The airship jutted from the wasteland like a paleolithic behemoth, seeming to breath with great dying draughts as the stinging wind rolled in, rippling the surface of the half-inflated gas bag.
The Moor stood near a jagged outcrop, his long and calloused fingers tracing the variations of red lacing the rock. His cloak, a careful patchwork of clothing scraps, swirled in the dying light. This barren region was filled with ancient surprises and the diligent scavenger was amply rewarded.
His satchel was filled with small treasures; it held nuggets of visionary cacti for his forays into the Dreamtime, coils of stripped copper and pale green circuitry for the resident gearheads Hesiu and Effie. There was even something for the captain, a tattered book with its cover torn off. The Moor hoped it was a romance. The captain hated romances but he was starved for fresh reading material. It would be good for a laugh.
The sun grew large and bloated as it reached the horizon, and seemed to burst and flood the sky with blood. He was waiting for something and until he found it he would remain like a statue, his alert brown eyes scanning the blasted landscape. The stars came above and he regarded them warmly, for they were old friends.
A sudden movement flickered in the sand then the Moor was sweeping his long blade in a glittering arc that freed a dark spray of liquid. He fell to his knees and dispatched the large leathery lizard with a carefully placed jab. He gave thanks to the twitching creature as its life leaked away in a pool of brackish fluid. He made a quick job of stripping its hide and organs for necessary unguents; nothing was wasted.
He stood up, the long slabs of lizard flank dangling from a hand. The Rustbucket was a faint, homely glow in the distance. When the wind blew in certain directions, he could hear Hsieu's cursing in his rapid fire language overlapping in wavering melodies Effie's rendition of ancient songs.
The Moor smiled and started walking. The crew would be glad to have something else to eat than canned rations.