Thursday, June 27, 2013

Steamheat: Captain Malloy

In the world of airships, steam power and mechanical clockworks, we left Eliza stowing away on a parting airship by hiding in  an escape pod. What do you think will happen to our injured heroine?  Let's tune in to find out.  

Steamheat:  Captain Malloy
Ben Hannigan

James Malloy stood in his chambers in a simple linen shirt and leather side-laced trousers. The air was hot and humid, the brass walls dripping with the condensed water from the engine rooms below. Though he was the captain, this vessel had little room for luxury as it was dedicated to the paying customers playing at sailor. He could and did fly the vessel alone with the aid of thinking machines, allowing the “duties” of his cargo to simply be smattering of what their ancestors faced on the water crossings. Each “sailor” doing a stint swabbing deck, a stint in the galley, a stint loading and firing cannon at proddy targets conjured up by the machines, and the most onerous duty, actually the one duty with an affect on the ship, everyone did one shift shoveling coal and coke to the engine room.

Malloy was intimately connected to the ship, he could feel the engines pulsing, feel the machines ticking over. They were in flight, he had met his crew - the usual crowd of upper-class wankers who want a uniform to show off at the club. He stood relaxed, preparing for the show that he always put on halfway through the voyage. 

The ship was attacked, the crew called to arms, and the guns manned. But it’s not enough, the guns they have just aren’t enough though the crew acquit themselves well. The ship is boarded by the British navy. Those elements who betrayed the crown to support the parliament traitors. The speech was a beauty, all about glory, and love of the realm and honour and duty; the kind of third rate claptrap they ate up in the projector halls. Malloy had always been a showman, so he programmed this little stunt into every voyage.

Bellowing orders to the crew from the top deck, members of the crew on watch in the nests with marksman’s rifles and those crew walking the decks finding themselves issues shotguns by shadowy ships mates.  The ship subtly changing from an airship to a British sloop. Drawing the customers into the magic, making it real. It's why his runs were four times the price of any other, and why the company had paid for the spell, those who had experienced it could only speak of it to others who shared the same memories.

The uniforms the “flight crews” are presented with at the end of the voyage for the final inspection carrying rank based on what they had in their background. Some working class boys ending up as officers and some ruling lords being little more than deckhands; the uniforms drawn from the memories in the blood. What the persons family had been in days long past. This was the same as all other aircrew experiences. 

However, ‘Malloys Men’ were different. Their uniforms carried campaign ribbons as well as family medals. Much like the others but they always carried a new badge, one that all of the ‘Aircrew’ could see. Which made for instinctive respect and deference, much like a new unbloodied trooper would defer to one who had shed blood for his country.

This was where we would find Malloy if we were to observe; in his chamber bouncing on the balls of his feet with a sabre in hand dueling two shadowy figures.  He was an accomplished swordsman using it in honour duels. In displays, in entertainment and in order to save his life once, long ago. So he trained, each day faster and harde,r pushing himself, determined that he would not fail if attacked like that again. The sabre blurring, a pistol appearing in the other, surrounded by the dead servitor spirits he fought on until exhaustion. His bones shaking, limbs burning with the pain.  

Then the world went black. His cabin was no longer dark, murky alleyways or battlefield, no longer places from Malloy's troubled past, but instead a simple room for a sailor. A hammock strung across each windowless wall, a trunk set, a cabinet of provisions and the thinking engines, the displays, the input devices and the tape printers making a slow comforting sound that reminded him he wasn't alone, almost like the heartbeat of a lover. 

He stripped and roughly bathed himself with a soapy rag and bucket of icy water before standing under a venting steam pipe to spray him with a refreshing mist of water.  Standing there taking time to wash the last of his body, his mind returned to his swordplay.  Taking his weapon up and fighting a very different duel, focusing on the feeling, the exhilaration, and the pleasure of tasting warm skin.  The honey sweetness of a girl's kiss, the soft cream of their skin, the pink rosy nipple under his lips and trailing down the stomach tasting her, sweat mixing with her natural sweet musk.  And as he parted her legs in his mind, the blood rushing, pulsing ,sounding like a roaring tide in his ears as he tasted her scent, the rich sweet musk melding into this whirlpool of heat of desire.  The deep honeypot his to devour and explore, as he snaked his tongue deep into his woman’s entrance, hearing her screams of lust as he lost himself in exploring her every inch.  He could feel only the warmth of her on his hand, and immediately the image was gone. The warmth nothing more than the rapidly cooling emission leaking across his hand. He moaned finding himself on his knees, washed up again and lay on the hammock.

Getting some well earned rest in the quiet time of the voyage, the insistent buzzing, like the ship needed to show him something. Still an enigma to him as he wrestled with the question of what she wanted to show or tell him, he succumbed to exhaustion of mind and body and slept.

1 comment:

  1. Well done! You`re doing a great job in this steampunk tale.