Written for the Moonshine Grid. Continued from an earlier post.
It all started here: https://momusnews.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/vengeful-seas-picture-it-write/
Then here: https://momusnews.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/gone-fishing-sunday-photo-fiction/
Last one here: https://momusnews.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/gauntlet-run-the-speakeasy-at-yeah-write/
Gauntlet Run Pt. 2
The airship’s cockpit door swung open quickly. “Darling!” said Arteigna. “I want to be…” She halted when she noticed the guns leveled at her head.
The two men lowered their guns with a sigh. “Arteigna! What are you doing here?” said Hansen.
She placed her hands on shapely hips. The dungarees loaned to her were too large but she’d made adjustments, and the distinctly male clothing looked far better than imaginable over her distinctly feminine form. “You aimed a gun at me!” she scolded.
“We’re in the midst of a battle, ducks,” said Hansen taking her arm and ushering her into the hallway. “The cockpit is no place for a lady.”
A short way down the hall, they entered the captain’s cabin. “But this is so exciting! I want to be with you.”
Hansen would hear nothing of it. He handed her his pistol. “Anyone but me opens this door, shoot them.” Without another word he locked the door on her.
Back in the cockpit, Hampton said, “I do admire your young lady. I really do, but is a warship a proper place for her?”
Hansen looked thoughtful. “She has many talents. you know. For instance, she makes the most wonderful rabbit stew.”
“We could use a cook,” murmured Hampton. “Still, our space is limited aboard ship.”
“Few ladies are willing to suffer the discomforts of airship life.” Hansen clucked disappointingly. She probably wants off as soon as possible.”
A knock at the door interrupted them. “That’ll be Gunny,” said Hampton. “It’s about time they captured the cutter’s crew…ah…then again.” Hampton backed up slowly with a gun barrel pressed against his nose.
Hansen reached for his pistol and realized too late, he’d given it to Arteigna.
“That’ll be enough of that, laddie,” growled the pirate, aiming a second gun at Hansen. He was dressed better than most, probably their captain or first mate. He motioned to Hampton’s pistol. “Drop it.” Hampton gingerly laid it on the deck. “Which one a’ you is the Master O’ this vessel?”
“I am,” Hampton said immediately, following long understood procedure.
Without hesitation, the pirate turned and grinned confidently at Hansen. “That would make you the ship’s Master.”
No doubt, the man was a shrewd airman, but that immediate familiarity revealed something about himself. “Welcome aboard, Captain,” sighed Hansen.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Captain….”
The Captain’s grin grew larger, revealing gold teeth. “Well then! The great Captain Hansen. Oh this is a good day indeed. Word is, ye were the one what sent the Cardinal’s Keep to Kingdom Come. Oh, there’s a lovely bounty out for ye, yes sir.”
“I hope it’s a handsome one,” said Hansen. “I’m so glad you’ve waltzed into the cockpit where I wanted you.”
“Oh, I already escaped the lovely trap your boys laid for me, but I’ve seen it before. Ye hoped to ransom me for my crew’s surrender did ye? And now the tables have…eh?”
A long silvery cylinder slipped past the door and into the pirate’s ear.
“Good job, Gunny!” cheered Hampton.
“I suggest you put those guns down very slowly,” said Hansen. “Our Captain of Marines has no love of pirates.”
The pirate grinned placatingly and released the guns. “Ye run a clever game, Cap’n. I never expected this move.”
“He didn’t either,” said Arteigna, from the doorway.
The pirate halted and his grin faltered, along with Hansen’s and Hampton’s. “A wooman?” He spun suddenly. A shot rang out, and the body of the pirate drooped over the cockpit railing streaming blood.
“He moved!” said Arteigna, entering the cockpit eyes wide with shock. “He’s not supposed to move.”
Gunny’s voice blared from the sound-powered phones. “Cap’n! One of ’em got away. I’m sending a squad to you.”
Hansen picked up the brass-strapped phone. “Ladies first, Gunny.”
“I’ll get back to you.”
“It’s alright, m’love,” said Hansen, taking the distraught Arteigna in his arms. He held her tight, expecting uncontrollable sobs.
She looked over Hansen’s shoulder. “Is he dead?”
Hampton looked over the railing where the body dangled in the airstream. “If he had half a brain, he wouldna’ moved, but even that’s gone now.”
Arteigna squeezed Hansen tight with glee. “He’s my first one! You aren’t mad are you?”
Hansen held the ecstatic woman at arm’s length. Confused and pleased all at once, he said, “Ah, no. He was a pirate after all.” He crossed his arms. “And just how did you get out of my cabin? I locked the door.”
“You once told me that when a ship is boarded, the Captain is usually locked into his own cabin. You said a Captain that can’t get out and retake the ship is a pitiful creature indeed. It only stands to reason you have some sort of escape hatch.”
“I thought it interesting you have two intercoms in your cabin. Both identical, except one has an extra button.”
Hansen and Hampton shared a look. “Well, I think that does it for plan A,” said Hansen. “There’ll be no ransoming a dead pirate captain.”
“Right you are, Cap’n.” Hampton picked the inter-ship sound-powered phone, what most in the crew called, ‘squeaky.’ “Stand by all guns!”
“What does that mean?” said Atreigna.
“Get ready for a fight,” grinned Hansen.
I planned to have a fight in this episode, but developing Arteigna’s character took precedence. I promise you a fight in the next one.
The moonshine grid is the weekend version of the Speakeasy at Yeah, Write. You can include anything you’ve found or written or add something new. It’s wide open for anything you want to write. Here’s the prompt for the week: http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine-142/