This is a semi-Victorian, semi-steampunk-ish alternate world fantasy setting.

Background: T has been kidnapped by pirates led by M, who are using her as bait to get J. J, E, and I (along with 3 soldiers, who are meant to escort J back to their city for trial) plan to rescue T, of course, despite knowing that it's a trap meant for J. They have to go to Muir (a bit like Tortuga in PotC, but worse - actually,there's probably a fair amount of this book that's PotC ispired), the island where T is being held captive by the pirates.

One of their problems in getting to Muir is that there is a large maelstrom surrounding the island, where the island stays ok mostly because it's in the eye of the storm (I'm still working out the mechanics on this). There's a passage that's difficult to navigate, and fairly impossible if you don't know what you're doing. J knows about it, but hasn't gone that way since he was twelve, so he's a little rusty. To get through this, theyve found S, an old friend of J's and M's, to help get them through (even though she hasn't taken that path in even longer than J, probably still knows it better).

I've got some ideas for the series of events that goes next, but it starts with them trying to rescue T, and I think they need to have some sort of plan for rescuing her. Not a foolproof one, but something better than "let's charge in there and hope no one notices." Most likely, I and S will turn back once they've gotten the others through (S because she doesn't really want to have anything to do with M, and I because she's not a fighter, and since she and S are both the scientific geniuses, everyone figures it would be safer and more useful for her to go back with S). J, at least, and possibly E (maybe the others) will get captured and find T. T, meanwhile, has become addicted to a new drug M is making, so her willingness to leave is compromised by the fact that she can't get the drug anywhere else. That could be where their plan fails, except I don't know if I want to reveal her until after J gets captured.

My first problem is trying to figure out their plan, though. It should be easy to sabotage, since M is expecting J to come, and one of the soldiers with the group has betrayed them in the past, and might do so again.

Any suggestions for decent plans, or how I might possibly go about trying to create one?
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