5. The Changeling

 

As you know, we’ve taken a lot of losses in the recent days. We were almost 400 when we arrived in Blackbottom. Now we're less than 30. Commander Red is dead, his successor Commander Sweet is dead, Sr. Officer Nails is dead. They live forever in the Chronicle.

Three days ago I was a junior officer. Some of you knew me. Now that I’m Commander everyone’s asking who I am. Where was I born? What did I do before? Here’s the only answer you need: I was born here. In the Chain. Before this, I was the Chronicler.

The Chronicle tells of many times when the Chain was even smaller than it is now. But we survived. While we remain, the Chain is unbroken. While the Chronicle endures, the Chain is unbroken.

We’ve made an enemy of Ajax. It seems he’s made our deaths personal. But for us, death is business.

Our outstanding contract is to kill one of Ajax’s closest advisors. He has sent his agents across worlds to find us and hunt us. He means to kill us. I intend to fulfill the contract. The one place we know Ajax does not want to be is where we are headed: Capital. We will find allies there. I think it is likely many of our comrades from Blackbottom survived. They will know to find their way to Capital.

The Somnium Tenebris is ours. It will be our base of operations until further notice. Those of you served on a ship before, report to Boots, he is in charge of forming the crew that will maintain the ship. Our new friend, Slim, is piloting it.

A new Lieutenant will be appointed once we have established in Capital. For now, report to your sergeants, to the junior officers, Sr. officer Judge, or myself.

In Capital, we will need to rebuild our ranks. Capital is a city of intrigue and marvels. I'm sure you'll find plenty of opportunity to keep your “talents” sharp.

You may think “Ajax can’t be beaten”. Three days ago, I might have agreed with you. But there is only one explanation for why he’s chased us across the timescape. He fears us. He fears us because he thinks we can win. And now, so do I.

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