Saw Iron Man last night.
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. There were a few very minor things I could nitpick, but I won’t. Because it’s awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing it a couple more times. I was giddy going in, with crazy high expectations. I think the last time I was this excited to see a movie was…maybe Phantom Menace? Except this time I wasn’t met with crushing disappointment and epic fail. Make sure you stay after the credits and prepare yourself for multiple nerdgasms. (And if someone behind you shouts “He’s white!” turn and punch them in the neck.)
Anyway, back to the grindstone. It’s a new month, so we have started a new prompt contest. I’ve started right out of the gate!
Write a story about a rattletrap ship (spaceship, pirate ship, air ship, ocean liner, etc.) and its crew.
I started out intending to make this a spaceship story, but it took a kind of a weird turn into some sort of Irish steampunk thing. I like it, though, it has potential. About 560 words.
Wren craned his neck to read over Keegan’s shoulder. “Stop calling yourself captain,” he muttered.
“I am the captain,” Keegan snapped. He glanced at his ink jar to make sure he had enough left to finish the log entry.
“You’re a lieutenant.”
Keegan spun the chair around and shoved Wren back toward the navigation console. “I’m in charge. That makes me captain regardless of my official rank.”
Wren glared at Keegan for a moment, then slid into his chair. He considered pointing out that their court martial had been effective as of dawn this morning, so technically he had no rank, official or otherwise. Considering Keegan still wore his dress greys, Wren doubted logic would find any purchase within the man’s increasingly delusional mind.
The bridge of the airship Dahee had seen better days. The leather chairs frayed and showed the upholstery beneath. Handles were cracked and worn. Many of the gauges no longer functioned. Labels had been rubbed to near-illegibility. The windows that gave the crew such a commanding view of the countryside below badly needed cleaning or to be outright replaced. Everything squeaked or groaned on rusty hinges. The bridge was supposed to be soundproofed, but Wren and Keegan could clearly hear the engine room roaring from aft.
“Go test the guns,” Keegan ordered.
“Those guns haven’t been fired in months,” Wren spat. “Likely to blow ourselves up. We don’t even need them for th-”
“Then oil them. Go.” Keegan turned back to his writing.
Wren made a face, then sighed and hauled himself amidships. Beyond the bridge door, a narrow tunnel ran the length of the Dahee’s massive patch-covered balloon. Wren pulled his headphones on, hoping to drown out the dull whirls of the ship’s propellers echoing down the tunnel. It didn’t really help much.
Spaced along the length of the tunnel at regular intervals were the ship’s cannons. In her heyday, thirty men crammed into this compartment to rain death on opposing armies. An unprotected catwalk hung below so crew could get back and forth through the ship without having to squeeze between the guns. Wren shuddered to think of what this place would be like during a battle. The Liadan, Wren’s old ship, was pride of the fleet, fully armored and crewed by eighty men. The Liadan’s gunnery compartment alone would hold the entire Dahee with room to spare.
But thieves and traitors can’t be choosy, Wren thought. He retrieved a tool kit from the maintenance trap beneath the grilled floor and set to work. Half-way down the line, the Dahee broke out past the cliffs of Moher and soared over open ocean. Tadg emerged from the engine room and shuffled over to stand beside Wren. They watched the cliffs fade away to the east.
“Hey, Wren,” Tadg said quietly. Grease coated his hands and smudged his clothes. Soot covered his face but for the cleared ovals around his goggled eyes.
“Tadg,” Wren nodded. He tore his eyes away from their homeland and went back to cleaning a cannon scope. “Ulick okay?”
“Aye, yeah. Keeping watch on those old generators.” Tadg’s eyes always fluttered half-closed, as though he were constantly on the verge of falling asleep. “Think we’ll ever see her again?”
Wren glanced at the island in the distance, his mouth a tight line. “No.”
“Yeah,” Tadg said. “I guess thieves and traitors can’t be choosy.”