Belinda picked up the engine room tube and listened to the report. This was a lady-like job, no different from working in a school, a hospital, or an office. And she did so love the officers in their dashing uniforms. Almost as dashing as her own, she thought, somewhere deep within herself. She admired the captain her position, although she didn’t know if she could be in command. Still, maybe someday, if she met the right sailor, and they saved their money, a little transport or trader would be perfect. Yes, a nice family ship might be just right.
May 23, 2015
May 22, 2015
The Assistant Engineer sent the girl in for the final check before they signaled final green back up to the bridge. She was small, maybe seven. But he’d seen his sisters grow, and they came into their adulthood sooner than the boys did. Even if she didn’t burn or crush herself, or fall from a height, she’d still be a young woman, and there would be no place for her. She crawled back out and gave him a thumbs up. He nodded, grimly, and grabbed the speaking tube mounted on the wall.
“This is the engine room. Ready for launch.”
May 21, 2015
A klaxon went off down in the engine room, making Hazel jump. The Chief bellowed louder, but the noise always played like a bow across her heartstrings. She knew that it meant that she was going to have to go in again. She was the ‘boiler’s boy,’ a thankless, dirty, and dangerous job. She thought the engineers knew she wasn’t really a boy, even though she kept her hair short and never acted like a girl. If a boiler’s boy avoided falling or burning himself, when he grew up a little he became an apprentice. She hoped they’d let her.
May 20, 2015
“Mister Skinner, Send the first signal. Ten minutes to launch.”
“Aye, Captain.” Isaac pulled a lever on his board. There was a series of thunks, and throughout the ship, he knew the message, and the countdown had begun. In every distant corner of the ship, last-minute checks and preparations were performed. On the ground below, the crew gulped their tea and hustled back to their positions.
He felt an almost tangible tension, as though he were the conductor of a great orchestra. Really, he was just the baton. He turned back to the captain.
“First signal is lit, Captain!”
May 19, 2015
Captain Vivian Orville stepped onto her bridge. Most of the crew she could rely on, but there were a few new faces who were unsure about a female commander. It was a good thing for them this was a private vessel, not one that relied on military discipline. Her lip twitched a half smile as the lieutenant struggled to his feet.
“Are we ready to depart?” She asked him. He scrambled for his clipboard.
“Yes, sir, er, Ma’am. But the ground crew is on tea break.”
She sighed. “Very well. Lord knows they won’t get a rest for a while.”
May 18, 2015
From behind the glass canopy of The Indomitable bridge, Curtis paused in checking the gauges and dials. He watched the little figures grouped together on the ground, and fought against a wave of vertigo. This would be his third trip aboard the airship, but he was still green. He’d have preferred an ocean liner under his boots, but he was a young officer, and didn’t have his choice of commissions. At least he didn’t believe the superstitious rumors about the captain. Or so he told himself.
“Captain on the bridge,” the helmsman shouted. He rose reflexively and banged his head.
May 17, 2015
Annabelle came running up a moment later, and took a cup of tea gratefully from the girl. She was all out of breath, which, combined with her oil-smudged face and men’s coveralls, made her altogether far less ladylike than her prim sister. She didn’t much care though.
“They’re loading the last of it now,” she said. “That final passenger, a doctor or something, found a problem with the scales, and we should be light enough to get off the ground.” Or at least, the ship will, she thought. But someday, she’d be a pilot herself, and then she’d soar.