It was a rainy day when the Flame Scorpion Kreppelin landed in Brumau. Zoey and Viridi were in their customary spot on the bow, watching as the airship came in to land. Zoey was surprised to see how sophisticated the landing zone was. It was an open field on the outskirts of the city, similar to an airport tarmac, and there were landing spots marked with magical glowing indicators. Red lights marked a spot as taken, and green marked it as open.
It was still up to the individual Kreppelins to maintain safety when coming in to land. There was no traffic control tower, and wireless communication was certainly not common on Darren. So, Doris and his helmsman took care of their surroundings as they came in to land.
Zoey had plenty of time to go through every inch of the Kreppelin on the trip so she was already familiar with the landing process. Even though the bottom of the Kreppelin was flatter than a naval vessel of the same design, the keel would still get in the way of a proper ground landing.
In order to land properly, there were four wooden landing struts on each corner of the Kreppelin's hull. When approaching the landing zone, the crew deployed the struts allowing the airship to land without without balancing on its keel like a tightrope walker.
There was quite some finness required as well. The only propulsion the airship had were the wind arrays on the stern, so to properly stop on the pad, some of the crew deployed ropes and anchors as the Kreppelin approached the landing pad. They then used the ropes to drop to the ground and help anchor the airship on the pad.
Zoey felt a jolt run through the deck and heard the Kreppelin's timber creak as the struts finally came in contact with the ground. Once the airship was settled and anchored by the crew, a section of the hull on the left side of the lower deck was opened and pulled aside and the ramp was deployed. The landing was complete.
Around them, Zoey could see about ten other Kreppelins docked, each with various designs and markings adorning the sails and flags, and there was room for more to land as well. Further on was the entrance to the town where most of the traffic from the airships was headed.
The silhouettes of the town buildings in the rain gave the scene a gloomy feeling, and the grey sky overhead added to the melancholy. Zoey didn't know why, but the town seemed to have a gloomy atmosphere hovering over it.
Seeing that Doris's men were already getting ready to disembark, Zoey and Viridi went to say goodbye to them. All of them had gotten along quite well during the month of travel, and Zoey was repeatedly ordered to let them know if she got into trouble, and to be careful in the town.
She reassured them that she would be fine since she had Viridi, and thanked them for their concern. And with a final handshake from Doris, she parted ways with the Flame Scorpions. Though something told her it would not be the last time she would see this odd group of muscle-headed mercenaries.
Zoey would always be thankful for the time she spent with them. She had learned many things on the trip, about Kreppelins, hand-to-hand combat, different mannerisms and cultures among the Vekt and humans of Darren, and more. The knowledge she had learned would serve her well in Brumau. And with a final round of goodbyes, she donned her mask and poncho, sent Viridi into her inner world for now, and headed into town.
As she departed from the airship with a final wave at the crew, who was enthusiastically waving back, Zoey turned her mind to what she had learned about Brumau on the trip here. Doris and some of the Flame Scorpion vets had been through Brumau once or twice in their earlier years, and had shared what they knew with her.
She had been told about how the beast wave was dealt with, and how the town in general was managed by different owners in the past. The leaderboard idea was interesting, but she was not here to compete, and certainly not to gain fame. Her goal was still to find information regarding the sealing array for her Heritage. Until she heard back from Sethrii, it was all she had to go on.
In the meantime, she wanted to get a look at this beast tide, and she had to locate the corrupted creature in the region as well. The latter of those two would likely end up being the more difficult, as she had no idea where to start looking. She would have to gather information first to see if there were any rumors going around about anything that matched the description of a corrupted creature.
Zoey smiled to herself. It was time to test out her latest tech. When it came to information, Sethrii's database was good when it came to general info about scientific research or magical theory, but it was sorely lacking in more localized, real-time data. So with some of her free time on the trip, Zoey had developed a reconnaissance and data collection system that fed directly into her interface, and stored the collected information in Sethrii's database.
She had fabricated thousands of tiny, flight capable, gnat-sized spider drones with audio-visual sensors that wirelessly transmitted data to her interface. It had taken some very fine engineering on her part to fabricate all of that into a package that small, but with some trial and error she had been able to develop a drone that fulfilled her needs. She had fine-tuned the wireless signal that she had developed for her comm units to provide more capabilities for the drones while retaining the stealth of the original signal design.
The drones had a magic battery charge that should last about a week before needing to recharge, and the AI subroutines that handled flight, reconnaissance, and data gathering was all remotely controlled by Zoey's interface. It had been a while since she had done any programming, but she also had all of Pfortner's database from her old universe, so programming a basic AI was fairly simple.
Zoey opened her inventory and retrieved the the cylinder containing the drones, hiding it under her poncho. Once she made sure nobody was paying attention to her walking towards the gate to the town, she open the canister and released the drones.
The swarm of tiny machines rushed out from under her poncho and instantly dispersed into the air like a cloud of smoke. Opening her interface, Zoey could see the coverage zone rapidly increasing as they started to spread out across the town.
It would not be long before she had access to every rumor and secret this town had to offer.