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Incident with the Kommandant's Zeppelin

Crew:

In our years together as the crew of the world's most powerful Airship, we have seen and done some strange things.  We've fought creatures and entities that are inexplicable to science.  Hell, we have fellow crew members that are inexplicable to science.

This...incident...tops those.

Background: while we were cheerfully reducing the warfighting capabilities of the North American Federation to glass and then executing emergency repairs in Macao, I had tasked our spare Zeppelin with conducting some of our other contracted activities; of note, one of these was a Arctic circle patrol on contract to the Finn Margrave.

For those who don't remember the backstory on the Kommandant's Zeppelin, we took it as a prize by coup de main a year or so ago; we retrofitted her to almost Renegade standards.  She's been a useful adjunct and we treat her crew as family.

When we got back to Wick, I ordered ops to signal the KZ to return to Wick, so we could install the NAF generators I had arranged to disappear from a NAF warehouse a couple of weeks back.  This would have given the KZ to run her Teslas up to about 90% of the Renegade's capacity, increasing the utility of the KZ.

Her ETA to Wick was last night.  She arrived more or less on time, but not under power.  She drifted in, engines off, no lights.  That was bad enough, but the Met officer pointed out to me that she was drifting in from the northeast.

Winds were from the south.

As you all recall, we scrambled the Hussars into a boarding skiff, while the mortars fired illum.  I went with the Hussars on this boarding action.  Everything below is eyewitness from your Captain.

We landed on the main dorsal pad.  The hatch was dogged but not locked, so we didn't need to breach.  As soon as we opened the hatch, we could smell the coppery tang of blood and hint of something sickly sweet.  No interior lights were on, so we went to flashlights.

There was a pool of drying blood near the bottom of the ladder.  No body.  I ordered the Hussars 1st Squad to secure the engine room, 2nd Squad to secure the main fire director, and 3rd squad to accompany me to the bridge.  We all moved out on the double.

More blood.  On the walls, in the passageways.  Some hatches had claw marks.  Some were bashed in.

No bodies.  Sounds, though.  Distant.  Hard to describe; faint moaning sounds, scratching, chittering.  So low that you'd almost associate them with the sounds that any airship makes while it is in flight.

Almost.

Some of the Hussars asked if they could search for survivors--see if any of the noises led to our fellows.  I denied permission.  The best place for the KZ was on the ground ASAP.  Frittering off combat power to look for our fellows may seem like the right thing to do, but I have to keep the bigger picture in mind.

We hit the bridge.  The bridge hatch had been pried open, by something sharp and strong.  Again, more blood.  My radio crackled: 'Sir, 3rd has secured the engine room.  She's got power, but the interlock to the propulsion units has been shut down.  More blood down here sir.  Some bullet casings.  Signs of a fight, but still no bodies.'

My glance around the bridge told the same story: bullet holes in bridge equipment.  Blood.  Shell casings on the deck.  Signs that the bridge hatch had been barricaded.  Someone...something...had breached it anyway.  And still no bodies.

Helm was intact enough that I could see systems were green.  I ordered 3rd to reset the interlocks and directed the skiff pilot to helm his first zeppelin.  'Put us on the ground, Mr. Mate.  On the far side of the airfield from the Renegade, if you will.'

At this time, 2nd squad reported that they had secured the main fire director...similar conditions.

We set her down, and I ordered the Glider Zouaves and the Dragoon Vespas to establish a perimeter, and withdrew the Hussars.

The KZ is currently isolated on the airfield, with the dorsal turrets of the Renegade trained on her.

Something is definitely not right.

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