Monday, August 24, 2015

Day Nine-Hundred-Three: Testing, Testing, One, Two, Tree

“C’mon, hit us with something.”

“I really don’t want to.”

“Doesn’t matter if you want to. I’m telling you to hit us with something.

“You have to forgive me for not wishing to potentially commit suicide.”

“Do not. Now hit us with something.

Evangelina sighed heavily. She’d been upset with the idea from the start. She wasn’t much of one for participating in experiments. All the worse that she’d been in a bad mood for almost an entire month, owing primarily to news of the death of Pagan and the eternal disappearance of her mother. Attacking an airship she was currently in did not improve that mood even the slightest bit.

“Stop bein’ a pansy,” the Sky Bitch’s captain demanded.

Gritting her teeth, Evangelina poured magical orange into her eyes. “Fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.”

Stretching invisible fingers into the air around her, Evangelina plunged a tiny piece of her thoughts into the ground some two hundred feet beneath the Sky Bitch’s hull. The tiny, primitive minds of the grass - if you could call them minds - reached out to touch Evangelina’s magical inquiry, and she grasped at their collective plant consciousness, feeding them with her bewitching energies. The grass, mustering as much surprise as any plant could muster (which is to say, very little), responded with surprising ferocity -

- and, moments later, curled upward at a sickening pace, forming into an enormous, flailing vine. The planet fed Evangelina’s magic to a degree that had always astonished her, and less than a minute after she’d cast her spell Evangelina was staring at the tip of the whip-like column of grass through the Sky Bitch’s newly-repaired viewport. It seemed to wave at her, and she quashed the impulse to wave back, because that would be rather ridiculous. No more ridiculous than her current situation, mind, but… ridiculous.

The vine lingered in place for a few tense seconds. The crew watched, most of them tensing. Then, responding to Evangelina’s tug, the vine lashed forward and struck the side of the Sky Bitch.

The airship reeled backward. Rotors groaned. Crewers, strapped into their chairs, nevertheless yelped and clung to their consoles. The viewport spun slightly, rocking back and forth as the Sky Bitch struggled to right itself. Before it could reassert its balance Evangelina ordered another strike, and another, and another, the vine lashing against the ship relentlessly. Reports began to pour in through the airship’s comm systems of damage to various parts of the hull, though none of them, as far as Evangelina could hear, were lethal to the Sky Bitch’s structural integrity.

Safely lashed into her own chair but still subject to a roiling stomach, Evangelina ceased her attacks. She wanted to puke from watching the viewport, and forced her eyes closed. “This… this is what you wanted… ugh…”

“Yep,” a calm voice responded. Libby, resplendent in her captain’s uniform, stepped up to Evangelina’s chair and braced herself on a console. She was the only crewer on the bridge not sitting, and the attacks hadn’t seemed to phase her a bit. “Give our ass a smack. I wanna see how well the rear rotors work under strain.”

Evangelina burped away her nausea. Not very ladylike, but she’d given up on manners a while ago. “To hell with that. I don’t want to knock us out of the sky. We’re liable - “

“We’re here to see if you can knock us out of the sky,” Libby reminded her, rolling her eyes. “I didn’t spend a month workin’ on this fucker’s armour and stability systems not to test it properly. We’ll stay afloat.”

“Says you,” Evangelina shot back, rubbing her belly. Her head was spinning more than she’d anticipated, from a combination of the rocking ship and her split consciousness. From her mind’s eye she could see the rocking Sky Bitch through the vantage point of the vine, and the overlap of viewpoints wasn’t agreeing with her at all.

“Yep, says me,” Libby agreed. “You said you’d come help. Hurry up ’n help.”

“I didn’t think I’d have to be in the ship when we did this,” Evangelina countered. “You could at least have let me out first.”

“Could not. We’re in enemy territory. This is also a scouting mission, don’t forget.”

“Well then maybe it shouldn’t have been a scouting mission, we should’ve done this outside Pubton - “

“What, you wanna crash into the city? Besides, we’re short on scouts - “

“Last I saw we have plenty of goblins - “

“Yeah, well, tell that to No-Legs the Wonder Boy - “

“I bet I will - “


The call of the tech from the front of the ship caught their attention. The two women pulled away from one another. There was no real heat in their argument, but Evangelina was nevertheless glad to get away from Libby. With all the hours of work put into restoring and upgrading the Sky Bitch, the captain smelled thickly of sweat.

“What? Somethin’ going wrong?” Libby tapped the deck with her foot. “We feel stable enough.”

The tech pointed through the viewport. “Enemy sighted! Uh, I think, anyway.”

The crew tensed. Libby immediately rushed to the wheel of the Sky Bitch, glaring through the viewport at the ground. They were close enough to land that it was easy to see just about everything for more than a kilometre to the west…

… and it didn’t take anyone, not even Evangelina, with her split attention, to see the lumbering black form in the distance. It was large, and it was staggering, and it was apparently coming their way.

Libby shook her head. She grabbed for the nearest comms tube. “Prep the guns! We’ve got an easy target headed our way!”

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