Seth was there before Casper, bruises and all. Hangar 52, the only person that arrived before him was Beatrix, who was currently checking out the weather conditions.
Hi. She said when he walked up to the hangar.
She had some instruments set up on a tripod and she was busy running her eyes over them.
Hi, I'm Seth. He said, and took a peek into the hangar at the Napoleon XI.
Yeah, I know. I'm Beatrix. I'm the pilot.
You're going to fly that thing?
Sure. We've also got the Jericho-C33 plane on board the ship, did that last night. She said, stifling a yawn.
That's awesome. Seth said.
Yeah, it's pretty fun.
How's the travelling going to be today?
Should be alright. Wind speed's no concern, there's some cloud cover, but it should be fine. If you want to put your bags down, you can chuck them in the ship. The boarding platform's on the right and the bunks are to your right. Take whatever one you want.
Thanks. Seth said and wandered off into the hangar.
The ship was massive, one of the largest Beatrix has had to drive yet, and the Napoleon XI was kitted out with the best equipment avaliable. It was a dual buoyancy airship, which means that it's got two layers of bladder air-cavities, one inside the other. The space between the inner and outer bladder is a permanent vacuum, whereas gas is pumped through the inner bladder to control the buoyancy. This fascinated Seth when Beatrix explained it to him after he dumped his bags on top bunk.
It was almost 5:30 when Grissom arrived with his robot Cornwall wandering close behind. Grissom wore a beige travelling coat and carried a large suitcase under arm. He waved at the two standing outside the hangar, an enthusiastic grin spread across his face. He and Casper had already agreed on the price of his coming from retirement for the voyage, and since their initial meeting in the vistograph chamber he had quite remembered what it was like to be setting off on an adventure again.
A little past the deadline, Casper and Richmond came hurrying along, at which point, the four already present had started to make comforts inside the airship and preparing themselves for the long haul. Casper made his apologies before realising that another was absent. Timothy was running quite late. Half an hour and the group shuffled back out to the front of the hangar to search for any signs of him. Then they heard a loud buzzing, as if that of a mosquito, then the faint dot in the distance, growing larger in a whif of smoke and burning rubber. Before they knew it, Timothy raced up to the hangar on his mechanised skate-boots, his luggage in tow on a little trailer behind. He had obviously been working on them through the night and into the morning as the braking and speeding problem seemed to be fixed. Easing back onto the hind wheels, Timothy rolled to a stop in front of the group.
You're late. Casper said, stepping forward in an apparent scold towards the boy. But what a spectacular arrival! A grin split across his face and he threw back his head and laughed.
Yeah, I was just fine tuning my boots. Timothy said with a bashful smile.
Anyway, we've been hanging around more than long enough, we need to get going. Into the ship everybody! Let's go.
In the Napoleon XI everyone grabbed their bunks and congregated in the crew deck for the debriefing.
Ok. Casper said. We're all here now, I'll keep it short. As you should know by now, there's been a death near the marshes past Mariam Ravine. The body was identified as Mr. Grahame Thompson. We only found a head, but sources say there was the whole body by the swamp as of earlier. We're going to go into the swamp. I don't think we'll find much to be honest, but I think the problem stems from further in. Within the swamp there lives a witch doctor, Ursula Estwing. We'll need to interrogate her. I'm sure she will know something. If not about the body, then about these parts, she's been living in the marshes for a long time. If the weather remains fine we'll be down by the marshes shortly after dawn. Beatrix, would you please do us the honours of getting this ship flying?
Of course. She said, and left for the cockpit. We all followed her moments later, wanting to view Berwick one last time before setting off into the wild, wild valley.