He had spotted him as he entered the smoke filled bar: Elias Thible, the most notorious airship captain in the eastern skies. He wouldn’t call him a friend, more like….. a favored rival. Both of them had smuggled all kinds of contraband, including aather, and dodged authorities on more than one occasion. He himself by sea and Elias by air. A squid and a cormorant as sea and air smugglers were called. Captain James Bonnetson contemplated his options while taking a sip of his drink. He could sneak out the back and get himself lost for a while, tell his frenemy to sod off or… he could hear him out. Sipping a second time, the pirate cursed himself and kept seated at his booth.
It took Elias a while to find him in the crowded room; James could have made it easier but that wasn’t his style. If people wanted to find him, they'd better really want to. Finally the airship captain settled in front of him.
“Only took me a week to track you down Bonnetson, you're getting sloppy,” Elias remarked. “Interesting that you don’t credit yourself but rather blame me for slipping up. Tells a lot about a man when he talks like that.”
The airship captain smiled and let it slide.
“I didn’t come to chit-chat.”
“Great, because I don’t have the patience for it and you have about two minutes before I’m gone..”
“Do you know why I'm here?” The pirate could guess, as he had heard of Lody Tung and his daring escape from his home country thanks to the airship captain in front of him.”I know what you've been doing if that has anything to do with it.” Elias nodded; “it does.” Lifting his glass James chugged the drink; “No riddles, give it to me straight …..mate.” Elias leaned forward; “Did you hear why Lody had to leave his home country?” “I might have...” The smuggler murmured. “What about it?” Elias leaned even closer and whispered. “We're forming a crew unlike any before, every member both an operator and musician.” “Sounds quite the show.” “It is. Soon people all over will know the name, Brazzmatazz.” Bonnetson’s curious nature got the better of him; “any luck so far?” Elias smiled; “for better or for worse, Lody insists not only on talent, but spirit too, people who stand out.” Taking another sip from his absinth, Bonnetson smiled; “so you’ve come to ask me to join your little experiment? I didn't know my drumming skills impressed you so at that drunken jam three years ago.”
“We need your navigational skills and your ship, the Klaas.” “Why?” Elias sighed; “I had to sell my airship to fund the machine.” Bonnetson let out an impressed whistle; “you must really believe in this stuff then? But I am NOT selling MY ship…..” “Don’t need you to, we would like you to pick up a few people and some gear.” The smuggler weighed his options. This was it, that do or die moment any smuggler and pirate has to feel in his bones. Either he got up and was done with this or he was in all the way. The smart thing would be to step away…. But instead he shook his frenemy’s hand. When it came down to crazy schemes and plans, Bonnetson simply couldn’t resist. He couldn’t wait to discover whether this Brazzmatazz was as impressive as Elias made it out to be.
“I knew I could count on you, James!” Elias grinned as they shook hands. James held on and added;”Don’t think I won’t be keeping an eye on you though. No sneaking off and letting me take the heat for what you two are up to!” Assuring his former rival and now new partner, Elias shared the details of the first mission. James’ eyes went wide as he heard the destination port's name; “That rotten hole of a city?? What will I be bringing back?” Elias described the cargo and motioned the puzzled-looking smuggler not to speak up . “Artifacts?” he whispered; “What's so special about them?” “According to Lody,” Elias Whispered back, “they're made of green aether. Handle them with care.” Captain James Bonnetson was silent for a moment then gave his rival a crooked smile as they shook hands once more, and ordered another round of drinks.