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Sky of Thieves

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Henry took a deep breath of the mighty ether, air shoving his curly mane back behind him. His fingers gripped the spokes of the ship’s wheel. He could hear his sole crew mate below him on the deck, searching the deck for any abnormalities that might have arisen from their days in the air. With the visibility being so low in this foggy morn, the crow’s nest was all but useless. Something beeped on his sonar to alert him of another entity in the air. However, it was very far away and not in their direction.

“Wha–?” Ellie muttered, standing beside him on the quarterdeck. She gasped and yelled, “C-Captain!”

Henry jolted and looked at her. “Ye-yeah?” he managed to squeak out.

She pointed beside them, on the opposite flank of their ship. “Look!

Henry turned to look in the direction in which she pointed. The blood drained from his face. Sifting through the fog was the biggest ship he’d ever seen, its red metal sides shining in the meager sunlight, its massive masts billowing in the heavy wind and the tip of its bowsprit pointed at them. A black hat with a golden “Toppat” scrawled along its brim shined on its flank. But its flank Henry did not see as the ship itself was pointed and flying fast in a collision course with their port side hull.

Henry allowed himself a shill shriek of surprise and quickly went to work pulling the wheel and grabbing at levers dictating their altitude and speed. Ellie bolted for the deck, pulling up their port-side missile turret and firing.

One of the top hat-wearing invaders on the bow was blown from his perch to fall far, far below. The sails attached to the bowsprit crackled as the missile set it aflame.

The ship barely scraped by the Toppat Clan Skyship; its weaponized keel shone way too close to Captain Henry for comfort.

The SS Ellry whined as it pulled up and around. The gargantuan skyship was slow to turn, something it did not have on the smaller skyship’s superior speed and agility. But the people manning the deck didn’t need the ship to fully turn before they were ready to fire. Henry called “Cover!” and shoved the cyclic down. While he was down, he clipped a cord from the back of his jacket onto a clip in the rail and held on tight. Ellie dove below deck.

The much smaller skyship took an immediate nosedive. Weapons blasted above, but none hit the two-person vessel as it dove. Henry hissed a string of expletives, not the least of which concerning the stolen valuables that snuggled deep in the ship. Metal squealed as one of the hits from a canon burst through the hull. Henry knew this was a cannonball as everything else the larger skyship had was either too small to do anything but dent their ship or was an explosive.

Something shot from the fog and into the gaping wound in the side of their ship–something big and attached to a chain. Henry’s controls were useless. The ship, still stuck in a dive, strained to go down as hard as it could, moving so that it was now directly below the larger skyship and tipped onto its side with a dismal groan. “Ellie!”

Ellie crawled out onto the deck and monkey-barred her way to the missile launcher. “Catch this, assholes!” she crowed. The chain snapped as it was hit, freeing their ship to tip violently port-side down as it fell. Henry settled the ship, compensating for the extra weight in their hull, and turned to starboard. Their keel nearly touched the waves of the angry ocean and sea spray hissed over their metal flanks. Still, the massive Toppat Clan Skyship had faded from view. Henry glared at his sonar screen, which showed no evidence of their aggressors. But, as the stress of nearly dying and having their stolen loot robbed from them subsided, Henry laughed. Henry and Ellie, who currently stood on shaking legs next to him and held onto the rail for support, laughed.

As much of a danger as their encounter was, the thrill of the escape was a rush neither could ignore.