Grave of the Eclipse CathedralMature

A man walked through the busy streets, wearing a casual smile as he made his way. It was a sunny day in the port city, but it was made better by the site of the man's ship, the Eclipse Cathedral, in the distance. The massive ship held two large wheels on either side that generated extra power to the engine housed in its center. The upper portion of the ship was reminisce of battleships of the army, but a massive cathedral was planted on the underside, making the ship truly unique. 

It was why Grave was feared throughout the known cosmos. 

He tipped his top hat toward the ship and moved through the docks once more, careful not to bump into anyone. Of course, most of them made way for him due to his appearance. A large fancy coat covered his vest and trousers. Add the long cane he carried and his top hat, and you had a man out of place in the company of the dockworkers and engineers. 

It was a drab atmosphere, to be sure, but one Grave actually enjoyed. The rich were never fun to be around. Much to uptight and greedy with their valuables. It was why men like Grave thrived, though, so he couldn't criticize them too much. Business was good, indeed.

It was then that he spotted a young woman struggling to lift a crate. Her long red hair was tied back to keep out of the way of her work and she wore working attire; trousers tucked into boots and a plain shirt. She was... a worker of some sort but...

Grave looked up and smiled. "Well, aren't we just the prettiest little thing?"

Above towered a massive ship he recognized as Captain Amalia Vega's Noctis Accipiter. It wasn't the most lavish of targets, but with the last 'job' already completed and Vega supposedly exploring nearly as much as the great Nathanial Elin himself. Who knew what information she might have? What valuables he could... appropriate. 

Grave tucked his cane into his belt and walked over. Giving his best smile once she noticed him, he spoke. "Now, what is a fine lady like yourself loading crates?"

The woman scowled at him, taking a moment to catch her breath. "Trying to get away from men who think that ladies shouldn't do anything that might break a nail." 

This would be more of a challenge. Grave smiled. "I'd say many a woman can make us men look bad when it comes to labor. I've known a few to do just that in my time. But it never hurts to offer help to your fellow man or woman"

The scowl didn't go away. "Didn't sound like it was help you were offering."

"I do apologize if I come off as a man with intentions of that sort, but I assure you I just want to help," Grave said with his best smile. He waved his arms to where the dock area was devoid of her compatriots. "After all, you seem to have been left behind by your associates. Rude, if you ask me."

The red haired woman stared at him closely, with narrowed and suspicious eyes, but then looked at the crates around her and relented. "I'm sorry if I offended you. If all you really want is to help, then I'd be in your debt." 

And he was in. Grave counted three more crates, two big enough to possibly do damage to the girl's back. Probably the crew testing her determination, as it was fairly obvious she was not used to this, and thus, new to the Noctis. 

"There's no debt at all, my dear. Every man and woman should help one another." Grave pushed up his sleeves and then lifts a crate, sticking a device to the bottom of it once Thea turned away. It would be left alone for at least a week, given the particular crate he lifted contained emergency food. "Besides, wasn't that long ago I had to do just this to earn my own food."

"What do you do for your supper now?" she asked him, putting a crate on the lift that led up to the Noctis and coming back for another. 

Grave smiled. "I captain a ship," he answered honestly. "Explore the ocean of space, meet lovely new faces, and see new things. It truly is divine, but... you will understand that soon enough, I suppose."

"That's why I'm here." 

Though he had managed to do what he wanted, Grave was finding this woman interesting, so after they had finished the work and the lift operator above pulled the luggage and tracking device up, he accompanied her to a bar. Her crew was waiting for her, so there was no chance to try anything, though Grave doubted she even had anything worth value. There was her necklace, but he wasn't so low that he would rob someone for so little. 

The bar was a nice place for a dock bar. It was called The Last Comet and had a large area for it's customers. There was the usual business, but Grave and the red haired woman found a seat at the bar quite easily. Probably due to most of these men and women wanting to stay together with their comrades. 

"Let my by you a drink, dear," Grave said as they sat down, already waving the bartender over. 

"Shouldn't I be the one buying?" she asked him. "You helped me out after all?"

"Save your money. I have plenty to spare." He smiled mischievously. "Plus, I got some money coming into my possession real soon."

She gave into his offer once the bartender placed a drink in front of both of them. "Oh yes? Brought in some new cargo?"

"I find myself about to acquire some, yes." Grave watched the woman with different colored eyes. "Perhaps we will... bump into each other in another place?"

"Space is a bit vast, don't you think?" A chuckle escaped her mouth as she said it. She was getting loosened up. 

"Stranger things have happened."

"Well you'd be the expert," she said. "My dad always said, if you've got a good ship, a good crew and something to aim for, you can never stray too far off course." Her persona turned a little sad before brightening back up.

"Oh? Your father was a man of the skies?"

She seemed to hesitate before answering, but he could have imagined it. "Yes, he was."

"What was his name, if you would be so kind?" 

She stared at him with a half-smile. "You do realize you're asking my father's name before you know mine and I know yours, right?"

"Ah, terribly sorry," Grave said, putting his hand between then to shake. "My name is Gartorius Graendel Galvere, but you may call me Gar, if you want."

"Gar? Alright then." She shook his hand. Soft skin, but starting to callous. It told a lot about her, such as her past in at least the upper middle class. Grave stored the information for the moment. "I'm Thea. Thea Penna."

"A lovely name, for a lovely woman," Gar said with a smile. "Though, I do hope you don't take that wrongly. I meant it as a simple compliment."

"I see I've put you off flirting, at least with me. But thank you, I took it as a compliment."

Grave was tempted to swing the conversation to try and get her to falter under his advances, but he saw no gain in it. Plus, she looked familiar in some way and he was curious if her father could shed light as to why. "Good! Now, I take it your father has the same last name? Penna?"

"Yes." A simple answer, but it was too quick. But... it could just be her being slightly annoyed. No reason to suspect yet.

"I don't remember that name," Gar said, hiding his suspicion from her. "But I don't know every soul that passes through space." His smile returned. "I hope you enjoy riding the stars, though, my dear."

"He wasn't famous for anything." Thea hurried to say. "I'm sure I will enjoy it though. I feel like I was made sail through space. It's all I've ever wanted." She focused on her drink, looking embarrassed.

"No need to feel uncomfortable, darling," Grave said, eyeing his communicator on his wrist. That time already? He placed a large sum of money on the counter and stared the bartender. "For any drinks she might wish to have."

"You don't have to..." Thea started, but Grave interrupted her.

"Oh, but I insist," he said, cutting her off. "Besides, you've given me pleasant company while my ship readies to move on. For that, you have my thanks."

"Well in that case, I suppose I'd better join my future crew mates. Thank you, for your help. And the drinks." She glanced it over at a rowdy bunch of people in a corner surrounding a man telling a story about something to do with a phantom.

Grave tipped his hat to Thea. "If we ever meet again, I do hope you'll join me for another drink. Friendly, of course."

She nodded back to him, smiling slightly. "Of course."

Grave made his way out of the bar and headed back to his own ship. Eclipse Cathedral... he was about to have a chase again. He just hoped this would be a fruitful endeavor. He looked at the Noctis once more before stepping on his lift, wondering what treasure it would contain. His friendly persona disappeared as soon as he was lifted into the Cathedral. 

Replacing it was the look of the vicious pirate he was. 

The End

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