A Lucky Escape

Kara sat at the bow if the Skysprite, her bright blue eyes scanning the horizon for the first sign of Elesium. She brushed aside a wisp of her thick brown hair that had escaped from beneath the brim of her cap. A chirping mechanical sound caused her to glance down to her side and she flashed a grin at the small mechanical owl that sat staring up at her with round silver eyes.

"We will be there soon Clipper." she gave the tiny automaton a soft brush beneath its silver beak and it chirped in appreciation.

"Lunch is ready." the voice of her elderly uncle drifted up from below deck and she gathered herself up to head back toward the centre of the airship, where a narrow set of stairs descended through a hatchway into the ships cosy living quarters.

Clipper flapped happily along the deck before her and she breathed in deeply as the comforting smell of hot stew drifted up and across the ship. She was about to descend when something troubling caught her eye. A large dark shadow was drifting beneath the cloud cover, around two hundred feet to the stern of the ship.

"Uncle you had better get up here!" she called out and there was a shrill edge to her voice. The shadow was getting closer.

"What is it?" came the old mans reply, "Your food will be getting cold."

"It can wait. Get up here now."

There came a clamour of pots and pans followed by footsteps and quiet cursing. Then the grey bush of hair followed by bespectacled eyes appeared through the hatch.

"What is it Kara?" the old man asked as he made his way up the steps onto the deck. Kara simply pointed to the hulking shadow that was now less that a hundred feet from the vessel. There was definitely something down there and she had a very good idea what it might be.

"Is it?" she asked and he uncle grimaced and gave a sharp nod before making his way quickly to the rear of the vessel.

"We need to get as high up as possible." he barked out as he began to shift leavers and pull the balloon bracers into place.

"Get down below and drop the hammer on my mark." he ordered her and she wasted no time darting down into the hatch as the ship began to tilt up toward the blue. They were gaining speed and altitude, but it might not be enough.

She raced through the living quarters, the stew now forgotten as she slammed open the door into the engine room fumbled for a sealed canister from the nearby rack. She cursed as the lid refused to twist open and then yelped as it came free and the sharp metal of the lid tore into her hand.

"Are you ready?" her uncles voice crackled over the comm, barley audible over the roar of the ships engines. Pistons pumped and cogs whirred as the Skysprite fought to rise above the clouds.

"I'm ready." she called back into the brass voice collector. She brought her bleeding hand to her mouth and licked away the blood from the wound.

"Shit." she hissed, wiping both spittle and blood away on her shirt.

She returned her attention to the canister and upended its contents into her injured hand. A dull green stone tumbled into her palm and she gripped it tightly, dropping the empty canister to the ground.

"On my mark." sounded the old mans voice.

"Shit, shit, shit." Kara surged forward and began to frantically open up a small compartment on the engine casing. There were three catches to release and first two popped open with a quick twist. The third was jammed tight.

"Shit!" she half screamed. Glancing aside she grabbed up the canister once more just as her uncles called out "Now!" over the comm.

She screamed and slammed the canister into the catch, once, twice and on the third strike it flew open.

"Kara now!" her uncle repeated as she quickly opened the remaining latch and threw the green stone into the now open compartment. She slammed it shut fastening catches and then reached up to grasped a lever that would release the raw flagesium into the engine.

"Kara..." the engine roared into overdrive. Bright green energy sparked across its casing and the Skysprite began to rocket higher and faster.

Kara raced back through the ship and emerged moments later onto the deck. Her uncle was stood on the control deck with a thick leather harness wrapped around his torso. Seeing it she remembered herself and unclipped a looped cord from her waste and hooked into onto on the of the nearby runners.

The wind whistling in her ears she stumbled back toward her uncle, giving him a firm squeeze on the shoulder as she passed him by to stair down at the hulking shadow that was now directly beneath them. She could not make out any details through the thick billowing cloud but she was still sure of what she was looking at... Reavers! It had been a lucky escape.

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