Rayna's pale blonde hair freed itself from her elastic band as she stole to the front of the deck pushing past various members of her crew. She had an over abundance of Air Rats, most of whom were drunks she recruited out of pity. There were few of good use to her, and those are the ones whose names she remembered from time to time.
Up on deck the fog was a thick cloud appearing of soap settled water. Rayna edged to the very end of the deck, placing her palms on the rails and pushing herself up on her tiptoes. She narrowed her eyes in attempt to see past the fog, impossible as it was. “Coty!” Rayna called. A moment later a pretty women with a scarred face concealed partially by a stray strand of dark hair, appeared; weary but alert.
“Aye Captain?” The Irish Navigator spoke slowly and expectantly.
“The Fog. Can we navigate around it. What are our options?” Rayna inquired.
Coty shook her head. “Our best option is to stay put lest we want to end up lost in the Neversea.”
Rayna suppressed a smile. The Neversea was a simple tale told to Pirates and Air Rats alike. In myth the Neversea was only accessible upon fog and storm. One would not be able to find it on a map, as it was a traveling formation that lurked in the epicenter of a storm or was kept hidden amidst a bad fog. Sometimes when a ship became lost people would make up ludicrous rumors which held the Neversea responsible for stealing and entrapping the ship for eternity. The ship and it's crew were said to be bound to the Neversea; destined to sail forever. Never to rise into the air and never to reach shore again.
Rayne shook her head. “We are sitting ducks here. I'd rather leave while my trail of crumbs is still warm.”
Coty cocked her head. “Dare I ask what treason you have committed now Captain?” She smiled slowly and her eyes widened enviously.
“Later. Just know that we need to make haste. The Count in which we offended was of high stature. His absence won't go unnoticed for too long. You know the air rats are always the first to be interrogated by the authorities.”
Coty tilted her head. “Offended?”
Rayna resisted the urge to stomp her foot out of impatience. “Coty focus! We are one of only three airships docked in this port. We must flee before the authorities find us out! Give me another option!”
Coty shook her head. “I have none. The fog is thick it will-”
“Where is it the thickest?” Rayna interrupted.
Coty sighed in frustration. “The East.”
Rayna nodded dismissively and Coty disappeared below deck.
“Shavanza! Start the engine! We head West now!” Rayna beckoned towards her marksman turned engineer.
Behind her Shelia scaled the lookout as was routine. The skinny, hyperactive girl had perhaps the loudest scream on deck, which was why she was assigned to the lookout as her voice would easily carry. “I canna see anything!” Shelia screamed in protest.
The captain ignored her and watched as Lee Shavanza skillfully started the engine. At six foot four, the man was a giant, with dark lean muscles bulging out of every limb of his body. Lee had intense green eyes and a was a deadly shot, but Rayna knew the man to be nothing more than a boy at heart. Though he aggravated many of the crew with his humor and tricks, Rayna found him to contain admirable traits just as well. He was loyal, and better yet dexterous. Manning the controls had become second nature to him. He could probably do his job in his sleep, Rayna thought as she watched him flip switches, pull levers, spin dials and light fuses in a matter of seconds.
Within a couple minutes the Asterius's propellers began to rotate. Slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed. The Asterius began to lift off out of the water, leaving a large ripple in it's wake. Over the engine water spilling off of the bottom of the ship was an audible rush.
As the Asterius ascended in altitude the fog became thicker and more prominent.
Rayna positioned herself behind the massive wheel. “Curse us! I can't see a damn thing!” She complained to nobody in particular. A shoulder bumped intrusively against hers.
“What in the bloody hell are you doing! The fog is too thick, we will be lost to the Neversea!” Simon scolded.
Rayna ignored Simon's skepticism. “Here make yourself useful and take the wheel for a moment!” She hollered over the sound of the propellers.
“Shavanza, ready the cannon sir!” Rayna yelled before descending the stairs that led below deck. She made her way to the third floor. The ship's storage unit. The third floor contained; weapons, ammo and whiskey. The essentials of life.
Quickly Rayna found what she was looking for and returned to the main deck.
“Are those flares?” Simon asked. “You are sure to give us away with those!”
“We have no other choice!” Rayna retorted. She pushed past him and over to where Lee stood next to the cannon. Lee loaded the Cannon with gunpowder.
Rayna turned to face Lee. “Shavanza will you accelerate the ship's velocity upon my order?”
Lee nodded. “Aye Captain.”
Rayna turned back toward cannon and followed the gunpowder with the magnesium flares. She aimed the cannon accordingly with the wind and knelt to light the fuse. A moment later the sky was illuminated with a bright light.
“Now!” Rayna called to Shavanza.
A moment later the Asterius took advantage of the temporary visible path the flares created. The massive ship punched through the sky with the unsettling speed of a bullet.