the rest of
Hardin: Where did this come from? From the way
you've described it I assume that's The Tower.
*looking at Annie.* This thing looks pretty old,
I don't know, a few hundred years maybe? *he
gently placed in front of Annie* My
father-in-law was a self-proclaimed expert on
pottery and things like this. He didn't stop
lecturing me about it when I said I wanted to
buy my wife something nice for the house. I
guess I should've listened more to that SOB and
I might've if he wasn't so arrogant. He knew
everything about everything and was more than
willing to tell that to everyone too. Wait a
*He picked up the pitcher again before Annie
could and looked it over once more.*
Hardin: Like I said, I'm not the expert on this
but it doesn't look like the English set I ended
up buying. The old man said I wasted my money on
a piece of crap. *smiling* I ended up telling
him to go to Hell. Anyway, it doesn't look
English and I'd say it's not fancy enough to be
French. It certainly doesn't look Chinese and it
has some sort of glaze so its probably not
Afican. That leaves Greek, Roman or even
Mexican. There's some lettering on the bottom
that I don't recognize which means its not
English, French, Latin or Spanish. That leaves
Greek by process of elimination. Again, I'm no
expert so I could be way off on this.
*Looking at Captain Bonnie, he handed the
pitcher to Annie.*
Hardin: Do you know anything about this thing?
Where it's from or who made it?
* A sound, a feeling, a smell. Those were the
first thoughts that popped into mind. The sound
was that of gentle waves crashing against his
body, the feeling of cold, and a smell of pine?
He slowly got up groaning with pain. Looking
around he started to take stock of the
situation. Indeed he was right. He was wet and
cold and on a beach. The smell of pine was very
strong in the area. Possible something to with
the forest nearby he thought. Getting up and
feeling like so much washed up rubbish, he
strolled over to a pile of towels and a
He stood at roughly a height of 5'9", and liked
to think that he had a muscular build, a long
waist length, pure white hair, weighed in at 180
lbs., and was reasonably fit. He found that he
had no problems moving, no achy joints, nor
pains, not even any scares! Hmm he thought, very
strange. On closer inspection, he was able to
get the cylinder open. Shaking it around a bit,
he dislodged a small bundle. Unwrapping it he
found that there were clothes which he put on
and found that they fit quite well and were
quite comfortable. Scouting around for a sense
of direction, he came upon the conclusion that
he had to head north, or upstream so, without
knowing where he was going or what he would be
doing, he decided that he would boldly going
where no man had gone before!*
Bonnie: I don't have the answers to those
questions, Mr. Hardin. We know very little about
it but perhaps Mr. Nemo would care to explain.
Nemo: I was part of an expedition that was
trying to reach the Pole. Our leader has heard
rumors and was determined to find out the truth.
We started with more than 25 men and it seems we
travelled for months, maybe years. Between the
ice and snow we lost track of time but we were
way beyond the last grailstone and on foot. I
estimate perhaps 3, maybe 4 months based on our
food supply when we climbed very high and steep
cliffs. By the time we reached the top we were
down to less than 10 men and completely out of
food. At the top the land was flat and frozen
but we had no choice but to continue on. When we
reached the frozen lake we could see the tower
in the distance. That's the last thing I
remember. When I woke up I was in a warmer part
of the river. Maybe it was just a dream, maybe
it was real. My choice then was stay put, head
south or head north so I chose north again. I
asked as I travelled but no one heard or knew
anything about the Tower. Then one day I found
an earthenware urn, one very much like that,
with the same picture. The person who made it
had died more than a year before but no one knew
how. Before I left that village it was attacked
by a neighboring tribe and everything was
destroyed, including the urn. I escaped the
carnage and kept moving north eventually meeting
up with Captain Bonney. Some months back we
found this pitcher in the burnt out ruins of a
small village some distance north of here.
*Nemo paused to let his story sink in.*
Bonnie: When he explained the picture, I
realized that I had heard the before, a long
time ago, as a little girl. I decided then that
I must reach the North Pole. Somehow it's a link
between this world and the last one.
We've heard rumors that the way north is guarded
by everything from demons who ride on the wind
to large armies of huge two legged creatures who
ride on the backs of giant hairy tigers and
elephants. We've also heard, and Mr. Nemo has in
fact seen this. There are villages along the
river that are determined to stop anyone from
reaching the Pole, as well as some individuals.
For this reason we were skeptical of telling you
too much but we feel that now's the time. All we
know is that the Tower is at the North Pole and
the River flows either from there or near it.
The grailstones stop long before the Pole, and
there's nothing but snow and ice from then on.
No food, no shelter, no fires. We know these to
*Bonnie paused to take a drink.*
Bonnie: Our plan has been to take the Queen's
Gambit as far north on the River as possible,
and then go on foot the rest of the way. It's
difficult on this world to know for sure, but we
believe that we still have many months, maybe
even years left to travel. In that time we'll
prepare for the cold as well as gather enough
food stores to make the trip from the last
grailstone to the Tower and back. With luck,
we'll also pick up new crew members, such as
yourself, who can help us get to the Tower. But
I have to stress this one fact; I am NOT in
favor of telling all new crew members of our
plans or even our destination. That means, for
the time being, no one but those in this room
now are to know of what we discuss in here
without prior permission from me. Any comments,
Annie: Thank you for being a straight-shooter
with us Mr. Nemo and you Captain Bonney. I do
recognize the markings on this urn. This was on
the forehead of a mysterious stranger that came
to me while we were being held "to keep us safe"
from you by the under-River Aquatainians. He or
she promised us aid in reaching the Tower.
*Annie gave the pitcher back to Captain Bonney*
Annie: As to your request that we discuss this
with no one outside this room. It is a bit late
for that, as all our original members and the
three new members. All have been told the aim
of the Quest, and since it would be dangerous,
they were given the opportunity not to go with
us. I feel that each and every person who we
ask to join us, know it is possible that they
may "die" or even worse, become a slave or
*Annie paused, looked at Hardin, and said,*
Annie: Please. If you would allow me a moment of
private conversation with Mr. Hardin?
*She and Hardin moved out of earshot of the two
Annie: I feel that since we now know their goal,
we might have Ben tell them about his discovery
if you know what I mean?
*Running helped him think. To clear his mind.
Stopping for a second to catch his breath he
thought that the strangest part of it was his
physical age. His body appeared to be in perfect
condition, and as he was at the age of 25 as
well. Not that he was going to argue. Being at
the height of his physical prowess certanly
helped. Having no shoes was an entirly different
matter. He was going to have to find more
appropriate clothes, weapons and some food. On
the way up stream he thought he had seen some
signs of human life. For the moment staying out
of sight and out of mind, seemed like the safest
bet. When he figured out what the situation was,
and if they were hostile or not, he was not
going to risk it. Scouting out a village on the
way, he spotted a human male. He seem to be
about the same build height and most
importanatly he had shoes! Letting the male walk
a few feet more, he lunged from the bushes,
knocking the man out. Quickly stripping the man
and changing into the new clothes, he took his
weapons and a few other items. Then he decided
on keeping the old clothes (just in case). Then
he turned north, smiled, and started running
again. This time heading closer to the stream.
Hardin: I disagree. I don't entirely trust our
little Irish sea captain here, after all she's
IS a pirate, remember? And you, when those fish
people were alledgedly keeping us safe, who was
it they were keeping us safe from? Most of us
didn't trust those fish people but you were the
one who insisted that we could. So, do we trust
the fish people or Little Miss Half Naked over
there? Besides, we may need to use that little
secret should they turn on us but we can always
tell them later.
*Hardin paused for a moment and looked over at
Bonnie and Nemo.*
Hardin: Look, I've been screwed over more times
than I can count by people I thought I could
trust so I'm not ready to jump in and start
trusting anyone, let alone strangers. But you're
the Boss, remember? So its up to you.
Annie: You may be correct, and I think that I
know you enough now to trust those premonitions
that you seem to have. You can take center stage
at this point.
*They walked back to Bonnie and Nemo and sat
Hardin: I agree about not telling anyone but
like she said, its a bit late. I'm not saying I
trust every member your crew, or every member of
our own group for that matter, but I think
everyone of us on board now already knows where
we're headed. Perhaps the best thing is to say
that there is to be no discussion of our plans
with anyone else but the current crew, and we
will not be taking on any new crewmen. This
boat's already full as is.
Bonnie: Unfortunately there is an individual now
aboard who's trustworthiness is in question.
This is someone who doesn't remember me but who
I certainly remember from another part of this
river. This is someone who has knowledge that we
need to reach the Tower but who may be here to
stop us. That is the reason for my demand for
secrecy. Don't ask who it is. I know who it is
and will be watching. And I will determine guilt
or innocence as well as punishment.*She paused.*
All the crew knows, is that we are trying to
reach the Pole to find the Tower. Our strategy
and the details of our plans, must remain with
us alone until the time comes when it can no
longer be kept secret. As far as someone dying
or becoming a slave, that's everyday life on
this River. It has nothing to do with the search
for the Tower. According to Mr. Nemo, the last
few grailstones are different in appearance than
those along the rest of the River. When and if
we get to those, everyone aboard will again be
given the choice of going ashore or continuing
on. I trust Mr. Nemo with more than just my life
and I expect that he has the same trust in me. I
also have my reasons for trusting you two as
does Mr. Nemo. Now, do I have your word that
you will abide by my expectation of secrecy?
Annie: As you trust Nemo with your life, I in
turn trust Miyumoto Musashi with mine. So. I can
not give you my word where he is concerned. I
also wonder why you say that you trust Mr.Hardin
and myself, but you will not share with us, as
I'm sure you've done with Mr. Nemo, the name of
the individual now aboard whom you suspect of
possibly attempting to stop us from reaching the
Pole and the Dark Tower.
Bonnie: 'Tis a fair question but you'll not
receive an answer. As Captain I've made this
decision and it's for your own good. Your own
safety to be more exact. I have my reasons for
sharing this knowledge with the two of you at
this time and you will just have to accept the
fact that you will know who it is when I feel
the time is right. Now, do I have your word to
keep this information just between us or not?
*Just then there was a loud commotion from
outside. There was lots of yelling and then what
sounded like angry words. Bonnie and Nemo
quickly went up on deck and saw Mr Collins
standing at the bottom of the gangplank in a
heated conversation with another man. Jack
London was at the top of the gangplank on the
deck of the ship watching. Bonnie stepped to the
side and called out as Nemo walked past and down
Bonnie:Mr Collins! What is going on?
Collins: Sorry Cap'n but you said absolutely no
one was to come near the ship.
*Collins stepped aside and then Bonnie saw the
man who was arguing.*
Bonnie: Mr Kan. We had not expected to see you
again this soon.
Kan: Cap'n! This fool won't let me aboard.
What's going on?
*When the Captain recognized Kan, Collins eased
up a little and Kan pushed past him and headed
for the gangplank only to find Nemo in his way.*
Kan: Cap'n! Why's Mr Nemo blocking me? I'm still
part of the crew, right? I mean, I've only been
gone a few days.
Bonnie: True, Mr. Kan, very true. Unfortunately
a lot has happened in those few days and no,
you're no longer a part of this crew. I'm sorry,
but if you insist on trying to board the Queen's
Gambit these gentlemen will be sure to prevent
*Kan's face took on the look of pure shock. He
looked to Nemo then Collins, then back to
Kan: Surely you're not serious Cap'n?
*Seeing that there was no doubt that she was
indeed serious Kan backed away. He slowly walked
away from the River, looking back every so often
hoping that someone would call to him.*
* During this scene, Annie spoke to Hardin in a
Annie: It would appear to me that Mr. Kan's
arrival here rather than a different part of the
River is very unusual. First Man told us that
there were agents of those in the Dark Tower
that were among us, whose origins were not of
the Earth from which we came. I am of the
opinion that I will not even think of giving my
word of silence unless Miyumoto is apprised of
all that we have learned. I am also wary of a
trust that is not a trust. How do you feel?
Hardin:I don't trust anyone. It's just my
nature. Back in the old days, whereever that
was, trusting the wrong people meant a bullet in
the back. Here it's different. To be honest, I
never did trust all of the group that came with
us but I have more faith in you than most. Not
that I trust you completely, just a little more
than most of the others. I don't like this place
and if there's a way out of here then count me
in to help find it.
*Hardin watched the scene unfold between Bonnie
and Kan then turned to Annie.*
Hardin: She knows more than she's saying and I
don't like not knowing what it is. But I think
we have to give her story some attention. If
she's right, we could be in big trouble if we
ignore it. If she's attempting to fool us then
we could be in big trouble with that too. Either
way we have to keep our ears and eyes open.
*He paused for a moment and looked out over the
River as he gathered his thoughts.*
Hardin: Keep in mind that every member of our
group met for the first time here on the River.
You have no idea if they are who they say they
are, or if they are, maybe they're in the employ
of those who put us here. That includes Musashi.
I know how you feel about him and some of the
others, but with what we have at stake, I'm just
saying we each need to be careful.
*Then he smiled.*
Hardin: I didn't give my word, did you? Perhaps
our little group should have private get
together later. Doesn't Musashi need some
special herbs or something?
*He looked at Annie to see if she understood and
Annie: I'm happy to hear that you trust me, even
if it's just a little more than most of the
*A wee bit of a smile appeared on her face*
I too feel that our Captain Bonnie is hiding a
good deal from us. For example, a while back she
A week from now we'll be going through a part of
the river that's controlled by someone who hates
me more than the devil himself. She has a large
number of boats, none as big as the Queen's
Gambit, but we may not be a match for the sheer
numbers she can throw at us. And she'll do
anything to take this ship away from me. Or sink
This was the only time I saw her feelings came
through the bravado and confidence she displays.
She also spoke about a Mr. Sax who had built a
"sun engine" to power this boat. Mr. Sax is gone
but Nemo knows how to run it. She mentioned that
Microwave, when Ben spoke to here about it, but
Ben told me that she was hiding something.
No. I too need to think a bit more before giving
my word. And Yes. Musashi did mention to me that
he wanted to speak with a fellow countryman from
the Japan of his time, that he has discovered
* After Mister Kan had left, Annie informed
Bonnie that she, Hardin, and the others were
going with Musashi to meet with a countryman he
had found that had lived in Japan during the
same time period on Earth as he, and then they
would take a bit of what might just be the last
rest and relaxation that they might have before
going north up the River. She stated that they
would meet back at the boat before dark. At that
time, they would speak further about the matter
they had spoken about. Then she, Hardin and
Musashi went to get the others of their group.*
*It seemed so strange to be running. That he
did not know who he was running from or where he
was running to annoyed him, since there was no
clear target to reach or an enemey to kill, so
he did what his head said and ran for the hills
quite literally it seems. A little bit up River
he came to a great firery cone. He got some and
then found a spot by the River, made a fire, and
settled down for the night. Feeling the heat
warm him up, he soon became dozy. In the midst
of his sleep the hunter could have sworn that
he had seen a very large boat.*
*Annie and the others had come back from
having visited Musashi's friend, and after the
changes and additions had been made on the boat,
the Queen's Gambit resumed its voyage up the
*Sun Tzu had awoken from his sleep, and as he
looked toward the River, he saw the boat that
had been in his dream. Gathering up his things
and placing them in their waterproof covering, he quickly went to the edge of the River, dove
in, and when he reached the boat, he stealthily
made his way over the gunwales and down below decks where he hid.*
*When dawn came Bonnie was already on deck with
the night watch. She drank a hot beverage from a
cup and looked out over the river.†Talking half
to herself and half to Jack Collins at the
Bonnie: We'll need to pull ashore to recharge
our grails sometime today but I don't like this
part of the river. When the crew is awake we'll
have to get an inventory of the food and
provisions that the grails provide. Maybe we can
go a few more days without going ashore.
*As she spoke, her thoughts were much further
away than the shore. They went to the open seas
of her past to the American West to some time
along the River then to the North Pole and the
Tower. After long minutes of silence she walked
along the rail from aft to bow then down along
the other side, deep in thought. The River was
silent as the wind moved them slowly along. Then
a thought came to her.*
Bonnie: Mr. Collins *she said somewhat softly.*
Go below and wake Mr. Hardin. Be careful not to
wake the others and have Mr. Hardin come up on
*She took the wheel and smiled to herself as Mr.
Collins when silently below.*
*Hiding in the darkness Sun Tzu heard voices.
He listened for a while and realised that what
he heard didn't appear to be a danger to him.
Getting out some food he had stolen from a
nearby town he unwrapped and began to eat. Just
as he finished someone came from around the
corner. Sun Tzu jumped up, ran up the steps to
the deck and toward the edge of the boat.*
*Hardin woke up as the former prize fighter
shook him gently and put his large hand over his
Collins:Cap' Bonney wants you up on deck, alone.
*Hardin rose and climbed the ladder up to the
deck. Still half asleep he looked around in the
dim light just before dawn. Seeing Bonney he
walked over to her. He shook the sleep from his
head and then his body.*
Hardin:What can I do for you on this almost
beautiful morning, my dear captain?
*That's when they saw someone strange run up on
Hardin:What the...?? Who the hell is that?
*Sun Tzu was about to dive off the side of the
boat when two well-muscled arms reached out and
entwined themselves around his neck. Reaching
far back, grabbing Mr. Jack Collins around the
neck, and making a quick movement with his hip,
the hunter threw the ex-boxer to the deck.
Quick to recover Collins charged the stranger
like a angered bull. Sun Tsu thought to himself.
If the enemy has the advantage on even ground,
take the fight to uneven ground and make him
fight you. If you can make the enemy come to
you, you can have the advantage. The lesson he
often taught floated back into his memory. It
was time to put them into practice.
*The fighter growled at him and made his move.
With a quick motion Sun Tzu was on top of the
cabin, grinning widely at the fighter, enticing
him with the pretence of an easy fight.*
Collins: Coward! *cried the fighter.* Come down
here and fight like a man!"
Sun: I fight like man. It is you who fears to
come up here and fight!
*Inwardly Sun Tzu smiled. Surely it could not be
this easy.They did not fight like warriors yet
they had the courage of them. Were they friend
or foe? His first thought was foe, but now he
was not so sure. If this were his army they
would have been severely scolded for making such
a mistake. Or in the case of two concubines,
they would have their heads chopped off. This
however was neither the time nor the place for
memories, as the fighter was starting his way
up. One who knows when he can fight, and when he
cannot fight, will be victorious. The fighter
hesitated. He climbed up without grace. With one
swift movement the predator swung. The sound
of his foot making contact with the fighter's
jaw made him cringe a bit. The fighter was
obviously not the brightest person on this
world. As he came up the side once again, he was
hit in the face, swearing as he fell to the
ground. Sun Tzu was getting bored of this. As
much fun as it was to win at battle it was
unfair to slaughter the enemy, especially if
they were undeserving of it.
He heard someone call to the fighter. It was
the voice of a warrior of Japanese descent. He
could not be sure, but he looked a like a
Samurai. He walked with the same skill and
precision as Sun Tzu (he would have to careful
of this one).
The fighter and the predator looked at each
other for a minute. As they looked one at the
other, the Samurai spoke *
Musashi: Please listen to me Collins! I
recognize the man with whom you are fighting.
He was the most famous general in the entire
world. His name Sun Tzu, was known and respected
by friend and foe alike in every country on
Earth. If there was ever a military genius, Sun
Tzu was he.
*Shocked, the predator looked at the Samurai
as he jumped from the top of the cabin to the
deck and looked from the Samurai to the fighter.
Slowly Sun Tzu walked over to the fighter
spreading his arms palms up (a sign of peace).
He offered his hand to the fighter and spoke.*
Sun: Know yourself, know your enemy, fight one
hundred battles, win one hundred battles.
*With the crew watching the fight between Jack
Collins and Sun Tzu, no one noticed the ominous
shadows that had come over the side and dropped
quietly to the darkened deck before it was too
late to do anything.*
Capt.Charlotte: Well now Captain Bonnie, we meet
again. I thought that instead of waiting for you
to bring your boat to me, I would greet you
here. I've brought my boys and girls along with
me. They will escort your crew to the hold. *She
raised her voice in order that all would hear
Charlotte: Since my boys and girls would like
nothing better than to play rough with the lot
of you, I would suggest that you play nice.
Captain Bonnie will stay with me for a nostalgic
interchange. All right crew. Check them out for
any playthings and then get them down below!
[Note: You may find out about Capt. Charlotte de
Berry by clicking on and scrolling down at
*Suddenly men and women appeared out of nowhere.
Two men ran head long. The hunter jumped
preparing for attack, this time there was a
clear enemy it was time to let loose. Sun Tzu,
jumped up and cracked one of the larger men
around the face with the bottom of his foot,
and swung around ready for the other. As he
swung he couldn't but help noticing the fire
light up in the other fighters eyes. A certain
sparkle, that Sun Tzu knew well.*
The foot landed on the first mans jaw, a
crunching noise could be heard, as the foot
connected with the others jaw he was thrown back
into a man and a woman, thus ensued utter chaos.
Sun Tzu decided that it was time to put his
second lesson into use. Sun Tzu fondly recalled
standing in front of a group students explaining
his theory's. If you can learn the enemies
dispostion while the enemy does not know yours,
you can gather forces and intelligence and
attack it with ease*.
*With sudden emergence of fighting on board the
notice the dissapearence of one of the greatest
warriors the earth had known, which was fine
with Sun Tzu. it was time to bring this fight to
an end and show these amatures how fighting is
really done. Sun Tzu, the fighter the warrior
the predator smiled evily, and began his true
After a brave and ferocious attempt at
preserving himself, Sun Tzu was subdued by an
out-numbering of Captain de Berry's crew,
trussed up, and carried down into the bottom of
the boat where he was stacked up with the
members of the Quest.
de Berry: Now. Who will elucidate an explanation
of why you have invaded my territory!
Annie: I'm Annie Qakley.I believe that if I can
speak with you privately, I will be able to
explain our prescience in your territory, and
possibly recruit you into our Quest.
de Berry: I would like to find out what this
Quest is that you speak about. If it includes
something valuable, both I and my boys and girls
may certainly be interested! Untie her! Come
this way Oakley!
[This is a role-playing game for mature persons
18 years or older. No knowledge of the books in
the series is necessary though it may help. The
name Riverworld is a trademark of Philip Jose
Farmer. If you would like to join us on the
QUEST, click on