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The Voyage 020: Belinda

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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.

The Voyage 019: Daniel

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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.”

The Voyage 018: Hazel

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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.

The Voyage 017: Isaac

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“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!”

The Voyage 016: Vivian

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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.”

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The Voyage 015: Curtis

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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.

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The Voyage 014: Annabelle

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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.

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The Voyage 013: Leo

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Leo studiously avoided the Signaler’s gaze.  She was a proper young woman, unlike her sister, and the pair of goggles she wore magnified her sparkling eyes.  They were a vivid shade of green that made his stomach do flips.  But she’d never have naught to do with the likes of him, he reckoned.  Instead he watched a slim young man, carry a pair of heavy cases off the back of a carriage, wave the porter away, and tromp up the gangway.  The man waited impatiently as they weighed his bags, had a long conversation with the steward, then disappeared inside.

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The Voyage 011: Otis

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Otis let out the slack on his gauntlet and struggled towards the tea cart like a man walking against a hurricane.  Finally, he reached it and exchanged pleasantries with the others while a shaking slip of a new girl handed him a teacup.  Florence hadn’t broken this one yet.
“What’s the commotion over there?” Charley asked.  He sighed.
“Her Ladyship’s luggage is nearly five stone over the allotment, AND she brought a bloody safe, if you can believe it.  They’re trying to make the weight for it, but the Lord know how they’ll do it.  Toffs.”  The others grunted agreement.

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The Voyage 010: Molly

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The men gathered around the steaming kettle while Molly prepared it under Miss Florence’s hawkish gaze.  She knew she needed to concentrate.  They needed the money this job would bring in.  She didn’t want to be the burden her Aunt and Uncle always said she was.  She knew feeding and clothing a girl of ten cost money.  That was why they pulled her out of school.  Her gaze wandered to the shed on the far side of the field, where a morning of scrubbing and scouring awaited her, then back to the massive shadow of the airship above.  If only…

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