So for the first time here... Meet Thaddeus Mainspring, Elisa Geargrind, The Steam Powered First Mate Omega, and the automoton crew of Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon...
“Hard to port! I want those Aether cannons loaded and ready!”
An explosion caught the Aether-ship Wanderer on the forecastle and caused her to list before her crew was able to wrestle the sub canvas back into shape. Thaddeus cursed loudly while Omega held the helm as steady as possible. The sounds of timber cracking were less than encouraging to say the least.
“I thought you said Aetherspace was devoid of life sir!” Omega shouted just before the beast wheeled past the bridge and roared loud enough to shatter the glass encasing the levitationals.
“I said I thought it was lifeless! Nature it seems scoffs at the amateur naturalist! Gamma! Delta! Epsilon! Fire when ready!” Thaddeus fairly screamed into the brass tube intercom. Three tinny voices echoed out of the bell replying “Aye Aye sir!”
The beast in the void spread the leathery frills about its neck wide as it inhaled pure Aether. Energy cascaded off the scales on its throat and frills while sickly green light played between the massive fangs.
Before the beast could loose its blast however, three ringing cannon shots erupted from the Wanderer. The ship was physically pushed back by the blast of its own cannons, but the blue energy wreathed balls sped towards the beast. One shot went wide but the others slammed into the head and first fore-flipper of the thing. The flipper was blasted free from the titanic bulk of the beast, trailing a luminescent fluid of some sort, most likely the beast’s blood.
The shot to the head however was far more cataclysmic. The blue energy wreathing the cannonball slammed into the white and green forces playing about the beast’s head. A blending of the energy happened briefly before the head of the beast flared and suddenly exploded.
The Wanderer was caught in the energy storm released from the explosion while her sails shredded from the force of the shockwave. Thaddeus could hear the upper and lower masts crack before he saw the main mast begin to fall.
“Sir!” Omega yelled as he ran past picking up his captain and running for a lifeboat. “I don’t think the Wanderer will make it through this!” Already the ship faltered and suddenly began to rise at an alarming rate as the cracking of timbers overwhelmed any other sound.
“There goes the under-mast…” Hissed Thaddeus. “Where are Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon? Or Miss Elisa for that matter?”
The clattering from the stairs announced the rest of the crew making a break for the lifeboats as well.
“Half the bloody belly of the ship ripped free sir!” Epsilon shouted before diving into the lifeboat. Gamma and Delta followed without comment, but Thaddeus could not help but notice that Delta was seriously wounded and bleeding. Before he could ask what hit Delta, Elisa tossed several bags into the lifeboat before looking sternly at Thaddeus.
“I’ve grabbed the notes and log books professor! The discoveries we will have to leave! That damned beast ruptured the containment tanks!”
Thaddeus sighed and nodded, clambering onto the longboat, followed by Omega while Elisa cast off and engaged the drives. They quickly sped away from the wreck of the Wanderer and watched in sadness as the ship slowly began to dissolve once the shields faltered and failed.
“There, but for the grace of God go we…” Muttered Thaddeus.
“Well sir, “God” had better find us a way to recharge the limited containment chamber on the longboat here, or we will be dissolving like the main ship!” Omega tapped the smaller version of the tanks and sighed. “We have a few days at best.”
Thaddeus sighed and rubbed his temples. “Looks like we have no damn choice here… We’re going to have to find a rift and go from there.”
Elisa groaned. “We’re in uncharted Aetherspace with rifts leading to Gods knows where… Yes Professor, what could possibly go wrong this time!”
Thaddeus shook his head and glared at his assistant. “You mean beyond being attacked by some great bloody Aether-dragon, which all the scholars said was nothing but a myth I might add, and being stranded in the middle of nothing? We don’t have a choice here Miss Elisa, and you can stop grousing about it. We will find help once we get through the rift and land. It’s either that or we starve to death here in the Longboat.”
“We would dissolve first sir.” Omega remarked and then recoiled from the withering stare from both Thaddeus and Elisa.
Elisa shook her head and dug out the rift-finder. “Three leagues in that way… Let’s just hope whatever natives we find will help us.”
“Let’s just hope we find life at all Miss Elisa.”