Grave looked up from his desk to where Valasia Murdock, his first-mate, stood in the doorway. As per usual, she was wearing her ornate dress of burgandy that matched her dark red hair. A lovely look, but one he wished she would retire when onboard the Eclipse.
"My thanks, Val," Grave said, rising and grabbing his hat and mask. "Shall we make the announcement to our beloved crew?"
Valasia nodded and moved to leave. Grave followed behind. The Eclipse Cathedral was a massive ship, so it took quite some time to make it to the meeting room. On the way, he checked the valves he saw and the status of the steam pipes running through the entirety of the ship like veins. Well, not really just like veins, they pretty much were veins. The pipes brought steam to the entirety of the ship from the engine. It was... very romantic in a way.
But Grave focused on his words. He had only been captain for three years. When it came to fighting, lying, cheating, and charming, he was sure he could not be matched by many if any at all. But speeches? He was still learning.
"Twenty two years..."
Valasia glanced back. "Still thinking of the old days, love?"
Grave nodded. "I can still remember you finding me, half starved, in that cabinet."
She sighed. "You've no idea how much I had to beg so they wouldn't kill you with the others. You still owe me." He smile curved up in a sinister way.
"You're trivial wants will have to wait, my dear. Right now we have a crew to lead."
"What do you think about the new recruit?"
It was Grave's turn to sigh. "Obviously, I won't make assumptions about the boy," Grave told her, checking a pipe to his side as he walked. "If he proves useful, I will reward him. If he turns out to be... an undesirable, though, we will do what we usually do."
"Don't get attached now, dear." Valasia shook her head and focused on walking. The woman was like an older sister to Grave, having saved his life all those years ago, but he would not let her put the Eclipse in danger should this boy turn out to be a turncoat.
They walked in silence until finally the assembly room unfolded before him.
It was a massive room with the feel of ancient architecture by the design of the pillars and layout of the floor. The only thing that ruined the grand room was the crowd of men that gathered around the raised stadium in the center. Among them, not one had a shred of style like Grave or Valasia, despite their reliability. He saw the new recruit - Jaime, was it? - among them. The boy looked out of place, yet excited.
Grave made his way to the stadium and jumped onto it. Valasia stayed behind, to watch from the back of the crowd. The new recruit noticed this and watched her for a bit before turning to Grave. The boy was much to young for that, of course, but it probably made Valasia happy. She thrived on attention.
"Gentleman!" The men - and the handfull of women - turned to stare at their captain in silence. In total, there was just under two hundred people in the room. Of course, these men - with the exception of the newcomer - were just the representatives of the other two and a half thousand that worked aboard the Eclipse.
"We have a new target, my friends," Grave announced, pressing a button on the stadium to bring up a hologram. The image grew clear to reveal a massive ship most knew as the Noctis Accipiter. "They have left on a new voyage to the area beyond Alatheia Nebula. We will... Make ourselves - and our intentions - known to them by only the most civil means."
A cheer came from the men, giving Grave a boost of confidence. Just starting and he was doing just fine. Good.
"Now, my fellow pirates," Grave continued, noting the newcomers expression. "As per the usual, you have the right to leave my crew should you disagree with my... methods." He pulled his sword. "Then you can face me at any time and claim my position. Any takers?"
As usual before a job, none challenged his repeated offer. After the first one, he doubted they would again, but he had to take the chance. No good duels in several months made him bored.
"Good. Now, let us depart."