Steampunk Family

The Last War Wing

January 25, 2012
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

Schöneluft Log, 1900.07.05

Ulrik Manfred Adler, acting Captain

I clung to the ladder, blown backward by the blast of the Mongol’s hydrogen. Each bag exploded in turn, but I lost count. The front of me was dry and the back wet, and I found that to be so funny I laughed out loud. Below me the ladder burned. This was interesting to watch, and so I watch it. I wondered if it would reach me, or if the rain would put it out.

I realized then that someone was speaking to me. I looked for the Khan, but his ship was falling, was nearly to the ground. I watched the impact before the voice again interrupted my thoughts. This time I remembered to look up. It was Chef.

“Ça va, mon brave bête?”

I thought what a fine and brave fellow he was, and an excellent chef. I grinned at him, and waved. He pulled on his mustache (which is a very fine one) and gestured at me to come up. Lightening struck again, but it was nearly a mile away, already heading out to sea. I laughed again forgetting all about Chef.

I lurched downward. I thought my ladder might have burned away, dropping me on my final flight, but I still held on. I came around a bit then. The lashing rain had extinguished the ladder fire a dozen feet below me. That had me grinning again, until something sharp hit me in the head.

“Ow!”

I rubbed at my scalp, feeling for blood. Someone was yelling above me again. One of the boiler crew leaned out of the hatch, screaming unintelligibly and waving a spanner. I looked around. No crewman (or lady) would throw a spanner unless it was important. They love their tools.

A lone Wing was approaching, flapping madly and gaining altitude. I fumbled at the rifle slung on my back, then in my pockets for shells. I searched the sky for others, but they were all far below. One determined Mongol dying to avenge his Khan, and damned if I only had one shot left!

I raised the barrel and aimed. As I squeezed the trigger something silver hit my rifle. My shot went wild. My last shot! What the Hell was that monkey playing at?

I drew my sword, knowing that the blighter would have an arrow through my chest and blow up Mein Herr’s ship before I could get in a single blow.

I looked for my iron-tipped fate. I saw instead … an accordion? The rider had no bow, no axe, but what appeared to be a concertina he was pumping earnestly as the wings flapped. And then I knew why I’d had spanners thrown at me. War Wings glide; they don’t flap. Mongol airmen don’t have adorable heart-shaped faces, a riot of curls poking out from their leather flying caps, or sparkling brown eyes behind their goggles.

I sheathed the sword and held out my arms. Philomena von Hedwig flew into them, accordion wheezing a protest in our embrace.

“Gosh it’s good to see you, Ulrik!”

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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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