Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2291462-The-Voyage
by Sumojo
Rated: E · Fiction · Steampunk · #2291462
Hannah takes her Airship on its maiden voyage
Words 992

Hannah hitches up her new, calf leather britches, wipes her oily fingers on a rag, and steps back to admire her new airship. She fastens the chin strap on her leather helmet and lowers her goggles.
The vessel is a sight to behold, with intricate gears and pipes running throughout the ship’s hull, and a massive propeller to churn the air behind it. Hannah has invited a group of investors aboard for a demonstration flight, eager to show off her invention.

“Oh, my god, Poppyseed, keep all your paws crossed. Pray nothing goes wrong today.”
Her Jack Russell puppy cocked his head before giving a yap and leaping on to the gleaming vessel as if to say, “let’s show ‘em Hannah”

Everyone took the tour earlier, and received an explanation of how everything worked and while being reassured there was no danger."

The visitors were a mixed group of people. Inventors such as herself, eager to replicate this new-fangled mode of transport, if it actually worked without killing everyone on board. The rest of the group of twelve were mainly reporters, notebooks and pencils in hand, ready to record the journey in detail and hoping to be back safely before their newspaper’s deadlines.

Hannah, raised solely by her inventor father, with his encouragement and guidance, developed into a fearless explorer. Together they’d explored unknown lands, had navigated by the stars and traversed the oceans as explorers of future possibilities. Both envisioned the day they would raise a vessel into the heavens and take it to parts of the world as yet undiscovered. The airship, named after her father, Atlas, was almost complete when on the worst day of her life, he clutched his chest and died.

Hannah, determined not only to show the world her father’s invention but to ensure his name, Atlas Charles Hamilton, would become a household name. There was a lot riding on today’s maiden voyage.

“Thank you, gentleman, for joining me, and Poppyseed of course,” she said, smiling at her little friend who was sporting his own flying helmet and jaunty bandana, his name lovingly hand painted by herself. “Prepare yourselves for the experience of your lifetimes.” With that she descended into the engine room, and with a whirring of cogs, gears, and sounds of bangs, whistles with the occasional loud pop, the huge propeller began to turn, slowly at first, then as its speed increased the vessel slowly rose from the confines of the earth. The passengers all rushed to the edges of the polished deck, gripping the polished brass railings as if their lives depended on it.

A loud cheer and clapping filled Hannah’s ears as they climbed higher. The fields, cows and houses diminished until they were completely out of sight.
“We did it, Poppa,” she whispered.

They were soon sailing in the sky above turquoise blue water. Hannah was about to serve tea and biscuits to her guests when she felt something wasn’t right. So attuned to the airship, her instincts told her to check out the engine room.

Slipping quietly down the oak stairs, she surprised her father’s competitor, Malachi Marchant, crawling around in the inner workings of the ship.
“Mr Marchant, I thought I gave specific instructions no one was allowed down here? He turned, and she saw the hatred and jealousy in his eyes.

It was then she knew they were losing altitude, “What have you done?” Hannah was horrified to see he had damaged one of the critical gears which controlled the altitude.
“You idiot!” she screamed, before racing up on deck to assess how far the ship had descended.
The white waves of the ocean below were visible and getting closer. In the distance, she saw a small island and with great skill managed to control the rapid descent until they were hovering over a clearing amongst the thick, forested floor.

Landing with a jolt the passengers sprawled across the deck, some screaming like frightened children.

“We’re all safe. Please stay calm.” Hannah checked each of her charges to ascertain no one needed medical attention. “Unfortunately, we have been sabotaged,” she pointed an accusing finger at Malachi.
The eyes of everyone glared at the man, but before anyone could say or do anything, the sound of drumming reached their ears. Now all eyes turned to look at a crowd of naked natives approaching, screaming, waving their arms.

As captain of the vessel, Hannah knew the lives of all of her passengers were in her hands. The natives were naked except for what looked like war paint daubed all over their bodies. Each one carried spears and there was no doubt in Hannah’s mind they were craving blood.
She turned to her frightened charges and instructed some of the men to tie up Malachi Marchant. “It’s his doing we’re in this predicament. I need time to repair the broken gearing.” She pointed to the crowd of natives, “Perhaps they would be satisfied with him as a prisoner.”
They soon had Malachi bound with ropes, offering him as a gift to a native whose feather head dress gave the appearance of being the leader. No one spoke for a few minutes. The chief stared at Malachi as if judging the amount of meat on his bones. The passengers held their breaths. The only sound was Malachi’s muffled cries through the scarf tied tightly around his mouth. Eventually, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The chief nodded to two of the natives and they dragged their prisoner into the jungle, kicking and screaming.

Hannah took the opportunity to use Poppyseed’s bandana to re-attach the broken gearing before the natives returned for more fresh meat. Soon they were safely flying above the island and on the return voyage home.

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