Steampunk Family
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

Schöneluft Log, 1900.07.05

Ulrik Manfred Adler, acting Captain

The windows glowed orange. This is madness! As soon as the fire reaches the compressed gas tanks that feed Chef’s ovens, we are all dead. The explosion will puncture our hull and ignite the gas balls inside it. Chef knows this, he knows what I must do.

Another look at the Mongol ship. Still the men surround the central structure. What is it? Another threat, surely!

I could not bear it. I could not condemn the fool for loving his work. Access to the Galley is well down the passageway, through another hatch, and down the ladder-like stairs. I strapped on the rifle and filled my pockets with rounds, loathe to be caught unarmed. I was not thinking clearly, I suppose, running into a burning building with pockets full of gunpowder.

Fzzap! Fzzap! Two lightening balls shot from the Generator, one red, one gold, both only six inches. I noted with some relief that a gust of storm winds had pushed the Generator closer to the Mongol ship. The red ball circled the generator – not good, the circling ones are most likely to blow up the device. The gold fell twenty feet and hovered there.

The passageway was just too long; I didn’t have enough time. I wound out more of the ladder I had fought from earlier, a good seventy feet, and started down it. Rain slapped me; the storm had caught us. As I scrambled down I threw my weight backwards and forwards, back and forth. Through the air I soared, freedom in my heart where there should have been fear. Back and forth, taking longer each swing until finally I could bridge the distance from my fighting hatch to the Galley stair. As I swung back I lifted my feet from the rungs and kicked through the ladder, sitting on the rung. As the mica window rushed toward me I had second thoughts, and swung the rifle butt in front of my face for good measure.

I smashed through the thin window, flew across the stair, and my boots knocked out the window on the other side! I would have kept going but for the rifle, which fell sideways across the window frame. That bruised my arm pretty badly, though I didn’t notice it at the time. I had expected to shatter the windows, but they popped out, cracked but whole.

Extracting myself from the window, I used the rifle to wedge the ladder into the stairwell. Then I was coughing. Black smoke roiled up the stairs. I had drawn it by opening the windows. I jumped down into the Galley, crouching below the black stream.

The food stores were burning. Wooden shelves crackled. Cooking oil ran from broken jugs; flames chased it across the floor to lick at the table legs. Chef stood across the room with his back to the stove, holding a large copper canister. Fire extinguisher! He released the mechanism and sprayed the flaming shelves. Flames hissed and steamed.

“You’ve got to get out of here!” I screamed over the maelstrom of fire and water. I pointed to the stove behind him. “It’s going to blow!”
Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
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