By Chester Seaton, News
25/5- The city of Toring has once again felt the ill effects of having Captain Johanna McKilroy in their midst. While Imperial Authorities were transferring the infamous pirate hunter for trial in the city she most wronged, two ships under her command swooped in to liberate her.
“I saw the whole thing,” said Albert Hensworth, a citizen of Toring. “Right from my back window, through this here telescope. I like to watch the trains come in. They were about fifty miles out when two airships came in low, and I saw flashes from the deck of one while the other floated over the top of the train with men dangling from ropes.”
Survivors from the train corroborate this tale, saying several armed men landed upon the roof of the train. Guards stationed on the train fought valiantly, managing to repel the attackers until the train reached Garrand’s Tunnel.
The ships broke off their attack, but unfortunately the pirate hunters were prepared. A third ship reportedly waited at the other end of the tunnel. As the train exited, crew from the ship opened fire with rifles, killing the conductor. His body fell over the controls and the train was unable to decelerate before entering the city. It hit a bend in the track and derailed, slamming through two blocks of buildings before coming to a halt. Anna Whitley was in one of these buildings, sipping tea.
“One minute, I’m sitting across from my suitor, talking about what, I don’t remember,” Miss Whitley said. “It was perfectly quiet. The next thing I know, there is this slight rumbling, and the cups and saucers in the tea shop all start to jingle just slightly. But the rumbling grew, the jingling turns into a full on dance. Then the whole shop explodes in brick and dust, and next thing I know, my suitor is no longer sitting in front of me. I think the train hit him.”
McKilroy and several guards survived the crash and exited the train. They sent up a flare and within five minutes, officers from Toring Yard arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, crew members from McKilroy’s fleet had taken up position in the buildings surrounding the site. Fearing they would be overrun, the guard commander reportedly ordered the execution of Captain McKilroy.
“She must have gotten loose at some point during the chaos,” said Corporal James Robargh, who was sent on this duty along with his sergeant and a private. “We entered the car were she was chained up, but she ambushed us. I swear she jumped from the overhead, hit the private in the back of the head with the chain of her shackle; she had it wrapped around her remaining hand. I tried to bring up my musket but she kicked me in the gut, and the shot went off into the deck. Then she turned on the sergeant, beat his face in with the chain wrapped around her fist. I just sat and watched, too afraid to do anything. She was like some sort of animal, she was. Vicious. Rabid, like.”
McKilroy was next seen exiting the train car and making a mad dash through the street with gun-shot raining down around her from all sides. She managed to escape into a building controlled by her crew, and they escorted her to the roof. Imperial Authorities followed, engaging in a close-quarters exchange of fire within the tight corridors of an apartment building.
“I’ve never seen nothing like it,” said Private Joseph Carnell. “Gunfighting in a building where people live…it was hell, I tell you. Pure hell. Smoke filling the halls, choking us, making it impossible to aim. And you can hear the people screaming in their rooms, not knowing what’s going on and you just hope you don’t fire and wind up shooting through someone’s wall or floor. And worse, the people you’re fighting don’t have the same care, the same hesitation. Never seen anything like. Hope to never again.”
Once on the roof, McKilroy and her remaining men clambered onto a rope ladder which was pulled up to one of her ships. Survivors of the incident say that she made a lewd hand gesture as she ascended. Authorities attempted to pursue, but their efforts were hampered as a fourth and fifth ship had staked out the nearest Authority sky dock and begun hammering it with mortar fire. Ships from the next station were unable to reach the scene before McKilroy disappeared.
It is believed that Captain McKilroy will go to ground somewhere in the Divide, where the deep ravines and canyons will make it next to impossible to locate her. Imperial Authorities along the route have been alerted, and Fleet Admiral Percival Dunbarrow Pillsbury III made it adamantly clear:
“This transgression will not go unanswered. The damage to Toring at the hands of McKilroy and her crew not once but twice is a travesty of the highest order. As of today, Captain Johanna McKilroy is declared public enemy number one, and to be viewed as less than the pirates she claims to hunt.”