The Headwind ArrivesMature

"Everything is progressing wonderfully!" Her Ladyship exclaimed. "Don't you think so, Captain?" she asked her companion. It was the morning after Noman's capture and the two of them were strolling through the tent village that served as a collective workspace for the inventors visiting Marsten. The Captain had noted on their way in that somebody had thoughtfully posted a number of signs just outside the entrance. They said things like "Danger!", "Keep Out!", "Explosions Likely!", and "Do Not Enter As Loss Of Life Or Limb (or both) Is Possible Likely". The 'or both' had been written in after, added in smaller letters underneath and appended with an upward pointing arrow. He wasn't entirely certain whether the signs were serious or if someone was taking the piss, though he had a definite opinion about that last one. They didn't seem to bother the inventors, however, and if they did anything to keep inquisitive locals away then so much the better. He'd decided to leave them be for now. 

"Things are certainly happening," he said in response to Her Ladyship's question. "Whether or not it's progress I'm afraid I can't say." He sighed and looked around as they walked. While the place had begun life as a neatly ordered blueprint reality had been quick to step in and take over. Inventors had disregarded the carefully laid out lots almost entirely and traded spaces as they saw fit, leaving some lots standing empty while three or four fellows set up cramped work areas almost on top of one another. There did see to be a bit of method to the madness, he'd noticed. Those tents with ample space around them tended to be the ones from which explosions echoed with alarming regularity. That small bit of method did little, he felt, to make up for the vast amounts of madness that accompanied it, but there was nothing he could do about it at this stage.

Her Ladyship laughed, probably mistaking his words for a joke. "Come now, haven't you seen the wonderful things they're working on? When it's time for the fair to start there will be so many things for them to show off. Look over there," she pointed towards one tent in particular. "That's Mr. Frod's tent. When he started there was nothing but a pile of parts in a wagon, and now look at it!"

"Ah yes," The Captain nodded. Something was definitely taking shape, though what it was he hadn't the faintest idea. "And what is it he's working on?"

"I believe he calls it a mechanized carriage," Her Ladyship replied.

"The same as the thing you arrived in at the meeting the other night? I'd meant to ask you about that."

"Very similar, yes," Her Ladyship nodded. "A gift from Mr. Frod, though I understand he consulted with some of the others here to put together that particular model."  

"Hmm," The Captain mused. As he regarded the contraption he gradually became aware of a noise, just at the edge of hearing but getting louder. It was a distant rumble, like listening to a far away water fall. "What the blazes is that?" He asked, looking around.

"What's what?"

"That noise..." he replied distractedly, "Do you hear it?" It wasn't like anything he'd heard in the camp before.

"Noise?" She asked, tilting her head to one side in an affectation of careful attention. "I don't hear... oh!" she exclaimed suddenly, a smile blossoming on her face. "I know that sound!" He eyes immediately turned to the sky, a raised hand providing shade as she scanned the blue expanse. Though he didn't quite understand why, The Captain also raised his eyes to the sky. 

"What is it?" he asked her.

"It's Bainbridge," she said, "It has to be. There!" She pointed, and he followed her outstretched finger to what he initially thought was a bird. But no, it wasn't moving right, and every so often he could see sunlight reflected off of it. The longer he watched the closer the spot in the sky grew and the louder the noise became. Eventually it resolved itself into a shape that was almost recognizable. 

"My Lady," he asked without taking his eyes off of the approaching object, "Is that... a ship?"

"Of sorts," she laughed again. "It's an airship, Captain! Capable of riding the clouds as a normal ship would ride the waves. I didn't think he could actually do it. Oh, his ego will be insufferable after this..."

"This Bainbridge fellow, you mean?" The Captain asked. "How do you know him?"

"He's one of the inventors I met while I was searching them out for the fair. He's an... interesting individual," she seemed to settle on the word over other possibilities. "Come on, we should meet when he lands."

The End

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