Ready for Launch


All the other ship's boys were nice sorts. Pat didn't seem too social, but I could probably break his shell. Ash was the oldest of us, and I was pretty sure that he'd sort of elected himself the leader of us boys. Then the last boy, Charlie, arrived. I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was something about him that was just... off. He had a sword, but none of his features recommended a history of combat. His hair was cut particularly short, and he looked sort of clean, which set him apart from the rest of us.

Ah well, enough about him. Think about this. "It's uh, it's really nice to have people help me with this sort of thing." I said, trying to strike up a conversation.

"You do this often?" Isaac asked.

"Yeah, where I came from, I mopped floors just about every day."

"Yeah? Where exactly did you come from?" Ash this time.

"The Platinum Castle. It's this super fancy boys school."

"Sounds like there's more to that story." Ashwin prompted.

"Yeah, I was dumped their right before my parents died in an airship wreck. So, instead of learning, I, well, you know." At this, Pat grunted in agreement. "But enough about me." I said. "What about you?"

"I used to work with my parents on pipelines. I've got a four younger brothers and three little sisters. My parents told me that I was old enough to go off on my own if I wanted to, so here I am." He stated, all matter-of-fact. "Hey Charlie, what about you?"

I sensed Charlie stiffen at that. "I, uh..."

"ALL HANDS PREPARE FOR TAKE-OFF!" I heard a stentorian below from behind us.

"Aye-aye, Captain!" Several sailors rushed past us to their stations. "Engineers, below!"

"This is the best part!" Shouted Isaac above the turmoil. He sounded as though he was reading his favorite book.

"All top-men aloft to set propellers!" More men ran past us and scurried up the masts like monkeys. It was the kind of thing that needed a fanfare. The  rotors were deployed from their positions, and no sooner were the top-men clear of them than they started to spin. 

And with that, we were airborne. Isaac let out a breath of anticipation I was sure he'd been holding for several minutes.

"You there! Boys!" The same man who had given us all mops, and was therefore responsible for uniting us. "Line up, over there." We did so hurriedly. "Me name is Peter Vantor. On a good day, you can call me Pete, any other day, and you'd best be callin' me Mister Vantor, understood?"

"Yes sir!" We all said, eagerly awaiting his speech.

"I am the flight master on this ship, and as such, it's me job to make sure it's smooth sailin' throughout the journey. In other words, don't get in the other sailors' way, got it?"

"Aye sir." We all said, a bit more deterred now.

"Alright, now, as ship's boys, you all have to do your jobs on this barky, and we can't have you swabbin' the decks the whole voyage. So, what can you all do?"

"D-do?" That wasn't on the poster.

The End

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