The Last Remaining Light
Morgan and Joshua's home and airship
Yes, I know that’s the Defiant of DS9. It was the in-game inspiration for the name!
Inferno bombs: the six levers on the bridge activate up to six canisters attached to the wings. The bombs are fired one at a time, and reloaded in sequence by resetting each lever, triggering a carefully laid series of time-locked teleportation effects on the spare canisters behind the bridge. The canisters, Joshua’s ‘inferno bombs,’ contain a Forces 5 incendiary explosive effect locked in place by Time 4, and reach their targets via Correspondence 3 linked-space targeting; barring countermagick, they should not miss.
Beam weapons: small, etched brass plates set into the left arm of the pilot’s and copilot’s chairs operate the ship’s beam weapons, firing Forces 3/Prime 2 searing heat-beams shot through with crackling electricity, drawing on raw Quintessence when available on Earth or in Etherspace, or directly from the ship’s periapt array if necessary. The user touches the brass plate and pronounces a particular word for ‘fire’ or ‘shoot’ in Greek, pyroboló. Joshua has added to the ship’s repertoire with a sunbeam-style ray of blinding light and intense heat, activated with the word iliachtída. The beam weapon foci may also serve for other Forces-based attacks by anyone else in the crew that finds them useful.
Gravity drive: Controls for directing power from the ship’s engine are controlled by a set of marked crystal dials set into the right arm of the command chair. They direct power by percentage to propulsion, shields, and the ship’s beam weapons. The engine itself takes the form of a star-shaped chunk of topaz, a ‘sun stone,’ which is in turn held inside a rune-marked faceted crystalline sphere the color of sapphires. The sphere itself rests on a brass pedestal to the right of the command chair, and can be picked up or levitated; Joshua frequently flies the ship during a fight with the sphere in his lap, or levitating before him. Touching one of the facets steers the ship in whichever direction is chosen; its gravity-based repulsion-field system is more responsive than any jet plane or rocket could ever be. The finer details of smooth flight are handled by the ship’s resident golden eagle spirit.
Gravitic shield: the shield generated by the ship’s engine is an unusual application of Forces, focused on the bubble of reality conjured around the ship through Spirit 5. Using a repulsive effect, the shield repels matter and even energy weapons through a reverse ‘gravity lensing’, reducing the impact of weapons on the ship’s alchemically treated metal hull, though at times the hull has been damaged in combat. In addition, the shield when active repels visible light, making the ship shimmer like a mirage, becoming nearly translucent. Joshua and his allies have tinkered with the shield effect to maintain ‘optical camouflage’ at a minimal shield setting, in order to conceal the ship’s whereabouts from aerial or satellite surveillance.
Targeting/sensors: the front of the bridge once sported a viewscreen, a simple conjuration of light to show the view in front of the Defiant, with an interactive targeting ‘cursor’ or reticle, moved by gesture or enlightened will, for directing weapons or scanning effects. The ship is not equipped with built-in sensory effects beyond targeting, but serves as a useful focus for its pilots and crew. Naturally, the targeting output is inscrutably Hermetic when Joshua runs a scan. The screen display has been found inadequate by the ship’s crew over time, however. It has since been modified from the previous Star Trek-style viewer to a much wider view that covers the floor, ceiling, and walls of the bridge, providing a much more thorough view of the outside than before.
Environmental system: Under normal circumstances, the ship maintains a pleasant, stable environment through a Spirit 5 reality bubble, suitable for traveling through Etherspace and into the depths of the Deep Umbra, as that was its original purpose. Without that effect, the interior may grow cold in winter or hot in summer. It’s kept clean by the resident hearth spirit.
The Defiant was built of metal, painted in the appearance of a golden eagle, and sits on the ground in the pose of an eagle landing with wings outstretched. The bird’s beak lowers to the ground and opens to allow entry. Its eyes are faceted gemstones, into which have been placed crystalline lenses with sensory enchantments; they are repurposed artifacts, previously used in rifle scopes, back in the time of the Gangrel Palatinate. At the shoulders, where the neck meets the wings, are another pair of faceted crystals — large, etched pieces of translucent, and in places transparent, quartz crystal. They are the focus for the ship’s beam weapons, and are also used by the crew as windows, sometimes as ports to channel their own effects. While in flight, the eagle’s ‘landing gear’ tucks up against it, and the wings may bend and flex somewhat, reminiscent of a living bird, but not quite.
Inside, the decor is spartan — Joshua might excuse it as elegantly simple, but he acknowledges it was a rush job to begin with. The floor and walls are smooth, polished mahogany, with ornaments and hardware made of brass. Along the ceiling, rods of specially grown crystal that look more like fiber-optic cable run along the walls, held in place with simple brass brackets. The crystalline rods serve as a conduction array for Quintessence, and when the ship is powered up, the rods light the interior, glowing softly, if dimly. They were never intended to light up the ship, but nothing else has been added to supplement them.
The lower level is split down the middle by a corridor, leading to a spiral staircase in the back. Along the port side, there is a space set aside for Morgan as her Sanctum, and a larger study, well appointed with comfortable leather chairs, sturdy reading tables and small oil lamps. The walls of the study are lined with books, the shelves kept closed behind glass cabinet doors. Along the starboard side, space has been cleared for two simple rooms with bunk-space for 8-12 people. In the back by the staircase, a small bathroom and shower is set to one side, while something resembling a washing machine sits to the right. Both of these amenities were designed by Scientist Apollo Carlisle as necessary additions when he joined the ship’s crew, and they are lemony-fresh.
In the back of the upper level can be found a seldom-used dining room, then a pantry and kitchen mostly full of dried, canned and otherwise preserved foodstuffs. Beyond that sits a Periapt array, where a number of such Quintessence batteries have been connected to the ship’s crystalline power conduction rods. Next to the periapts, taking up more space, thirty black cylinders of painted aluminum sit strapped to the floor — ammunition for the ship’s ‘inferno bomb’ weapon system.
A wall and doorway separates the bridge from the rest of the upper deck. In the right rear corner sits the Folding Gate of Armaghast, a precious item recovered from one of Doissetep’s abandoned Node sites before the Technocracy arrived to sanitize the Node. Usually, the Gate is left open, although a small white noise generator has been set nearby and a thin curtain has been hung over the gateway. In the left rear corner is a small couch, where passengers and friends not operating the ship will often sit. In the middle is the command chair, with a copilot’s seat set just forward and to the right. To the left of the command chair is a series of six simple levers set in the floor, close enough for the pilot to reach them all.
The Defiant was first made as a ramshackle collection of foci for static treatments like the alchemically modified hull and dynamic effects like the Spirit 5 ‘reality bubble.’ He added artifact enchantments (its sensors and engine), and Fetish-craft (spirits that it houses). At the time, it was necessary to build the ship quickly and get it into the Deep Umbra to rescue his friends at Sojourn Station. As time has passed since that rescue mission, Joshua’s continued tinkering and growing expertise have resulted in a true Talisman, the only one he has created himself with a piece of his will, capable of producing and maintaining effects on its own — a masterwork of the Art, a formidable warship, and the envy of many an Ethernaut.
Resident spirits: Joshua sought out two particular types of spirits for his ship, often bargaining with the intuitive, shamanistic understanding of a Marauder. Although nowadays, it pains him to think of it — not following the classic Hermeticism of circles, summonings, and demands via True Names.
The first was an female golden eagle, old for its kind, ready to die. Joshua gave her new life in the Defiant, and the eagle-spirit takes the pilot’s rough direction and gives it polish, a smoother course, landing gently instead of a soft crash. The eagle-spirit also offers occasional alerts and advice in an often loud, shrieking voice, referring to Joshua as the Builder.
The second was a minor faerie spirit, a brownie (do not call it a gruagach) and hearth-spirit, lured by the promise of a safe source of Quintessence to snack on, although of course this was no vulgar payment or bargain; the fae simply took the offer to live there. The brownie may seem to laze the days away, sleeping under the periapt array behind the bridge, but messes do get straightened, clothes mended and folded, and the ship stays clean, although no one has ever actually seen it happen. The fae has no given name that he’s admitted to, although the Garou amongst the crew have dubbed it ‘Pippin’ and wonder if he would care for a bowl of milk or cakes with honey. Just to be nice, of course; you understand.