Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

"Eliza, damn it's bleeding again."

Once the fire had been put out, Eliza had started working on the grisly task of disposing of the dead monsters and cleaning their blood off the deck, a task made all the more difficult due to the lack of sunlight and the limited availability of lamp light.  By this time, her adrenaline rush had expired, and the subsequent crash was leaving her so exhausted that she was struggling not to fall asleep standing up.  It was all she could do to keep pushing forward with her task when all she wanted to do was curl up into a ball and cry.

She was so lost in her thoughts that she nearly missed Rigs' implied order.  Eager to do something slightly less unpleasant than her current task, she put down the bucket of seawater she had been carrying and was about to enter the cabin to look for bandages when she realized how gross she was.  Backtracking to the seawater bucket, she dumped it's contents all over herself, moaning from the pain as the salt water agitated all of the various cuts and scratches the beasts had inflicted upon her with their claws and from throwing her around.

Eliza was still dripping wet when found herself shifting through Jay's belongings for his banadages.  By this time the captain had informed everyone of their crewman's disappearance, and as she was pulling stuff out of his bag, she found herself wondering why it was that Jay had been the one to go, and not someone more deserving of death such as herself.  Why was it that the good people always got it the worst while scumbags like herself were free to live with their mistakes?

With Jay's bandages in hand, Eliza dragged herself back onto the deck and approached Rigs.  Wordlessly, she tore a strip off the roll and tied it over the aging sailor's wound.  She then took off a few more strips and applied them to her own injuries before she returned the remaining rolls to Jay's bags and uncreatively put them back in.  If the captain had an idea with what to do with Jay's effects, she'd follow his lead.  Until then, she considered it too disrespectful to loot his things, well, except for the bandages, as she wasn't sure where else she could find those on the Dutchman.

She returned the deck, grabbed a bucket, and was about to get back to scrubbing out bloodstains in the dark when the captain notified her and Riz that they had permission to retire until First Watch.  Exhausted as she was, this was the best news Eliza could have gotten.  After changing into something slightly less gross, Eliza hit the bunk and went out like a light.

-

She found herself pinned down by the depther again, the sea monster salivating on her as she struggled to free herself.  Unlike last time, instead of pestering her with communist propoganda, it just eyed her hungrily, growled, and gnashed it's teeth at her.

Pushing it back as went for her throat with an arm she had managed to free, Eliza cried, "Why aren't you saying anything?"

Unexpectedly, another voice answered, "Because it isn't a communist."  The source of this voice appeared to be Riz, but it wasn't the Riz that she knew.  This Riz's skin was almost scaly like that of the creature on top of her, wore that hat of the wandering wizard, and spoke not with his own voice but with an amalgamation of voices that included his own.  Holding a flaming spear toward the creatures throat, he continued to address her, "This creature isn't the intelligent deviant that you want it to be."

"What do you mean?" Eliza inquired.

"The conversations you believe you had with these creatures were figments of your imagination.  They were pitiful attempts to protect yourself from the truth."

"What truth?"

Wizard Riz gazed into her eyes as he explained, "The truth, darling, is that these creatures are not subject to the intrigues of man; you cannot control them.  Rather, these creatures are agents of Natural Selection; of the fundemental law of the universe that your people sought to change and subsequently broke the back of this world.  All life survives on the merits of strength and fortune.  Of all species, humanity has strived the hardest to establish the illusion that they can control their fate, only to bring about the very doom they dedicated their efforts to defeating.  Now Eliza, you have brought yourself to a place where that illusion can no longer exist.  You are now in the jaws of nature, where only the fittest and most fortunate will survive; to cling to false hopes will only make you weaker and decrease your odds of seeing tomorrow."

Riz then turned his spear toward her, his eyes and skin becoming more depther-like as he did so and declared, "Now, be free!" as he drove the point towards her heart.

"RIZ!  Nooo!"

-

Eliza shot up in her bunk, hyperventilating and drenched in sweat.  Clutching her chest, she soon realized that she'd been dreaming.  Slowing her breathing, Eliza lowered her head back into her pillow, but sleep eluded her.

Eventually, she gave up, and with a sigh, she pulled herself out of her bunk as quietly as she could to avoid waking the actual Riz (although she couldn't help but glance at him to make sure he hadn't started to turn into a depther, just in case), and plodded out onto the deck.  While she had thought to check on her plants, Captain Murdock quickly noticed her presence and gave her work to do.

Thus, she had worked up quite a sweat by the time Riz joined everyone topside and Murdock introduced them to their newest crew member, Arthur, and assigned them to her's and Riz's shift.  Reporting to the helm as requested, Eliza held it steady for less than ten minutes before Murdock, after saying he was going to retire for a bit, suddenly rushed back onto the deck exclaiming, "I knew it! We're exactly where I thought! The landscape must have shifted. Hah, what luck! Somebody cut the sails! Rigs, get your ass up here and drop the anchor. Miss Hawthorne, new guy, ready the hooks. Worm, it's even more shallow here and there might be a wreck down there somewhere. Find a container and get diving."

Following her new instructions, Eliza showed the newest crew member, whom she was increasingly positive she recognized from Wayville somewhere, where the boarding hooks were and how to use them (at least as far as she knew, although she was by no means an expert), then got into position.  She couldn't help but feel apprehensive as Riz dove into the water looking for whatever treasures Murdock believed he would find there.  Would they have to fight more of those terrible depther-things?  Eliza was still exhausted and hurting from the evening's battle with them; she wasn't sure she'd survive another round with them.  And with Riz being in the water, they'd surely get him first...

Thankfully, Riz did return, although unfortunately not with treasure but with a rather outrageous tale of a large tentacled sea creature clutching a metal winged boat of sorts in some kind of a sunken city instead.  Eliza wasn't sure what to make of the story, but Murdock seemed to take it at face value.  Could these things Riz was talking about actually exist in the murky depths of the ocean?

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