Friday, September 04, 2009

The Race

The ship turned again, this time heading North.

"Billy! What do the gauges show?"

"All dials showing increasing pressure, Captain, but still green."

"Excellent! We may make it on time after all."

"Captain, if we're on such a strict time-table, why do we keep making all these course changes? Wouldn't a direct heading get us there quicker?

The Captain looked at the new engineer, trying to decide if the inquiry was a doubt of his leadership ability or a genuine search for an answer. Deciding on the latter, the Captain smiled. "Billy, you need to understand. The view from the captain's chair is different than any other chair on the bridge. Each station is specialized to do its part and to do it well. But from here, I need to look at all the information and make decisions based on the entire picture." He chuckled, "Or at least as much of a picture as I can get."

"But to answer your question more directly, come here and look through this telescope. Look right down there to the left, about a mile inland." The bow of the airship had angled windows to allow easier viewing to anything under it.

Looking through a spyglass, the engineer answered, "You mean that old building?"

"Look next to it."

"Is that... Is that a radar dish?"

"Yes, it is. And that radar dish is attached to a system that is programmed to automatically shoot us down if we get within range. So we take a less direct route to try to give installations like that a wide berth."

"Captain! You better take a look at this!" The cry came from the radar operator.

The Captain hurried over and looked at the radar screen. "Simmons, that looks like a watership just coming into range. Is it one of ours?"

"No, sir. I've rechecked the coordinates of all our ships, water and air, and none are near us."

The Captain looked over at the engineer. "Well, Billy, it seems that even with our indirect path we may have to face some resistance."

The radar operator shouted, "Captain! I'm showing that they've launched a missile."

"Navigator, I know this thing moves like an elephant in molasses, but try to avoid that missile!" The Captain thumbed the com. "All hands, brace for impact!"

© Matthew Bacon

Creative Commons License


dan powell said...

Neat set-up. I like the steampunky feel of this. Need to know where they are going, why and what happens with the missile. :)

ganymeder said...

Yeah, I agree. It has a very old timey WWII movie feel to it. Nicely done!

hojpoj said...

I like how there's some feeling of perhaps.. parenting(?) in this story. Explaining the whys and wherefores for parental decisions. I enjoyed it :D

Anonymous said...

As others have said, there is a different feeling to this. I think it starts because the Captain calls his new engineer by his first name; kindly yet then some condescension sets in, causing you to wonder, just what kind of ship is this? - and then you start wondering why he is still the Captain!

Welcome to #FlashFriday, hope to read more from you.

Laura Eno said...

Nice beginning. Are you going to continue it next week? Thanks for posting!

Chris Chartrand said...

Good beginning to what sounds like a fun story. It does have a steampunk feeling to it, which is a good thing. I like the captain's willingness to teach the newbie tempered by his blase reaction to the incoming missile. I hope to read more.

Jennifer said...

Interesting! I'd like to read more.

Tomara Armstrong said...

like the rest here, I am eager to know what happens with the missile. I hope you will let us know.

Alan said...

Very much an opener rather than a self contained flash. Interestingn set up.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely more to come (I hope?)...
The title set me up for a boat race, then the timetable threw me a bit, then you chuck in missiles... what happens next? come on, tell me! I need to know!

Netta said...

This feels like the beginning of a very interesting story. Would like to see where it goes. :)

J. M. Strother said...

A good opening scene. Has an interesting fantasy/steampunk sort of feel to it.