It’s late spring again, a time of warm days and afternoon tea. No surprise, then, that several lovely authors are once again doing the #DirtyGoggles blog hop. It’s a great place to catch some Steampunk or Diselpunk stories, or even better, write one of your own.
Here’s my Steampunk one.
Albatross by Moonlight
Far above the owls, another silent hunter soared through the night sky. Moonlight traced across metallic fins, spread to catch hold of updrafts and breezes. Looking up, no shepherd would see anything amiss over the countryside. Even an errant flash of the compass plate would look like no more than a shooting star. Through goggles lensed by the rarest of rubies to see the layers of heat in the sky, the figure scanned the sky for his target.
To the East, and several hundred feet above, an airship hung in the air lazily drifting under partial sails. Though no lights were showing, the heat aura from the power plant shone brighter than the full moon. With a grin, the figure twirled and pressed one of the control buttons on worn leather gloves. The tank strapped to his back hissed and pulsed as compressed gasses mixed and were forced out a pair of nozzles. As the spray entered each combustion chamber, a plug heated to glow red, sparking the mixture and sending a sulfuric jet of fire to and rocket the figure higher up into the sky.
By flexing the wings and careful adjustments to the spinal rudder, the figure rose high into the sky well above the ship called Orion’s Chariot. Gliding above, he could see a pair of guards patrolling the catwalks, watching for malfunctions as much as intruders. After all, high in the sky, what risk was there of someone slipping aboard?
The figure matched his glide to the steady progress of the vessel, gently floating above until the guards were on the far side of the ship. Scooping the wings, just like a bird of prey, the figure released all the captured wind and dropped onto the metal deck. Another button was pressed, this time on the chest harness, and the wings collapsed in on themselves with precise fittings. Though the servos whirred and the fins scraped each other with a metallic hiss, the guards remained unaware of his presence. Now, wearing what seemed to be an odd brass and leather backpack, he stepped quietly along the walkways until reaching the main hatch to the crew quarters. Crisp riding boots made the slightest sounds with each step, no matter how lightly he strode.
Opening the cool metal door, he found the Captain of the vessel waiting for him just inside, with a wary hand on a gentleman’s cane. “I was beginning to think that you weren’t coming, Reginald.”
“Come now, I just took the scenic route. You simply have to try the Albatross one of these days. The exhilaration, the freedom…”
“The very long fall when it malfunctions. I will pass, thank you very much. And what kind of a name is that, Albatross? Fairly ominous omen for a flying machine, don’t you think?” The Captain shrugged, sending his crimson cape to rest behind his shoulders.
“As if you’re one to criticize on name choices. You may have gotten the ship from a chap that called himself Orion, but it’s terribly pretentious.” The two gentlemen laughed over the old jests.
“I assume that sherry would be refreshing after your exertions?”
Reginald clapped his hand to the Captain’s shoulder as he gently sets the Albatross backpack down on the deck. “Certainly! And let us catch up long into the evening. Tell me, old friend, what fine adventures have you been on lately?