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 Helping the Deserters! ( Quest Line ) ( Complete! )

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Matt Eria

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Level : 1
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PostSubject: Helping the Deserters! ( Quest Line ) ( Complete! )   Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:13 pm

He honestly didn't think he liked Vector very much. It was rigid, militaristic, and apparently had problems with meteors falling from the sky. That on its own was kind of awkward... but hey, his continent had a giant magical monstrous whale terrorizing it at all times. He really, really didn't have room to talk. Still, the problem with Vector? So much magitek. It sounded heretical, in his opinion - if you wanted magic, you needed to tap in to it on your own.

Of course, all of his magic came from other people's memories, so perhaps that's another subject he didn't have room to talk about.

Technology on its own wasn't evil... exactly. It was human reliance on it. It was simply easier to remove temptation all together than to potentially give in to it. So he, like most other people of Spira, tended to only use it when absolutely necessary. Airships, for instance? Chocobos were great for short distances, but nothing beat an Airship.

If only a chocobo could fly, then maybe..?

Eh, he'd dream about other things.

On the plus side, Vector's waterways were nice enough - and it was quite a distance from Spira. That meant he didn't have to wear his mask unless he was working - and sometimes he missed that. When he wore it... it was like he was someone else. Hell, maybe he was - that was the problem with all the extra memories jumbling around inside his head. Yeah, he got something out of it...

But some parts he wanted to forget.

He was standing on the edge of the ocean, when he heard, more than felt, something touch his boot. Glancing down, he tilted his head to get a better look - it appeared to be a bottle. A bottle with a note inside? Yeah, he'd heard that people did that sometimes, but really...? It felt almost pornographic, as he reached down and picked up the bottle with a secret meant for someone who wasn't him.

With a little bit of work, he uncorked the bottle and fished out the note, before sealing it once more and slipping it in to his coat. He wasn't going to litter!

The scrawl was, unfortunately words. He didn't know what the hell else he'd thought he'd find... but therein lied the problem. Carmine would have to sit down with him, and he really needed to try to learn to read. Letting out a frustrated sigh, the Sphere Hunter turned on his heel, and trekked back away from the water's edge.

It took him ten minutes to find someone who wasn't a dick. Not surprisingly, most people were nonplussed when an adult asked them to read something to them. Still, he finally got the information out of someone - a nice older woman who had actually offered him a bit of tea, too. Another ten minutes of visiting with the woman, and he decided that he would probably have to come to Vector more often - if for no other reason than her.

Maybe.

Fortunately! It turned out the words were written in a near illegible scrawl - so it wasn't just his illiteracy that messed this situation up. The people who'd written it were apparently running out of rations, and they were stuck in some underground river-island. He didn't like going underground... not really.

But, he could always use a payoff. Carmine paid him fine, but gil just didn't grow on trees like it should. Letting out a quiet breath, he reached into one of his interior coat pockets, pulled out his mask, and affixed it to his face.

Finding out where the underground river began had not been a particularly daunting task. The river was called Lethe - and apparently, it wasn't a friendly river. Convincing someone to give him a boat hadn't been particularly fun, and he'd ultimately had to trick the man. He wasn't worried about breaking a little non-powered boat... so he'd left his Variable Blade with the man, and, once he was a suitable distance away, he simply summoned the Variable Blade back to him by changing his memory.

Which, was apparently a good thing.

The rapids weren't particularly fun, but more than that, there were things living in them. When people said that Lethe River was unfriendly, he'd just assumed that meant it was rough, choppy waters. Yeah, it was that, but it was also the occasional flying something, baby water dragon... thing - whatever. It caught him off guard the first time, and was actually difficult to dispatch with just his sword.

So, at the first conceivably good moment, he shifted his memories back into a more magically-inclined system. The next time a monster popped out, they got a face full of fire, which was surprisingly effective at deterring them from thinking he'd be a delicious meal. He had to wonder - how many other people got caught up like this? How many others were unaware of the dangers - and didn't have a way to deal with them?

If he dove underwater, would he find skeletons and rafts?

Matt shook his head, and pushed on. He came across several 'islands' - it took quite a few hours of 'sailing' for him to find anything beyond monsters. Who in their right mind would take refuge down here, if they had no way back out? The two people either had to be incredibly powerful, or... well, 'stupid' was probably a rude word, but one he considered nonetheless.

It wasn't until the fourth island - considerably bigger than the other three - he found his first hint at any sentient life. A snuffed out campfire close to the water, but not close enough to be swept away. It might have been a signal fire - but it had long since burned out. Did that mean someone else had gotten here? That was always possible, of course - floating bottle notes weren't the most reliable or efficient means of communication.

Who knew how long it had been in the water before finally washing up on shore?

Still, this had been a relatively interesting trip so far, and he didn't get to boat around often. Not a total loss in his book, even if he'd have to gloss over this wild goose chase if Carmine asked him what he took the extra day doing. Either way, he needed to investigate, just on the off chance that someone was still trapped down here.

Pulling his boat onto a rocky shore, he did his best to make sure it wasn't going to get carried away - and thus strand him down here, too. Tying several loops of rope around a sturdy-looking stone, the masked man departed, leaving the little boat behind, and hunting for more recent signs of life.

He wasn't exactly a master tracker, but he was good enough to navigate a jungle or follow paths that weren't made to be unfollowable - and whoever had left this track had done nothing of the sort. There were long drag marks scuffed into the moss and dirt that had accumulated - almost like someone was limping. Not to mention, there was a lot of erratic motion between the steps. But more concerning than that, was the pair of deeply-entrenched boot prints, that were walking alongside.

Matt couldn't make out the age of either set of prints - so he had no idea who they belonged to, or if they were still alive.

Quietly, the masked sphere hunter crept along, half considering destroying the trail in case anyone was following him. He didn't think so, considering all the times he'd had to slow down or deal with a monster - but one never knew. Once he got close enough to jutting rock faces to press himself against it, he did so - using it to simultaneously provide balance and cover.

It took twenty minutes of stalking to hear a voice - a deeply slurred voice - practically yelling.

"Yoosh... Yoosh got nothin'. We... we ain't know... nothin'." He had to roll his eyes and sigh, just a little bit. Drinking in a bad situation never lead to anything good.

"Shut up, Johnnie!" A less-drunk voice hissed, barely audible. Matt continued to creep forward, his feet making little noise as he went. A man, dressed almost like a glorified security guard, had his arms crossed in front of him - and a cape pinned to his back. A cape, really..? What possible reason did anyone have a cape?

Then again, he wore his big duster-y trench coat, so whatever.

"You're both traitors, and you're both under arrest. We know the information you stole is valuable to the Empire. We know you came down here to try and sell it to the Returners for safe passage out of Vector. We know--"

Whatever else they knew was cut short with the sound of shattering glass. He'd been so focused on his speech, that he hadn't heard Matt sneaking up behind him. Then it was a simple matter of taking the bottle from before out of his pocket, and slugging him in the back of the head with it. He collapsed pretty much instantly, and the man just shook his head.

"You a Returner? We've got--"

Matt lifted a dismissive hand. "I'm not a Returner. I got one of your messages - about paying for a little help off this island."

"Told Yoosh it'd wohrk..." The clearly more inebriated man slurred. Matt shrugged, and glanced behind him. "I have a boat - I know how I got here, and I know how to get back out. You just need to sit back, re--"

It was his turn to be cut off. "We need more than that. We can't just get dumped on the streets - we'd be as good as dead. We need out of Vector all together. Preferably without getting murdered in the process." Matt considered protesting... after all, he did have the upper hand in this scene. It wasn't as though they were in any position to make any demands.

"Fine. I'll think of something to get you out of Vector, too. But you know, fooling the people who are coming to rescue you? Not really endearing to your cause." The sober one was lifting the drunk up off the ground, a struggle all its own, it seemed.

"Desperate times, my friend."

Matt paused, and lifted up a hand.

"You weren't lying about the payment, though, right? Because if that's the case, I'll be putting you down myself and turning you over to Vector to claim a reward on your head. Are we clear?" Wedge looked... surprised by that.

"You'd--" Matt nodded, sharply. "I came down here for the money. I'm not from Vector, and I'm not interested in your politics." It sounded cold - Matt was intentionally putting steel in his voice. There was a reason he did what he did. He wasn't getting a Sphere out of this venture, so he was damn sure getting money - one way or the other. "It sounds callous, but you didn't specify that you wanted a charity worker rescue party."

Wedge gritted his teeth, but nodded. "No, it wasn't a lie. We'll pay you. Just... get us out of here."

Matt turned and lead the way back to the boat he'd left tied there. Partway through the trip back, he spotted something he hadn't noticed before, so focused on the tracks as he'd been. A raft - marked with loyalist Vector colors - was on the shore. Not the same one as where he'd been tied, but still, it was there.

Thoughtfully, Mark considered...

And finally decided not to torch the boat. He didn't want to abandon anyone down here, regardless of who they were working for. They were just doing their job, after all.

"Get in the front. I'll maneuver from the back." Mostly? Matt just didn't want to get cold-cocked in the back of the head. He'd seen it done once today, and he didn't want to give them any ideas. Once the trio was settled, Matt pushed away from the mooring, and adjusted to the heavier boat. Digging one gloved hand into his pocket, he pulled out a pair of potions he'd bought, and a few rations.

"Here. Eat this. I didn't know if you'd be starved or not..." He said, simply - despite his cold exterior, he wasn't entirely heartless. But he wasn't going to play around when it came to his money. There was no reason to try and toy with him. He continued to move, steering the boat back the way he'd come.

His Casting Rod was in his lap - he didn't think he needed it... not really, but it did feel better to have it when he was using magic. Despite the horrid symbolism of its top, he didn't feel right working without it. On the plus side - it gave him an idea.

"Hold on, please." Wedge and Johnnie both looked at him uncertainly. He knew that soon, something would be attacking the boat. That's simply how these rapids were. But rather than sit and wait for it to happen, Matt smirked, behind his mask. Reaching the Rod back, he dipped it into the water. Focusing on the very end of it, he released a pressurized burst of wind - and the boat began to rocket forward.

It wasn't a perfect system - he couldn't sustain the airflow long enough to make it consistent, but with each little burst, he forced them forward, far faster than anything could latch on to it. It even allowed him to turn almost on a dime. The time between where they'd started, and the entrance with which he entered, had been cut nearly in half.

He was tired, though. It had cost a lot of energy to do that. The Rod vanished, as he lost the need for it.

Arriving back at the dock he'd departed from, he hopped up and out of the boat. He noted that the drunk one looked quite green. Matt hadn't even thought about the ramifications of that jumping start-stop thing he was doing... just that it would move things along. Namely, them.

"Okay, so what's the plan to get us out of Vector?" Wedge asked, his voice low.

"First? Stop whispering. You're acting like someone suspicious. It's only going to make people more suspicious."

"Says the guy in a mask." Matt couldn't help but smirk behind his mask. He was right on that front. "What can I say? I'm Spiran. We're eccentric." He shouldn't be joking with the man that would be his paycheck. "Besides. I'm not worried about you getting caught, now. They're expecting you to have vanished - I really doubt they think you're even in the city. No matter what the Knight back there was saying - if they'd known you were down there? There would have been a platoon."

It was only logical.

He turned, and faced Wedge. "Now's the time for my payment." He extended his hand, and Wedge looked... less than thrilled. "When we're--" Matt shook his head.

"I said I'd get you out. Of the two of us, which is the one that's lied so far?" His question was pointed, but Wedge... didn't look impressed. "I told you what would happen if you stiffed me." Finally, grudgingly, Wedge pulled a sack of gil out of his pocket, and practically threw it at him. Mark caught it against his chest, and shoved it into one of his pockets.

"Not gonna count it?"

Mark's eyes lit up behind the mask, a soft glow permeating it. "Are you saying it's not all there? I'm sure the reward for your head would still be valid after you've paid me to get you out. Double the profits."

The other guy looked sheepish, and he shook his head. "No. Sorry. Please, lead the way." Matt let out an annoyed sigh, and turned on his heel. He paused at the dockmaster's, and let him know the boat was back, and untarnished - and to not worry about the sword.

"I'll get you on an Airship. That'll be your ticket out. Let's go." If Wedge objected to the plan, he didn't make it audible. Matt lead the way to the Airship ports - thankfully not too far from the water-based ports. He peered around, checking each one with a careful eye, until he decided on one. It was smaller, rougher-looking, and certainly didn't appear to be as accommodating as one of the others. But that was the point.

He approached one of the people working on restocking, who went in to get the captain at his request.

After a quiet, ten-minute conversation, the captain and the black-gloved man shook hands, Matt feeling quite accomplished for this. Carmine would be heated when she got the delivery of two men... but the money they were making was worth it. After all - he wasn't paying the captain, Wedge and Johnnie would be.

"Get on the boat. Captain Sparrow will keep you stowed away, and take you to Spira. It's the best I can do on short notice."

"We'll take it. Thank you..." A slight shake of his head made it obvious he wasn't giving away his name. He'd let the captain deal with the two of them - their note had promised payment to anyone who helped them - and the captain was doing just that.

Without another look over his shoulder, Matt left the port - heading back to the nice lady's home for another cup of tea. Maybe a shower.

( WC - 3036
Thread EXP - 303.6
Quest EXP - 1000
Quest Gil - 500 )

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