“You’re late,” the purple-eyed girl replied as she sat in the candlelit room of his office.
On his other vessel, he would have told her to get out, but seeing as how this was the ship she built from scratch, he figured that his title was merely just what it was. Just a title. “I was busy dealing with idiots,” he replied before the door opened again.
Simone De La Croix, Elliot Cheric, and Andrew Nielsen entered the room with grim expressions. Olivia gestured for all four to take seats around the board table before interlacing her fingers together.
“It seems that we have a problem on our hands,” she started before looking at the sheet of paper on the table. On the sheet was a list of names that the state wanted dead or alive. These names all reflected those on their vessel. The only ones that weren’t on that list were Elliot, Simone, and Nielsen. Charlotte’s name wasn’t on there, but that was probably because the state assumed she was killed by Zaine.
“Robert Petersons’s and Henry Hobbs’s names aren’t on this,” Olivia muttered once she had gotten a glimpse of the sheet. “Meaning, the state has been our enemy since day one.” She slammed her palm down on the parchment before rubbing her temples. “I was wondering why my plans didn’t unfold the way that they should have.” She slid it over to her brother’s friend when he reached for it.
Simone grabbed the sheet, glimpsing the names, while Elliot began to rub the bridge of his nose. “This may mean we still have some rats on board,” Simone said while he handed the paper over to Aden. The emerald-eyed lad briefly looked over the paper before placing it down.
“The robots and crew have been searching this place for bugs and locator devices all throughout the voyage. We found some more this morning while unloading more of our stock,” Olivia replied before looking at Nielsen. The blond was holding his chin in his palm, thinking about something. “Do you have something you want to suggest, Mr. Nielsen?”
“Well,” the man started looking at the people sitting at the board table before looking down, “I should say we keep our profiles low, but that will be difficult with this ostentatious vessel we have.”
Elliot leaned back into his own chair. “I suggest we get rid of this ship and get a smaller and accommodated ship that won’t raise suspicion. We decrease the size of the crew and robots then keep those who are well-known under disguise. New aliases would be appropriate and contact lenses as well.” He was staring at Olivia’s eye color when he said this.
“You want to hide?” Aden replied dully. “Haven’t you thought that maybe they want us to go under the radar while they continue doing whatever they have planned?”
Olivia sighed, ceasing the rising tension in the room. “I have to agree with Summerfeld. I believe it would raise more suspicion if we were to try getting rid of the vessel. I can disguise the ship to be less ostentatious by slimming it down. It will take some time, but I can assign the robots to begin immediately.”
Simone pondered, “How long will it take?”
“A rushed project on this level could take less than two weeks if I help with the components. We have to find a remote location that won’t necessarily care if we’re there for a long period of time,” Olivia replied before opening her briefcase. Inside it were completed blueprints of the galleon vessel they were on currently. The papers also contained sketches of the ship scaled down about two times the size and would accommodate forty to fifty people with the twenty to thirty robots. “I thought that the pirates may recognize us through our ship, so I planned for a new makeover.”
Nielsen looked at the blueprints spread out on the table before nodding. “This is brilliant, Olivia. I never would have thought technology would allow such an interesting transformation.”
Elliot peered at the drawing before leaning back himself. “Basically, you’re taking away all the empty spaces in this ship and narrowing down the areas to fit our needs. The cosmetic detail involving the stained glass and paint will not fool the state and pirates for long though.”
Simone glanced over to Elliot with a look. “I suppose that would work in regard to this ship’s image, but with all the checkpoints around the port cities these days, a vessel needs to have a signed contract to sail. All vessels are required to possess these sorts of paperwork. Otherwise, we may as well avoid all cities from this point.”
Nielsen nodded in agreement. “I read the Quarter issue this morning that the state was requiring all cities to report any unclaimed vessels to a local branch, but luckily, Refrazzya does not care who ports with them.”
“All they care about is money,” responded Aden while he absorbed the information. “This city is not the type to align itself to a particular group or interest because its particular leader is interested only by dreggs.”
Regardless, Elliot added to the end of his sentence, “To avoid suspicion, we should claim ourselves once the ship is remodeled.”
Simone looked to the emerald-eyed boy before turning to the inventor. “We certainly can’t have you or Summerfeld in charge of this vessel. Elliot or Nielsen will have to sign as the commodore of this vessel.”
“I will jump off this ship before I am subjugated to Andy’s commands again.” He glared at his previous instructor before looking at the younger Cheric sibling, seeing how she weighed all the options presented. “You can’t honestly be thinking of agreeing with them.”
Olivia grabbed both ends of her blueprint to wrap it up into a neat roll. She merely glanced at Aden before sighing. “Once the state put our names on that wanted list, they completely tied our hands. If we intend to win this war, we must sacrifice dignity, honor, and titles to accomplish what we’re hoping for.”
Simone was curious by what she meant by winning. “What exactly are we hoping for?”
At which point, she bluntly replied, “To live.”
۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞