Steampunk Family

Red Racer!

August 19, 2012
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

The children woke far too early after their late night arrival at the Aubergine house. Raised voices roused them, and they started up in alarm. They peered out the windows (which were just pruned away places in the shrubbery wall) fearful that the entire Capsicum Guard surrounded the house. They were relieved to see no bright red faces or green uniforms, but their anxiety could not entirely be relieved, as a mob of country people, hundreds of farmers of various species, milled about outside. Lady Aubergine was there, standing between the mob and the door. The children feared the worse, and rushed out to face it.

“Good morning sprouts,” she greeted them. “I’m sorry if we woke you. You really should go back to bed, it’s early yet.”

“Have they come for us?” Gerhardt blurted.

The lady laughed and smoothed his hair. “Actually, they’ve come for me. I was just going to explain why they needn’t bother.”

“We’ll defend you!” Mirabelle said, glaring at the assembled host.

“No need, my dears-”

She continued speaking but none of the children heard a word. What they heard was the sound for which they had strained their ears for weeks. They heard the throb of an engine.

A dozen eyes turned to the violet sky, searching.

The thrumming grew louder. All eyes now scanned the northern sky. At last she sailed into view, a bright red dirigible the children had never seen before, coming at them at a fast clip.

Adolphus whistled. “Where’d they get that? That’s a Renard racer! Custom though. That’s not in the catalog.”

“How do we know it’s them?” Gerhardt said. “It could be someone else.”

The sleek little ship hovered over the mob. Some of them ran, a few fell to the ground, but most stood their ground, watching. Herr von Hedwig’s amplified voice boomed out.

“Disperse immediately. This ship is armed. We will open fire if you do not disperse and release the children.”

He repeated the threat in German, English, and French, and was starting in Latin when the hatch in the side of the ship flew open and Madame von Hedwig appeared.

“Whoa!” Their father’s voice shouted. There was a clatter. Madame leaned out the open doorway, waving frantically and shouting their names. Herr von Hedwig’s hand snatched the back of her utility belt and pulled her back into the ship.

The children waived manically, but Claire said, “Quick, show them nothing’s wrong!” She ran to the closest farmer and shook his hand, then the fellow next to him, than embraced that man’s wife. Gerhardt and the twins did the same, but Bettina just kept waving, tears streaming down her face.

Adolphus signaled the port where he know the pilot to be stationed, beckoning to be followed. He directed the ship to touch down on the rocky slope behind the house. By the time the ship was ten feet from the ground there was a von Hedwig child on each guy line, with Bettina pulling the end of Gerhardt’s. Their parents leapt from the racer and hugged them all at once, and then individually, and then all at once again.

They laughed and cried and embraced, leaving Captain Charette to anchor the ship and disembark all on her own, which she did with great good humor, as she did most things.

She smiled at the proceedings, loaded a short double-barreled shotgun, and walked to the front of the house. The von Hedwigs, ever alert to the presence of weaponry, gathered themselves together and followed.
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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