Thursday, October 7, 2010

Captain Ross

The small man guided Captain Willie across the deck and into a tiny alcove behind a hanging curtain where Captain Ross was waiting for him.

Araminta Ross was a no-nonsense woman and this fact showed in her clothing as well. Her hair was neatly confined by a mustard-yellow printed cotton scarf. Her tunic-dress buttoned up the front, its rich wine red a complement to her beautiful, brown skin. Her eyes glistened with intelligence as well as a pent-up fierceness. Indeed her tiny stature could hardly contain her enormous presence. She rose from her seat as Captain Willie entered the room (more of a cubbyhole really since even a large airship has limited space) and motioned him towards the only other fold-out chair. It was attached to the wall with hinges and folded-down into a seat when a latch was unhooked.

A crewmember carried in a tray containing dinner for two as well as pewter dishes instead of the more commonplace tin ones used on the Sandflea. He unfolded the legs of the tray so that it formed a little table and placed it between the two captains. Dinner consisted of a stew of pork, rice, black-eyed peas and celery seasoned with vinegar and hot pepper.

“I thought you might appreciate a hot meal and a chance to catch your breath.”

Captain Ross ate her dinner quickly and methodically in contrast to Captain Willie who savoured every bite of a good meal. She glanced down at her empty plate and patted her lips with a napkin.

“What was your man carrying?”
Willie shrugged. “Just timetables and such for goods drop-off, mostly saltpetre. Old Toby is a stoner dude but he’s usually able to get across the border without being caught. After reporting in to the Border Station we’re on our way down to Charleston for major maintenance and looking to add some additional crew members.”
“Watch yourself and don’t even think about flying anywhere near the border. Those Virginians will be watching and waiting for you to slip-up. A rogue air current blows you off course and next thing you know, you are far enough into Virginia that they have the excuse they need to blow you out of the sky!”
“I know what I’m doin’,” answered Captain Willie mildly.
“Oh, I am certain that you do!” chuckled Captain Ross. “I’ve heard more than a few tales about you and your crew.”
Captain Willie just smiled, albeit a bit smugly.

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