Intermission: Tales from Cliffside – The Skyrail 3

http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2012/07/23/la-vie-electrique-by-albert-robida/

Inage: Unnamed, by Albert Robida

“They see us,” Mrs. Jennings slipped her opera glasses back into her bodice. “I must be a fool, listening to that boy. Do you think we have a chance of pulling this off, captain?”

“He’s a smart lad,” Tomas grinned, licking his teeth as he stared out at massive metal ship pushing its way through the ocean. “He’ll be after my hat next, chest-hair or not. That’s far enough I think–we’re still out of range.” He reached to the side and shouted into the small tube that stuck out from the wall. “That’s enough, Beechums! Full stop and come about!”

The merchant ship edged closer as the Skyrail slowly turned, focusing its broadside cannons onto the mark.

“You didn’t answer my question, captain.”

Tomas looked at his first mate, a glint of madness in his eye. “Sending both of them in first, like this? It’s never been done before–I’d say even odds. I’m only sad I’m not dropping first. Sounds like fun!” He turned back to the small tube. “Gillingsworth! Let them fly!”

A large door in the bottom of the Skyrail snapped open, and seven small tubes dropped into the sky. three of them sputtered and fell straight into the ocean with a large splash, while the other four roared to life and sprouted brass wings and propellers that sent them gliding towards the merchant ship. Within seconds, the large Scattershot cannons–the terror of the German Kriegsmarine–began to fire, sending clusters of metal debris hurtling through the air towards the flying tubes. Two of them were torn apart and crashed into the ocean, while a third lost a wing and veered off to the left into the sky again. The last managed to break through, and crashed headlong into the front deck, bending almost in half as it scraped across the nearly impervious steel. Tomas grinned.

“That will wake them up!” He laughed, then frowned. “Where’s the boom?” He gripped the small tube and shouted into it. “Gillingsworth! Where’s the boom?!”

“Seemed a waste, what?” came Gillingsworth’s voice, tinny and small from the tube. “None of the blighters were supposed to get through, so why waste a good mess of Ethan’s Elixir of Resplendent Jubilee?”

Tomas sighed, and dropped his head. “I like the boom,” he muttered, as Mrs. Jennings condescendingly patted him on the shoulder.

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