Steampunk Wenesday

I make the following promise. This story is almost over. This section and the next. That is it. I shall move on to something else, though I do not know whether I will stay with the same setting or move on. Tempted to follow Edward around a little further. Why? World of my own creation not restricted to historical accuracy or current politics, yet at the same time with enough familiar touches here and about to keep it from feeling too unrelateable.

"Readjust balast and bring us about." Jack remained calm in the face of a three-to-one fight he was forced into.

The man at the helm looked grim but did as ordered.

"Ahead one half and inform Link to have guns at the ready." Airship fighting was a slow process punctuated by moments of pure terror. The three rider-laiden krakken that had engadged them were far faster than their sizes would make one believe, and deathly dangerous if one were close enough to be grabbed by their tenticals; but they were no faster than a well-crewed ship.

As both sides of the conflict manouvered about a second ship took advantage of the beast's instinct to go after the first large floating thing that came along and slipped in to aid Quark's Treasure. It was risky, but it was the best both vessles could come up with on short notice.

While the crew was busy trying to keep everyone from being killed Edward decided this was his time to have a closer look at what was going on. The halls were empty, or at least near enough that he easily avoided anyone else up and about. When he was at the observation deck he stopped and stared, both thankful that the different bits of technology would record what he was seeing so there could be no doubt of the event, and terrified.

On the other side of the glass he saw one of the great beasts, it's bone-white skin pulsed with slightly darker and slightly lighter patches of pattern as its tenticals writhed about in an attempt to ensnare the cannons that had been deployed against it.

Edward watched, incapible of rational thought, as shot made the beast's skin bow inwards before falling harmlessly to the ground. The dwindling portion of his mind that culd think rationally wondered why they were using round shot instead of something intended to cut away the outer protective layers of hide.

The first harpoon lodged in one of the beast's eyes causing it to shriek in agony. Had Edward left his reciever on he would have been washed over by a great den of radio noise in addition to it's audible cries of pain. As it tried to back away realization caught up to edward. The cannonry was part of the lure but-

Edward was thrown to the floor when the krakken exploded. Harpoons carryingexplosives. Thankfully the ship's envelope was woven of fire resistant material.

Again Edward was thrown to the floor as the ship was shaken violently. The gas bags! No. They were still in the air. As Edward lurched to the nearest exit he saw tenticals as thick as a man cover the window. One of the two surviing creatures had managed to grab hold of the ship.

Jack had the railing in a death-grip while his ship was shaken about. "Dump all balast!"

The navigator looked stricken, "That'll tear the ship in two! It's got too firm a hold."

"What're our other options?" Jack's voice was raised just enough to be heard over the den of noise around him. "On my mark then." He pulled his headset on and said a silent prayer that the connection hadn't been severed by the shaking.

"We're givin' it all she's got!"

"Electrify the hull."

"Sir you can't be serious. With all the tossin 'bout we've had we might's well toss lit dynamite in the envelope and be donewith it."

Jack thought this over for a moment. Wires could have frayed, insulation could have been cut thorugh, or the whole thing might just fizzle and they'd be dead in the air with a krakken wanting to make lunch out of them. "Do it."

"A-Aye sir." Shakey voice before the line disconnected but Jack had no doubts the man would do his job.

Edward felt the entire shp buckle as the floating monster first squeezed then let go right as the ship sprung upwards. How did-? He tenetivly listened through his implants and whooped. Crazy biter popped 'em." He could hear both floating monsters retreat and no movement from their handlers seemed to get them to come back for another pass.

"What the devil are you doing out here?" Edward was spotted by a thickly built genome crewmember.

"When everything started hsakin ma'am..." He let himself trail off after noticing the sour look she gave him. "I'll... just get going."

"You do that." She snorted, turning the other way. Crazy giant wants to get himself killed.

As he turned to go it hit him. Dozens of new and distinct calls filled the air. Edward's body went ridged as his mind attempted to filter thorugh this deluge of new information. "Allah be merciful."

Then the female crewmember saw through one of the viewports. At least a dozen, if not more, distinct forms could be seen on the horizon. It would take time for them to arrive, but between the downed vessle and damage alread ysuffered it seemed time was now an even more precious commodity.

The moment of panic passed and she firmed her resolve before shaking Edward by his clothes. "Don't just stand there. MOVE!."
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