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Bang.

Electrifying pain jolted through her bandaged-up shoulder but she did not wince or give an inch; the coil-gun held firm and steady on target. Only her lips pressed together in an angrily contorted grimace, signaling that the woman felt any injury at all. Brows furrowed, she focused her winter-grey eyes on the prize and tightened her grip on the trigger one more time.

Bang.

The dud shattered harmlessly against the human-shaped practice target, indicating a hit where the left-side ribs should be. That was her last shot; nine rounds, seven hits, one head shot. She’d done much better in the past, but in the end it was all meaningless statistics. Real combat was nothing like firing at a target. Nothing in the world could emulate the physical and emotional chaos of two human beings trying to kill each other.

Cass closed her eyes and slowly exhaled, releasing the tension in her arm muscles and gently lowered her gun onto the counter. Rhythmically pulsing pain flared in her right shoulder and it felt hot under the bandage. Instinctively touching it, she immediately came to regret the decision and quickly retracted her fingers. She still asked herself if she had made the right call, or if it was merely carelessness that had let the situation get out of hand. The shooter was little more than a kid, trigger happy and nervous. She could have talked him down. That’s what she thought. But then something happened. Maybe she moved a little too suddenly, maybe the kid tripped. Maybe there had been an unexpected tremor in the ground. Something set him off and made him pull the trigger – but he was a poor shot. Hit her in the shoulder; she got him in the gut. The contracted medic zipped him up in a body bag and stabilized her wound with a skin spray and then they were off. Business as usual.

To get shot at for someone else’s gain. To kill clueless idiots so that other idiots can live. Business as usual, she thought and shook her head with a look of disgust while she removed the empty mag from her weapon and tossed it in a designated bin by her stall. Glancing at her watch, she turned to leave, signaling to an attendee outside that she was finished. She still had a few hours.

---

“Good shit, right?”

Cass watched as a sizeable puff of dark green smoke escaped her lungs out of her mouth, obscuring the viewport into space, wherein were clearly visible the dead surface of Derelict and, behind it, the hellish red glow of Maasym.

“Tastes fishy, I don’t know,” she mumbled, turning her attention to the girl with obviously-dyed blue hair who sat next to her. Of course, Cass knew about her profession but she was always freshly surprised by how brazenly the girl was wearing those perilously revealing outfits of hers on a daily basis – even when not on duty. No one passed her by without having their eyes stuck on her for a moment or two. Sometimes more than that.

“Algae from Europa. Come on Cass, do you know how much it costs to get that shit here?” She held out her hand and, when Cass handed her the inhaler, took in a deep breath of the synthetic substance herself.

“It’s all right. I just like to stick to the classics, you know me.” And also, this mix made her feel dizzy somehow. Perhaps it was spiked with something other than what Alyx was saying. Cass leaned back against the bench, arms and legs wide.

“No, I think you’re nervous,” Alyx suggested out of the cloud of green smoke surrounding her pretty head.

“Bullshit. What about?” Cass retorted, crossing her legs.

“You tell me. You know I’m good at telling these sorts of things. Comes with the job.” She shrugged.

“Maybe it’s my shoulder. You ever had a bullet go straight through yours?”

They swapped the inhaler again, Cass took another puff, this one with less enthusiasm than before. “I had a number of things in me but that’s not one of them.” She grinned, innocent as a girl.

“I’m gonna do a side gig. If they take me.” Cass eventually admitted after an awkward period of silence between the two, wordlessly passing the inhaler back and forth.

“Let me guess: More macho stuff?” blue-hairs teased, leaning closer and putting her slender hand on Cass’s cold iron thigh.

Cass gave her a look of disapproval. “Not much else I’m good for, is there?”

“You’re always so self-depreciating. Lighten up a bit, sunshine,” Alyx encouraged her and wrapped her arm around Cass’s shoulders, careful not to touch the bad one. “So what’s this one about?”

The taller, black-haired woman returned the gesture. “Origin, believe it or not. They’re setting up a new ground team for some scientist schmuck. They need someone to guide and protect them. Pay’s much better than what Mercury is giving me.”

“You’re doing that in your off time?” Alyx asked with concern. Cass nodded: “Whenever else would I?”

“So when are you actually going to take a break?”

The mercenary had no answer for her friend. If she ever wanted to be free from the shackles of corporate enslavement, if she ever wanted to be treated fairly and with respect again, then sacrifices like this were necessary. There was no other way she could ever collect the money necessary to pay off her mounting debt.

“Well… if you do ever need a break, then, you know. I’ve stopped charging you a while ago,” Alyx offered, almost sheepishly.

“Maybe I’ll drop by later,” Cass suggested absentmindedly. “To, to tell you how it went, I mean.“

The two of them sat for a while, each contemplating their lives so far as their gaze was absorbed by the crimson abyss of Maasym’s star.
By all means, feel free to lurk :P What good is text, after all, but to be read?
And in the event that you feel like participating, let us know and we can talk about how to integrate you. Since we've barely begun, there are still a lot of good opportunities to make that happen.


Preamble
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Humanity

2078 C.E.—With their first macro-scale faster-than-light voyage, humanity, under the auspices of Origin, a government for all, broke the universal speed limit. Able to escape overpopulated local systems, pioneers from Sol, Tau Ceti, and Gliese colonized and exploited every habitable world in their ever-expanding bubble of influence.

3028 C.E.—Evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence was, for the first time, unexpectedly discovered at a distance of 370 light years from Sol after an exploratory vessel scanned exospheres in the star Maasym’s gravitational well. Amongst a handful of barren planets was an enormous machine: Presumed the abandoned habitat of a long-since extinct alien civilization, the mechanical planetoid was nicknamed Derelict.

3030 C.E.—Derelict’s siren song enticed corporations, scavengers, and religious fanatics alike. They strove against one another until Derelict’s ravaged surface was chaotic and awash in a pal of blood redder than the light of its star -- that is until Origin, urged by the high-minded notions of ethics and scientific inquiry, sent an armada including no less than three Apocalypse-class battleships to ensure a modicum of the law was upheld and the machine-planet’s history left intact.

Mankind delved ever deeper into Derelict’s crust, but strange disasters kept impeding the bold and the greedy alike in descending too far. Meanwhile, heedless of their own safety, the cultist zealots disappeared into its dark labyrinths as if beckoned by a latent will in the abyss.

And then the machine quakes started.

The litany arrived shortly after the first tremor. Nobody remembers who said it first. Yet, afterwards, whenever a profiteer started their shift and descended, they whispered: “Sleep, Grand Automaton, That We May Plunder.”


Overview
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This game takes place on a planet-size machine in orbit around the star Maasym, 370 light years from Earth. Discovered by an exploration vessel shortly after the invention of faster-than-light transportation and dubbed Derelict, due to its apparent inactivity, it quickly developed into a frontier of humankind’s theft, lies, and exploitation. Yet, the deeper they delve, the more of Derelict’s automatons they encounter and the more it seems the machine world is not quite as dead as everyone would have liked to believe.

While the original purpose of this thread is to provide @Circ and myself with a platform to play out this story, interested parties are more than welcome to make their curiosity known. Additional roleplayers are absolutely welcome.


Locations
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Orbital Station

This is the place humans mingle before their excursions into Derelict. Replete with cantinas, corrupt police, bankrupt refugees, medical services, and hotels, this is the cultural hub: that shining beacon in the cold dark nothing where wares are pawned, backs are stabbed, people make it or break it, and in good old capitalist fashion nothing is ever really free.


Exploitation Shaft

Metal is why people flock to Derelict. Not because of its mystique or to gawk at the remnants of a dead alien relic, but metal. Self-healing, durable, incorruptible, and unable to be synthesized thus far by humanity’s brightest scientists. Moreover, the deeper one ventures into the machine world’s core the more potent the metal. Such a rare material translates into space elevators, battleship hulls, body armor, and -- most importantly -- cold hard cash. It is the reason so many profiteers, academics, and zealots alike descend into Derelict’s exploitation shaft and plunder as much as possible.


Rules
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Technology, Powers, Etc

Stunted by vanity, humanity’s evolution yielded a species not dissimilar to what roamed Earth in the 2020s. Appearances being surface deep, advancements in medicine and genetic engineering gave people the opportunity to live twice as long and doubled human potential in virtually every aspect: strength, cognition, dexterity, and so forth. Hardware augmentation remained rare due to social stigma and those who pursued such tended to be desperate or outcasts. Magic remained the currency of fools and charlatans. Everything is ultimately controlled by mega-corporations and Origin, humanity’s Earth-centric government, from weapons of mass destruction to meal rations and, with the advent of nigh-instantaneous faster-than-light travel, their regimes are enforced with brutal efficiency.


Player Interactions

Be respectful to one another as this is intended to be a cooperative effort rather than a fight.

Expect mature in-character content.

While there is no minimum post length, strive to render a complete scene that is descriptive, engaging, and advances the story.

Proof read with a focus on quality over quantity.

Embedded graphics, if present, should complement the written word rather than overwhelm the screen.

Standard RPGuild rules apply.


Character Sheet
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Name
> real name, nicknames, or callsigns.

Physical Description
> gender, age, height, weight, colorations, tattoos, markings, clothes, items typically in their possession; essentially anything another person would notice when they see your character.

Purpose
> trade skills, political alliances, and overall reason for being at Derelict

History
I, too, would like to find out whether humanity shall go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

I'm no regular when it comes to nation rps (and a sassy tongue might say I'm no regular at anything) but I'd like to give it a good shot. The premise you set out sounds really interesting, as I love weird fiction with all my heart.
“Mind,” Lucienne snapped after Yvain said his piece, “I am not here to provide charity or help. Quite the opposite.”

She absentmindedly waved her hand as she studied the cleric in front of her. He was certainly easy to identify at a glance, with multiple holy icons dangling from his large coat that enveloped him like the wings of a gigantic bat. With graying hair and possibly early wrinkles, she estimated that he was not the youngest in his profession anymore. That was a good thing, should he ever prove troublesome. The dark, wide-brimmed hat completed his impression as the harbinger of ill news. He certainly looked more intimidating than the last of his kind she had seen. That one had been significantly younger, sharply dressed, and entirely too fond of Valencian wine for his own good. His naiveté had been charming, then, but something told her that the good father here would be far less easy to perturb.

“I am Lucienne Desrosiers, of the house Desrosiers of Morsang-sur-Odesse in Valence,” the noblewoman introduced herself, but this time kept her hand firmly to herself. Perhaps it was not customary to offer it to men of the cloth, or perhaps she simply felt no desire to be touched by McNamara – who could say? “Now that introductions are out of the way, let me be very frank, Father: I need to reach this… Temnorapool post haste. What can you do to help me?”

Lucienne audibly struggled with the city’s name, which sounded crude and barbaric to her ears and merely speaking it felt like choking on thorns. It really did seem like Valence was the heart of culture, and that the arts and customs degenerated quickly the further one went away from her home land’s majestic mountain ranges. It almost made one shudder to think what sort of troglodytes must live even further beyond Perafidion and the seas. Would these savages ever be graced by the light of civilization and elevated from their hovels?

Her thin, blond brows furrowed deeply when Yvain turned around and began shouting of all things, apparently communicating with somebody who was yelling from the train’s front section. She could not care less if they were exchanging useful intelligence from both ends of the train at this point.

“Don’t do that,” she hissed at the sellsword, visibly annoyed. He was not her paige, but she would not tolerate such a rude interruption. Once she was satisfied that her reprisal was received and understood, she returned her attention to the Father, hoping against hope that he might have something useful to say.
The shadows grew longer and darker with every passing minute, cast from warped, unsightly trees whose branches sometimes swayed in the eerily howling night air, and sometimes swayed when there was no wind at all. The rush of panic and excitement gradually faded from the train’s passengers, their agitated chattering dying down to a worried and fearful muttering, only to be stoked into new hysterics when the rearmost wagon caught fire. Lucienne eyed them with the mildest of disdains, only somewhat annoyed by their shallow sensibilities. Wealthy or not, these first class passengers did not have the steadfastness of one of noble blood. It was not money that elevated one above the common folk, but a nobility of spirit that could only be gained through a clear bloodline. She felt proud, then, to confirm the legitimacy of her lineage as she faced the unknown without fear but, alas, also without patience. Her right foot tapped rhythmically and nervously at the grassy pebbles beneath her but she remained otherwise perfectly composed.

A new breeze carried a hint of music from the more hind-lying carriages and there, framed by the distant inferno, Lucienne thought she was a violinist playing her cares away amidst grasping shadows, performing for seemingly nobody at all. Musicians, she found, were always eccentric by nature. It made them interesting. Then, after blinking once or twice, she could also make out another shape, decidedly bulkier, approaching from the swirling, inky twilight and soon after could hear his heavy steps crunching earth and stone. Squinting against the flame-pierced dark, she kept looking at the figure as each of his steps revealed more details about his form. A satisfying flash of nostalgia washed over her senses when she recognized his gambeson and nigh-medieval armaments of sword and shield. It almost felt like she was back home. Those were the tools of a real warrior, whose skills were honed by discipline. None of those vulgar firearms that made of any ignorant peasant bumpkin a lethal killer. Lowly times.

Some of the other passengers, upon eying Yvain, knowingly or unknowingly recoiled at the sight of him. Only Lucienne, herself an outcast amidst the other groups, stepped forward to meet him, her chin held high and a lazy hand resting on her rapier’s hilt.

“What news from the rear?” she shot at him, Valencian accent thick. “And when can we depart? I have business in the city.”



Weiland sighed to himself, mainly in response to the not so subtle curse slung his way by the irate musician. He’d not much dealings with them, but they never seemed to pan out very well. The dirge she was was haunting enough, fitting given the circumstances, but he put the thoughts behind him, where the music was as well, and proceeded to continue forward, attempting to find extra hands to assist towards the rear. Of course, the farther forward he got, the more callous and displeased with his presence those that even bothered to respond got. Such was the nobility, he thought with some annoyance, though what did catch him slightly off guard was when one such woman, another foreigner given her accent, though her words were little different than usual annoyance such rich folk experienced at a slight inconvenience.

His own accent was apparent, though it was more natural to those from the eastern reaches of the lands that had any normal contact to warrant having trains linking them to other lands, and while he noted she also seemed to carry a more classical attire, her initial question and tone of voice let him as wary as ever. “Several cars overturned by Light knows what. I’ve been sending any able bodied that’re willing to help back. As for leaving, this contraption might have some trouble with that, considering it looks to be missing some parts…”

Weiland’s gaze was torn forward, having already been looking ahead, and he saw that the same parts that had been creating all sorts of noise and had dragged the cars to carry people were outright missing, or damaged beyond recognition. How they would proceed from here would likely infuriate the rich and nobles, they would have to walk to the nearest settlement, though Light knows where that might be from here.



Lucienne followed his gaze behind herself but could see little through the oppressive gloom, save for the absence of certain expected silhouettes perhaps. The thought that the entire engine might simply be gone did not occur to her.

“I do not suppose we will be in time,” she scoffed his way. “So what happened here? Accident? Sabotage?”

Piercing blue eyes sized him up like an owl does its prey.



Weiland was watching the woman he was discussing the current situation with closely, though with her turned, the lack of facial expressions made it difficult to discern what was going through her head as body language spoke little at the moment. Though the scoffing remark and follow on questions made him shrug briefly. Sabotage or ambush were likely, though something capable of removing the engine and boiler to such an extent was going to be a problem. Her gaze was also something of note, far too focused and intent to be just some rich, jumped up noble.

“Afraid not. Odds are sabotage or ambush of some sort. Though I’ve not heard of bandits equipped well enough to remove those parts of the train that completely, not recently…”



“Completely?” she inquired before turning back and squinting harder at the darkness. “Bon sang,” she gasped under her breath. The warrior was right, the front part of the train was missing, curse her eyes. How were they ever going to reach the city now? It was of the utmost importance, after all, far more so than any of these buffoons could realize. She had to find the Key before it was too late. Before her cravings would consume her. Absolutely had to.

“I am afraid I was mistaken,” she admitted, straightening herself and banishing any hint of worry from her mien. “This train will not be going anywhere. Listen, warrior, I must get to this city as soon as possible. Can you help me or direct me to someone who can?”

Hopefully he understood which city she meant, given that she was loathe to pronounce its to her outlandish sounding name.



The fact the train’s state of being was such a point of concern was of note to Weiland, keeping a steady face as he watched her quickly wipe any concern or fear from her features, which spoke of a great deal of concealing one’s own emotional state. The sudden shift of focus and the speed at which she dictated it needed to happen hinted at some sort of concern as to either what was happening there, or what was going to be there perhaps? Either way, his tone was even as he did what he could to assist.

“If you’re speaking of the train’s destination, short of escorting you on foot, I can’t be of much help. However, a Church Investigator is aiding efforts to save those in the overturned cars to the rear. He’d be of better use in finding the fastest way to get back on schedule.”



“Investigator? I am certain he will be very receptive towards a foreigner like me, if he is like the rest of his ilk,” Lucienne darkly mocked. Yes, nominally she and the royal court were followers of the Light. But every now and again, foul rumors would attract a certain enterprising investigator to confirm their validity in a bid to earn himself a promotion. Such occurrences were, thankfully, rare enough, but it was always a terrible bother to cover up their disappearance. There was no doubt in her mind that not everybody may believe the official story. When would the clerics learn not to meddle in affairs that concern them none? Never did them any good neither.

“But,” she added, “If this man can help me get to the city, I may tolerate his person. Will you be reporting to him? If so, I would like to walk with you. Standing around here will get me nowhere, you understand.” In asking so, she eased her posture ever so slightly, assuming a more feminine and less rigid posture.



“He took little offense to myself, though a strange look for my lack of modern arms and armor did not go unseen.” Weiland had shrugged such things off, having grown used to such strange looks and sideways glances over his archaic equipment. His dealings with the Light had been more honest typically, though he was no zealot or fanatical devotee to its creed and, as such, felt rather neutral about their agents and the like. Her demeanor did shift, however, to something more eased, slight as it was, as she spoke on whether he was reporting to the Investigator and if he would walk with her back there.

“Aye, I can walk you back. I doubt anyone else up here will be willing to even walk back there, let alone assist. I only met him in passing, informing him of goings on at the rear, so reporting is hardly accurate. More working with until danger’s resolved, then figure out the details from there.”



“Very good, I applaud your initiative. We shall, ahem, work with him then until the danger is resolved, yes?” she commended Yvain with a slight smile. “My name is Lucienne Desrosiers, daughter of the Comte Armand Desrosiers of Morsang-sur-Odesse.”

She extended a leather-gloved hand towards him as she introduced herself with no small amount of pride. Likely the names and places she mentioned would mean little to this man as he did not strike her as the type to be versed in Valencian nobility, but perhaps he would have enough manners to kiss her hand, as was his place even in this foreign land. Blue blood knew no borders, after all. Neither bowing nor asking for his name in return, she remained as such and eyed him expectantly.



Much to the surprise of some, Weiland would actually duck his head down to place a brief kiss onto her leather clad hand, the customs of classical nobility were not nearly as foreign between distant nations as one might have expected. It was hardly the first time he had to go about such activities, nobility expected such when he wasn’t pursuing them for laws broken, and it always proved smoother to simply acknowledge their wealth than have to fight them over such things. He hadn’t the slightest clue as to what her standing was within her homeland, though titles like that existed in very few places anymore, so he could narrow it down as further hints revealed themselves to him.

“Weiland Yvain, of Istvaargrad. Let us see things sorted out then.” He would have long since released her hand before turning to move at a steady pace back towards the rear. He would have to ask after what could have possibly ruined the engine and boiler, but for now, one step at a time.



Lucienne smirked when, contrary to her expectations, Yvain actually bent over and showed deference to her. Perhaps Perafidion’s customs weren’t quite as degenerate as she had expected? Or perhaps this man was simply one of the rare exceptions. Only time would tell for sure but, for now, she believed this one to be useful in the future. Especially with church investigators and potential bandits afoot in the night, she may have to rely upon a strong sword arm to protect her. After all, her blood was far too precious to be spilled for such trifles, she only had so much of it. Best keep it for important occasions.

Satisfied with their exchange, she matched his stride and remained at his side, casting the occasional glance towards the whispering, rustling shadows on either side. Who could rightly say what manner of thing did or did not lurk out there, hidden by darkness and black trees? Whatever the truth may be, she was not one to flinch at eerie shadows. In dark corners of the world, there dwelt things far worse than mere phantasms and bogeymen. It is after learning how to commune with such things – and that such things cannot be spoken to – that conventional terrors lose their luster.
Lucienne watched the wine swirl gently back and forth in her glass, staring at and perpetuating the motion with an almost hypnotic fixation. She lay sprawled on the soft, rich purple velvet of the multi-seat cabin of which she was the sole occupant, her nude feet absentmindedly rubbing against the delicate fabric. Her elbow rested on the polished wooden table to her right, whereupon a half-empty bottle of Perafidian wine rested comfortably in a small bucket. The taste, she judged, was nothing like those of her home land and she had almost felt inclined to refuse paying for the bottle entirely – but did so anyway out of pity. After all, not all nations could be held to Valencian standards, which were of course the highest on the continent. What passed for wine here would have to do, especially since, she knew, there was no wine in the entire world that could fully quench her thirst. She lusted after something else, something more vivid and intense that no terrestrial plant could provide.

How long had it been now? The coming week would mark the fourth month after her last taste, and her ordained search for the Key to the Eclipse. But the taste still lingered on her lips, sweet as honey and inflamed like a wound. A taste that twisted her insides into a knot, half from perverse ecstasy, half from mind-wracking guilt. But with every drop she drank, she found that the former only increased while the latter became less. Most likely the queen, who could not go a single day without visiting the gardens, felt no remorse at all anymore. How Lucienne envied such freedom of conscience. It would make many things in life so much easier. But perhaps this too was part of her duties as her ladyship’s knight – to bear her burdens, and to bear her guilt. If she could carry this cross for her, then the queen could remain as innocent as a virgin. What a beautiful thought. To that she raised her glass and put it to her rosy lips.

But no wine ever made it across the glass’s threshold and before she could process what was going on her drink was already hurtling towards the right-hand wall, and her ribs were pressed into the hard edge of the table she’d been leaning on. The rest of the unfixed objects in the cabin followed suit and were violently propelled forward as the train came to an abrupt and unforeseen halt, following a very loud and concerning noise not dissimilar to thunder or an explosion. The glass and bottle smashed against the wall and shattered there like a child’s skull, leaving a large, dark red stain that ran down in thick, fast-running droplets towards the ground where a dusty carpet greedily drank the strong-smelling spillage. Gasping for breath, the pain in her side catching up to her, Lucienne pushed herself away from the table and into an upright position.

“Nom de lumière, c’est quoi ça?“ she grumbled under her breath. Had there been an accident? They were in the middle of nowhere, there was no way they could have run into anything on the tracks – at least nothing that would have provoked a stop in their journey.

“’allo?” she yelled, hoping that somebody would have the decency of explaining to her the nature of this disaster. Her lips pressed together in a visibly furious pucker, she slid on her mercifully unstained, black stockings before slipping into her boots. The pain in her side pulsed in rhythm to her heartbeat and would almost certainly leave an unsightly bruise for a week or two. At least it did not feel as if her rib was broken. Fishing her suitcase – securely closed and locked – from the stinking pool of wine in which it lay and giving it a good shake, she opened the cabin door and stepped out into the corridor where could be heard a commotion of wails and panicked complaining.

Opening cabin doors and asking other passengers what was going on earned her mostly confused looks and professions of ignorance and, before she knew it, she found herself at the other end of the carriage and none the wiser. Spitting out some Valencian obscenity not at all befitting of one of noble birth, she was about to kick the door into the next carriage when it was opened from the other side where an adolescent cabin boy looked at her with a mixture of surprise and shock. Quickly regaining her composure, she retracted her foot and straightened her posture.

“Qu'est-ce que… W-what is the meaning of this?” she managed to produce after fumbling for the right words for a second or two, her tone stern. A heavy Valencian accent laced every syllable.

“Sorry Ma’am, I uh – it sounds like there’s been an accident of some sort. N-not to worry, we won’t be delayed for too long. Ah, are you hurt?”

The young man was clearly unaccustomed to both his duties and the extraordinary situation. Perhaps, she wondered, this was his first ride as an attendant. Lucky him.

“Oui, but it is not very serious. There are people in this wagon who need help more,” she pointed behind herself where other passengers – those who could stand, at least – were beginning to congregate as well.

“Yes, of course. My apologies. C-could I ask Ma’am to disembark, right here?” he motioned towards, and headed for, the door where normally one would exit onto the quay. He opened the door and beckoned Lucienne and the others, before heading back into the train and asking if there are any wounded who need help.

She paid him no further heed and hopped off the last step onto the cold soil outside, where a gentle fog (or was it smoke?) enveloped her in the smell of burnt coal. Casually resting her left hand on the polished, golden basket guard of her rapier Lucienne looked up and down the length of the railway, having slight difficulties seeing through the smoggy twilight of late evening. Near most carriages, small groups of passengers were beginning to assemble outside and she thought she saw that one or possibly more carriages towards the rear end had toppled over. Third class passengers, if she recalled, so the losses were thoroughly acceptable from a statistical standpoint, though of course the pointless loss of life was not something to be cheered at. Towards the other end, however, she had trouble seeing at all – that was, spotting the train engine. Perhaps it was simply the dark giving her trouble, but she wanted to say that there was no front anymore at all to the train. But that would be absurd. Certainly her eyes were playing tricks on her. Certainly.

Turning around, she cast a wary glance at the other passengers who were slowly getting out of her carriage and gathering near her – not too hear, but also not too far. Impatience gnawed at her as she stood and waited for something, anything, to happen.
All right, here's my submission. Honestly not the best writing style on display, some paragraphs in the history section feel like way too sudden cuts, but I've spent enough hours thinking about how I wanna turn it. Guess I need to practice my ability to write concisely more. Either way, I hope the added world building I made is okay by you.

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