The final teaser of my first 4 pt series… Please enjoy and buy the books…

And now for the final first chapter tearser of my current series in print..
The Garinthian Scourge and the Border Wars

© 2019 Jon Corres Pirate Poet

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

Cafea’s Log, In the captain’s stead 1

“ JAMES!”

“ Get out of it Cafea… Sha’l Ter, help Kildro with her … Save Scy Lors and Cynthia, Kildro can’t do it alone! GO!”

The door to the bridge shut as mister Renault guided me and my mother in a daze down to the shuttle bay, I was wounded by an explosion at my station just after Cynthia, but I had no idea to the extent. I just knew I could barely walk. Fires had erupted everywhere on the top decks it seems, but somehow the Bernoulli held together. The Savion Reaper was nowhere to be found as it went back for aid as James and Skar’l ran diversionary tactics. Aid that was never able to come in time as I would learn later.

Cynthia was on a gurney and Scy Lors had just gotten onto the evacuation shuttle. The roar of the Bernoulli’s guns rang throughout the ship. I could still hear Forraz cursing over the intercom which was now broken as Azfar and Cafar were constantly talking with James, Rayne and Vashinka.

Manually we opened the bay doors in time to see the Fire Fan open up on a pair of inbound cruisers. The Dragon Empress was still hovering by the remains of half the base we just took out with a dreadnought hot on our heels. Another brilliant manoeuvre by my now missing or dead husband, getting it to get in close over the energy centre and blowing that up instead of firing on our pursuer and sending the vessel into the rest of the complex setting off a series of devastating explosions.

Ahead were another dreadnought and a destroyer class ship, from the look of her, she was Tack – So’s new command vessel. There was no time for anyone to stand around and watch, my husband gave an order to evacuate and we had to obey it. Well, I was in no condition to argue and neither were the other 3 wives. Another pair of fleets was in orbit waiting for the other destroyer class led fleet that was returning from the outer edge of the system as 2 or 3 were wiped out after trying to enter the atmosphere at sub light speed.

That was one reason why the Empress Dragon was still in good shape, that and mister Fizbark, who came along despite all his work at the dry dock and never told us, had managed to implement his deflector style shields and for now they were holding. However, they didn’t go up fast enough to prevent the pounding she took when Arzkel decided to dive into the heart of 3 fleets just jumping from sub light into the atmosphere! The good news, and the reason the Garinthians lost a pair of fleets, was that cruisers weren’t designed to come out of sub light speeds in a planetary atmosphere, bad news was that by doing so they ignited the gasses at that altitude and caused enough damage to rain fire on the surface below. This confusion was enough for my second mother to mount her assault.

Meanwhile, Jame’s hunch that this was a secret staging area set up in a hurry by Tack – So was spot on. This and one other planet on the edge of the system were supposed to be mega bases to launch an onslaught on the Dragon Helm and the rebels nearby to finally crush us and their other problem. We found that out from records we could recover later on. Unfortunately for him, my husband had other ideas and a better offence. The Savion Reaper, originally, had broken off to hit the southern pole base first as James went north. We should have stuck together, but hindsight is rarely helpful.

The last vision I had before mister Kildro put me out with a sedative was the Fire Fan diving for the planets surface while James plunged the Bernoulli in between the massive ships! Flashes of green and red would plague me there after as billowing black smoke filled the air.

I was told by Arzkel that our escape wasn’t easy as we had to run the gauntlet of ships in orbit and then see if what Fizbark had come up with to match the Bernoulli was even going to work, let alone get us to the right place in space. Other pirate clans reported that the atmosphere of Calieb 7, the planet we assaulted, looked more like a major weather event on a gas giant than a habitable world! There were a couple of sightings of a golden flash, a bit like the one I witnessed almost 2 years ago when the Bernoulli did a small hyper space jump to get us away from our moons south pole and to the smugglers cavern prior to our current mountain base, the Dragon’s Nest. No one could confirm or deny that this happened, they could just say that explosions rocked the planet for days and fires could be seen from orbit for about a month or so.

Word came from the Tedarian Free Traders Union that one of their ships was in hiding in an asteroid field nearby when a fleet with a destroyer class, 4 dreadnoughts and a dozen cruisers engaged a pair of burning pirate hulks to no avail. They didn’t say how long the fight lasted or what happened next as they were too busy praying to Magda to pay attention.

Despite orders from Kildro, Cynthia, Scy Lors and myself took Sha’l Ter and Arzkel to the Fah – Hid system and Calieb 7 to see what, if anything, could give us clues to our husbands fate. We offered to take the Arch Nit matons of Azfar and miss Havershime with us, but they declined politely and asked for solitude during this difficult moment.

When we got to the planet, most of the atmosphere was gone. The lands were barren wastes for the most part strewn with rubble and debris from the fighting. Tack – So’s apparent command vessel had been cleaved in two and looked like a pair of tombstones in the earth. We found what was a piece of the Bernoulli on the furthest side of a destroyed base. Much to our horror it seemed to be from the bridge, from the outside.

At least I hoped that was where it was from. An outer door from the lower decks had Azfar’s bandanna stuck to it. I just recall falling to my knees and weeping uncontrollably with Scy Lors as Cynthia was held up by Sha’l Ter. A ways further, remains of cannon from the Fire Fan lay on the bottom of what was a fresh water lake. Again, more Garinthian wreckage than pirate.

If our husband had died, either here or in space, he certainly took more than his kilo of flesh. Then again, Skar’l also had his wicked way with the white devils. We decided to forgo a trip to the asteroid field and went back to the moon, James never got the hang of its name, Coloracus. Garinthian comm traffic was next to non existent, but reports on their end said that Tack – So survived by running away like a coward and lost both destroyers, 5 total dreadnoughts and 7 fleets out of the 12 in the area assigned for patrol and security. The outside bases were abandoned and self destructed so we couldn’t get anything out of it other than the pre-recorded command to evacuate.

One battle to give our clan and family relief, a price too dear to even think, let alone dream about was paid. My husband, first and foremost, his engineer Forraz, Azfar, Cafar, captain Soong and lieutenant Vashinka, captain Skar’l plus around 100 pirates. I couldn’t face our daughters and son Archie and neither could Cynthia or Scy Lors. Cron and Bree collapsed on the news of their recent pators apparent demise. Tem, Sab, Scy and Felia just hugged the now toddlers when they could and never spoke, just cried silently.

To this day, Carinthia still waits at the door for James. She recently gave birth to a litter of 5 cubs, 2 boys and 3 girls. Still, even though I should be happy, I just can’t. Arzkel and Sha’l Ter have tried to keep us going, our spirits lifted, but without any real success.

Captain Ackban and the rest of the Dragon Helm paid their respects. I can’t recall anything any of them said, aside from Ackban’s words of encouragement. Arzkel was now in charge of the Dragon’s Nest and I had full command of the Camden’s Folly. Cynthia has been distant, staying with Archie and reading to him and not leaving his side.

Our daughters still sit on the outer flat’s balcony, as if they think their father is coming home any time. It’s hard to try and dissuade them. I find myself, when on patrol, turning to Scy Lors and almost calling her Azfar, Cafar or asking where James is. Any time I’ve had to speak with Fizbark, I’ve caught myself calling him mister Forraz.

At the dry dock, I’ve found Alice Lucio sitting with her plant pet looking out at the mountains with a tear in her eye as Haimish is unreadable. The brood James fathered before we went on the ill fated expedition has hatched and Scy Lors and the other Arch Nits seemed preoccupied with them. Unlike my brood or Cynthia’s Archie, they need special attention for at least 6 months.

One day, I decided to go to the asteroid belt near Fah – Hid. It gave mister McTavit an opportunity to try out the hyper space capability of the Camden’s Folly, which was as much an excuse as any to get out. When we arrived in the area the traders described, we found wreckage of quite a few vessels. On one of the nearer asteroids we found part of the Fire Fan. It would seem it exploded somehow or was blown in half by cannon fire. There were two frozen bodies of crewmen, but none of the command staff. The radio was permanently fixed to the frequency of the Bernoulli. It was burnt out by the explosion and fused pretty solidly. We were about to head back to the ship when Scy Lors picked up a hand held wireless radio we’d use in emergencies.

It was still active, just not strong enough to do more than issue static at us. We brought it back none the less, a souvenir of a great battle and perhaps hope if we could get it to work. Mister McTavit retrieved the scanner logs, as bad off as they were and set about decoding them. I never mentioned any of this in my report to Arzkel. Why get anyone’s hopes up?

I had limited knowledge of comm devices, but applied myself on the trip back. For a moment, I could swear I heard mister Forraz discussing rations or something, though it seemed distant and I may have been reaching. I knew James would never have given up on us, so I’d not give up on him.

Time seemed to fly and slowly we got back to almost our normal selves. Archie was starting to speak again, we found him a translator crystal in McTavit’s storage shed. The girls, well, they were starting to mirror their mothers in a variety of ways. Unless things changed though, we’d be having a chat about their father sooner than later and it wouldn’t be a very well received one. Their Arch Nit brothers and sisters were coming along, a bit slower than Tedarian or Earth children, but still coming along. Like Archie, the boys seemed to take after James, even down to hair colour and facial expressions.

One day, Sha’l Ter came in with Arzkel and they both looked at us like we were hatchlings.

“ All right, so nothing is all right and we’re no closer to finding James alive or dead. I know, I know, he wouldn’t give up on finding us and making sure we were all alive and in one piece. However, facts are staring us in the face. I loved him as much as you three, so did Arzkel. And yes it does hurt to think of him going out like that without us at his side. He was stubborn, obstinate and a real pain in the arse when it came to thinking of us over his own safety. His sacrifice shouldn’t be remembered that way! Mister McTavit told me a little while back about Jame’s knack for pulling victory from the jaws of defeat…”

She paused with a tear in her eye.

“ Well, his last apparent act was to do just that! What he didn’t manage was to kill the man that made it necessary for him to make such a sacrifice. Tack – So is still out there! We should be concentrating on finding that yellow sadistic Garinthian and putting his head on a silver platter! Feeling sorry for ourselves and dreading what we need to tell Archie, the girls from Cafea’s brood and the 20 daughters and sons to be named from Scy Lors won’t make things easier. I don’t want James to be dead, nor the others! But we can’t wallow in self pity any longer either.”

Carinthia looked in on us with sad pleading eyes. Her cubs came up and nuzzled her, mewing for attention. Scy and Lors, Arkette, little Cafea, Archie and Arzkel Cron came trooping in soon after as Carinthia tried to corral them all. I sat down heavily as Sha’l Tsai climbed up on my lap to hug me.

“ Son, daughters, we need to talk…”

Cynthia started to say but just couldn’t continue. Arzkel gently picked up Archie and fed him along with his sisters before herding them into the living room and sitting them down for what was the longest 15 minutes of our lives. Two of the girls ran from the room crying followed by two of our nannies, another three just hugged each other and Archie cried on Arzkel’s shoulder while the rest of us tended to the remaining. We found the two who ran out with Scy and Tem, it was Sha’l Tsai and Arzkel Cron.

All at once the day came back to me and I silently vowed to find the truth of James demise or escape. We still had the radio and the scanner logs. Fizbark said he could have a report ready for us in about 3 weeks as that was the best he could do. McTavit said the radio could be boosted in about two days. He also mentioned that hyper space travel could have been Jame’s salvation. It could also mean he’s lost out there with limited resources and considering the amount of time that’s gone by…

Anyway, he said he’d give it his top priority. Daskin of the Dragon’s Sail said that two of the lesser clans had formed a pact and were going to try and challenge the Dragon Helm clan for control of the area since the Garinthian hold here had been weakened as it did. News also arrived that the Dragon Roar and Dragon’s Eye would be ready and joining us as part of the fleet stationed here. Ackban mentioned, by Arzkel’s recommendation, that Cynthia be the new captain of the Dragon Roar.

I did a little digging and found that Tark may be financing the new clan and possibly the Garinthians may be backing him on the bid to be its commanding captain or at least its controlling interest. H’tha, my little sister from Arzkel’s side of my mothers, had been transferred to the Dragon’s Nest by Ackban as part of a new raiding party. Her ship, the Little Wing, was packing 2 stealth skiffs plus an arsenal of personal flight packs that were like mister McTavit’s except they worked, were lighter and had a more reliable power cell to draw on.

These were highly adapted to space use and had a camouflage feature. My first thought on those was, if we found James and he was held captive somewhere we could use them to liberate him and the others if they still lived. The good news was, even if they had jumped into hyper space and escaped, the area they could go to was limited to 4 sectors, but plausible. The bad news was 2 of the sectors were controlled by either the Garinthians or a rival clan called the Soul Reapers. The other two were either uncharted or considered neutral territory.

The Golden Dragon and Black Dragon Reaper were now officially ready for duty and action. Their first assignment was a patrol of the immediate area on our western orbital vector that faced the Fah – Hid system. Mister Fizbark was to go along with mister Sali on the Golden Dragon as mister McTavit was to be assigned to look after the Black Dragon Reaper.

Arzkel was to hold the fortifications down as Sha’l Ter was to go on the opposite side planetary orbit and I would take the closer planet, Cerios, and maybe head to the northern orbit that definitely led to a Garinthian stronghold territory also known as the regional senate headquarters with the system representatives of a dozen Garinthian aligned worlds housed in one spot.

It was a tempting target, considering my ire at the moment. However, I had orders and, as James would say, a family to keep an eye on. Speaking of them, Scy Lors had escorted them to the train below and placed them in the care of Felia and Bree Tom’s primary school and day care.

I hated to do that, so did Cynthia and Scy Lors. However, it was either that and keep them socially active with the Arch Nit children or leave them with their younger Arch Nit siblings and have to oversee chaos incarnate!

I’m not sure what the rest of the year holds, the Garinthians seem to be regrouping and stories of the Amanor are reaching Arzkel’s ears from all around the pirate community. Cynthia and I are almost ready to call our searches off. Scy Lors still holds hope with the grand matons, or is it wishful thinking? 6 months since that fateful day, clues have been sketchy and our children disheartened and disillusioned.

I’ll finish this entry with a note from mister Fizbark.
“ I think that I may have found the source of the noise this radio is picking up on and it’s definitely on the other side of the Soul Reapers territory. I’ll need to requisition a ship to go and get a better fix. Rumours have come to Sha’l Ter’s ears about running battles near there… will know more when I get close enough to triangulate.”

More Follies teasers! For the people who like to read them

And so, as promised here we go with the 3rd installment of the first series! Please enjoy and remember to buy the books!

Dynasties, Prams and New Orders

© 2019 Jon Corres Pirate Poet

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

Chpt: 1 Arz – Khan’s fall and hints for future

The Savion Reaper danced between two cruisers as the Empress Dragon took fire from the support group of fighters and cruisers on the port side. The shuttle that Azfar and mister Cafar was using as part of the initial assault was floating behind the Camden’s Folly as crews worked to put out fires. Cynthia was a blur of motion and the wireless radio was overwhelmed. I had decided not to use the Bernoulli in the initial engagement and put McTavit in charge of getting her ready as we drew off the command vessel and the dreadnoughts. The Final Fire had led 2 of the dreadnoughts to the dark side of the moon on a diversion, but ran afoul of the 4th fleet who were hiding there. Captain Kuul however, was just as clever as I thought and was currently fighting from a position of stealth while keeping them at a distance.

As for us, we blasted through the first fleet before the support carriers and cruisers came from the nearby planet, at the moment I can’t recall the name, but they weren’t expecting a small fleet to come and meet their gauntlet. I spent my time between the bridge and the rifle stations on the shuttle with Scy Lors, when we were connected by a boarding tube. She’s currently in the hospital wing with mister Kildro, wounded with burns from a glancing shot that set off a pair of weapons mounted near her as we tried to dodge enemy fire.

I told that Admiral that he picked the wrong pirate captain to threaten, all the while the stealth skiff made for the command vessel to rescue the War Dragon Fire crew and maybe use the ship to fight from the inside, that was 4 hours ago and misters Sali, Forraz and Renault weren’t exactly the first people I’d form a rescue squad with. I jumped over to the firing station as Cynthia looked as if she was going to collapse. Cafea’s voice was on wireless screaming our names to see if we were alive. I forgot to mention she was with McTavit awaiting my orders to launch. I got off a pair of volleys at a closing pair of cruisers and hit the massive command ship on her aft.

“ … talk to me!!”

I pressed the button as fast as I could.

Now would be a good time you two! Unless you need a formal invitation, I did think you had more sense than this… I’m taking our wife to mister Kildro now while we have a moment between volleys… if you would be so kind… so I could save Arzkel and the others…”

BOOM!

The radio went dead as a tremendous burst of energy exploded near us finishing the floundering cruiser.

“ Mister Fizbark! Emergency power to the engines! That super gun has our attention…”

“ You bet your sweet arse captain… hold on to your breakfast!”

We lurched forward with great force, thankfully the chairs were part of the bridge and Cynthia was belted down… not me however as I slammed into the bulkhead. With stars in my eyes, I got my human wife out of the chair just in time as we were spun by the force of a secondary blast that pushed us further away from the battle and closer to the moons gravity!

I cursed and was going spare when Scy Lors popped the door open and grabbed Cynthia.

“ No worries, pator mine… blow those fiends to the punishment planes! Mister Kildro? Stay with me…”

My fellow physician stumbled in looking bruised and grim. He nodded to me and helped Scy Lors half drag and carry Cynthia out as she popped into and out of consciousness. The radio came alive on the imperial frequency.

“ This is Arz – Khan to captain Camden. Well played sir, very well played, though this cat and mouse game seems a bit beneath you, does it not? Yes, you did surprise us with your small fleet, but is it not better we settle this, you and I? Your vessel looks in bad shape, but as we both know, looks can be deceiving. I’m coming around and when we’re even keel I intend to end this once and for all by vaporising you like the pesky insect you are! What say you captain?”

“ Arz – Khan, you talk too much! You’re right, I’m much better off than I look, however it’s you that’s going to be vaporised, not me. I’ve yet to use these cannon in concert… for you however, I’ll make an exception.. prepare for what we call Verilda’s Wrath…”

I never finished my sentence as there was a great explosion from the mid section of the command ship, around the bottom. The War Dragon Fire flew out with cannon roaring, making for the Empress Dragon and Savion Reaper, she was smoking, then again so were the other vessels, but she was going down fighting.

“ Damn you Camden, DIE!”

I saw the ship pirouette and come full speed at me as I grabbed the wheel and spun to give her a full broadside.

“ Mister Fizbark, with extreme prejudice if you would… FIRE ON THOSE IMPERIAL SCUM!”

It felt as if this were my last act. I knew that there was a shuttle on board for emergencies and that both Fizbark and Kildro knew when to cut and run, but I was going to stay till the bitter end and send those Garinthians to hell…

Just as I was waiting for the counter attack, something appeared on the outside of our port side and flew past at blinding speed till it was between us and the command ship. For a moment, nothing happened as the great imperial ship came to a halt and started to pivot. However, before it could finish, the Bernoulli opened up with 5 successive volleys that looked like great green waves! The explosions that resulted tore the great vessel in half and then obliterated the remains. I fought to stay conscious as the fighting with the other two fleets came to an abrupt halt. The Bernoulli had come to the rescue and was now heading in to clean up. The remaining ships of the Garinthian fleets tried to turn and run, but met renewed volleys from the two weakened pirate ships and a wave of death from the Bernoulli.

The Savion Reaper raced off to the dark side of the moon to assist the Final Fire. I collapsed as the Bernoulli came along side and set up the boarding tube. I could feel where I had broken my ribs again, thankfully it was a clean break. My breath was ragged, but steady, as I made my way down to the lower decks. There was a great deal of damage, superficial in most cases, particularly on our aft section near the engine room. I was half way down the stairs when McTavit met me with a look as white as a sheet.

“ Damn it man, quit being noble for a moment… Cafea! I found him, I think he was heading for the hospital wing…”

“ JAMES! Where’s Cynthia, the baby is it…”

I passed out as mister Kildro stumbled up to us and had a hand on Cafea’s shoulder. When I came to, I was in our medical ward, er, hospital wing, mind isn’t working well… I was in a sick bed.

Cafea was was with Cynthia, who was looking quite well, but a little bruised. Both women looked relieved and were cuddling or hugging. I cleared my throat.

“ Would it be too much to ask for a status report … someone? Anyone…”

I started to rise, but someone grabbed my shoulder, which got me wincing, and gently pushed me back. I turned carefully to see it was captain Arzkel. Scy Lors had rushed over as well and given me a needle in my arm that made the pain go away.

“ It’s all right James, honestly! We saw you blast the command ship, I think I recall the name I read on her was Verilda’s Sword. The other fleets were trying to regroup when you charged at their flag ship. Cafea was right, you fought like demon! The other dreadnought was behind the command ship and never got a chance to get a shot off. Pretty impressive cannon, the Bernoulli has there. Bit risky holding her back, but you proved you didn’t need it and damn near single handedly sent them packing. Ackban is all right, if you’re curious, bit singed, but there you are. He lost a couple of crewmen, then again so did we all, gunners and repair crews. Mai – Soong managed to save Liam’s bacon from the fire, but only just. The Final Fire may be a lost cause…”

She let that hang in the air.

“ Captain Kuul can have the Camden’s Folly if he’d like or another vessel if we find one. Didn’t he use the sub space power generators?”

She shook her head.

“ Of course, but there was no McTavit or Fizbark to help him. I think the one he had is salvageable, so no important loss there… Now don’t go trying to get me distracted me hearty! I came over to let you know you’re on the shelf for a while. Mister Kildro thinks that a couple of weeks and a month of Sunday’s would be the order, but he believes you won’t hold to that. I know you’re tougher than a Nezore in mating season, no question, but I can assure you that the Garinthian empire won’t be sending anything at us for a while… especially knowing what the cost of tangling with you is!”

She paused as Cafea and Cynthia came over.

“ Now is the time for you to be at ease, heal up and be a house father of sorts for a bit. No arguments captain! I’m moving in as of today and all 4, er, 5 if you count that pet Liondarg of yours, of us are going to make certain you get better and no action .. unless you count husbandly and fatherly duties, yes?”

I got a semi stern look from all four females.

“ Aye captain and mother in law mine! Understood! Would it be possible then for something to eat? I presume that’s one of the orders I’m under and wouldn’t mind having a nice dinner with you four, that is if mister Kildro won’t mind us eating here? He can join us if he’d like.”

Mister Kildro blushed and laughed.

“ I believe captain, that that’s one adventure and bit of rule breaking I won’t mind at all! In fact, I’ll find the cook and personally get things started… you do keep that Scot whiskey you like in your cabin, yes?”

I nodded laughing, but then felt a poke in my ribs as Cafea got my attention.
“ You heard the matron mister Camden! Next time, I order!”

She kissed me and put her head on my chest as the other 3 decided that was a good way to pin me down so they leapt up and joined her. Needless to say I got an extra week in bed for that, not that I minded as I saw Scy Lors grinning up at me from beneath my chin. Dinner was exceptional and mister Kildro showed me that Cynthia’s baby was right as rain, though how is beyond me unless those mini robots can keep ones equilibrium in check.

When we returned and got settled in I was allowed to stroll around the base for a few minutes at a time. I went down to the dry dock the next morning as the others were busy getting Arzkel’s things into a spare room in our flat, er, the living room was converted as the conservatory wasn’t big enough. As predicted, the Final Fire was a total wreck, though her frame was still good as was most of the outer hull. There was no bay door, however, as well as the front of the ship looked like the exterior parts were melted off as was the prow and everything up to the bridge.

Mister Fizbark told me that something called the emergency atmospheric shields came on and saved most of the crew before they wound up at the mercy of space. Captain Kuul said he took most of the damage when he had to steer right in between the two dreadnoughts while leading the pursuing fleets into a cross fire with their own people. Mai – Soong recounted that he thought the Final Fire was dead and abandoned when he arrived. He managed to get some shots off, but most of the damage was done when the cruisers had exploded and or when they accidentally shot their own command ships. I believe he said it was a gambit worthy of me! Except I wouldn’t have had that much damage taken and more than likely the 2 dreadnoughts would have been scrap metal. Liam punched Mai – Soong in the arm for that remark. Then he stated, unequivocally, that at least he was of nerve enough, had a sturdy enough ship, aside from me, and equipped enough to even dream of trying such an outrageous stunt as that.

That got captain Kuul a smack on the head from lieutenant Hafcar.

Had a vessel in your case is the operative statement! Seems to me at least he can save his ship. Also, if you’ve not noticed by now, captain Camden tends to to walk away with his vessel less scathed than you by a long shot!”

There was an awkward pause as captain Kuul looked like he was going to say something scathing in retort, but he erupted in laughter instead as the rest of us joined him.

“ Looks like we may have to have a contest of scars there mate! Ah well, I guess thanks are in order captain Mai – Soong, so I’ll buy the rounds for the evening unless captain fearless over here has a stash of spirits he’d like to share?”

I just rolled my eyes as the laughter started again.

“ Why yes captain Kuul, as a matter of reference I do! I always keep some on me for just such emergencies as saving a friend from a fate worse than the Garinthian’s, cheers lady and gents!”

I reached inside my dressing gown and pulled two bottles of wine that I got from Cafea and snuck out of the flat that we could all take part in! Never hurts to think ahead, I always say.

When I got back to the flat I was amazed to see that Arzkel had her things at least in place, if not arranged to her tastes. I manoeuvred around the throng of ladies decorating and arranging and sat down in the kitchen just in time to see a very large Carinthia on the landing outside look up and give me a greeting. I walked over to the oversized kitten and scratched her behind the ears and let her lick my face. I never was so glad to have a companion, particularly one who didn’t nag or complain, sitting with me on a lovely afternoon.

My thoughts, as she curled up at my feet into a giant puff ball, went to the Arch Nits and their dealings underground. I day dreamt of travelling on the rail line, playing with the children of the broods. Then it hit me again. I was going to be a parent sooner than later! True, I had some preparation and training, but that didn’t lessen the jitters I was having. As usual, I got lost in my thoughts and distracted just enough for one of the women to sneak up on me. I only jumped slightly, or I should say turn around quickly as Scy Lors looked in on me.

“ So, my pator, feeling okay? I see our guardian for you is on the job.”

Carinthia stirred just enough to give a low “mrowr” before rolling half way and shutting her eyes again.

“ Indeed she is, I can actually go for around ten minutes before I have to sit. If you have a moment, perhaps…”

“ No need to ask! I’d love to join you my one.”

She kissed me warmly and sat near me while putting her arm through mine.

“ You sure you wouldn’t want to try for a larger place? You lot have been really busy and despite the room we’re supposed to have its starting to feel a little cramped to move around.”

I proposed as she looked thoughtfully as the sun set behind some clouds.

“ We could go to the third platform. It was supposed to be a visitation rest stop… I think Cynthia called it a hotel?”

I nodded.

“ Correct. Pretty posh too if I recall… Then there’s the botanical garden with spare room, not to mention the train itself… Also, there is the Bernoulli with a sub space room, size of a mansion to be honest. We could, with some assistance from McTavit, move it here even.”

Another voice came from behind us inquiring.

“ Move what James?”

Cafea sat next to us giving me a squeeze and Scy Lors a kiss.

“ I was mentioning the sub space apartment on the Bernoulli, the one you, myself and Cynthia stayed in a bit briefly before we arrived here…”

Cynthia and Arzkel came out looking curiously at me.

“ What was that about the place we were in before here James?”

Cafea answered before I could.

“ He was discussing moving the sub space home we had on the Bernoulli here with help from mister McTavit. Come to think about it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea… It had 2 floors, expandable into 3, 3 bathrooms, a pool, technically a 4th bath, and plenty of room so Carinthia could move in too. We could still use the flat as a kind of business area or meeting place.”

Arzkel raised her eyebrows.

“ A sub space living quarters?! I’ve got to see that! It’d be a boon to the clan I can tell you… and us.”

I gave a thoughtful scratch of my chin.

“ Okay, I’ll check with McTavit then. Until that happy moment or not I’ll just learn to move around with care near the old living room so I won’t rouse you…”

She laughed.

“ Rouse me? I’m a deep sleeper James as Cafea can attest. Not to mention, who says I wouldn’t want to be roused by you?”

I got a strange look from Scy Lors as the other two just shared in the joke. Me, I just hugged my Arch Nit maton and prayed that my mother – in – law wasn’t serious about applying to be a wife of mine.

More Camden’s Follies! To whet your appetite…

Here we go… the first chapter of the Second Book of Camden’s Follies! Please enjoy.. ~ * bow * ~ Yeah, this is me throwing people right into the action sans preamble.

Part 2

War comes from the Stars

© 2018 Jon Corres Pirate Poet

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

The Garinthian empire rises to battle

The present…

“ Cut to port on my mark. Damn it man hold together!”

I yelled over the howling winds of the now open cockpit to Cynthia and a slightly ill McTavit. The shock-wave rocked the small craft and sent it plummeting towards the valley floor as a second energy wave started up behind it. The cruisers took off the tops of both mountains as the shuttle sped, almost helplessly, on what appeared a collision course for the canyon wall. Rock and debris flew in odd chunks in the air and through the sky. The wireless crackled in the background in a guttural language as Cynthia fought with the controls. I fought the flames on the interior of the passenger cabin as McTavit steadied himself with aid from mister Cafar as all struggled to maintain their balance. My thoughts were to Cafea and the other vessel. Four Garinthian cruisers in low orbit watching the same activity, two for each shuttle.

“ Now! Hard to port!”

We used the downward momentum and avoided being smashed to bits on the rock wall. I fiddled with the communications set for a moment.

“ … pinned down… need assistance.. James? Can you read me?”

“ Aye Cafea, I can and am on my way. Germain and company may be doing a permanent clean round at this rate… Be there shortly, hang on the the three of you….”

We sped off back in the direction of the fireballs that were warships a short while ago. Some simple raid this turned out to be!

Three Days prior…

“ All right you scabrous dogs, look lively!”

Captain Ackban cried with captain Germain standing just behind and to his right. Dr. Cuthbert looked a bit taken aback while he was holding onto Cafea’s recovering Liondarg cub. The rest of us ignored him and miss Longgrave who was assisting him with mister Canery.

“ Not you three!”

The old pirate yelled at part of our science staff.

“ Take the cub back to the pen or to the ward, we’ve got business to attend to… The rest of you lot, attention!”

I distinctly heard confused mewing from the cub as the three expediently made their way back over to the lifts, miss Longgrave struggling with the majority of the Liondarg burden. Mister Canery was nursing his arm and watching the cub warily as doctor Cuthbert made sure to stay far opposite the creature.

“ Mister Camden, I’ve need of you and your raiding parties. We’ve been eaves dropping on the Garinthians and it looks like we can do a bit of skulduggery on ’em soon. The dreadnought is busy on the other side of the planet doing some sort of survey of the area looking for us. That leaves only three cruisers and a nearly finished base. We’ve kept quiet long enough men! Misters Cafea, Azfar, Cafar, McTavit, Fizbark, Belle – Anderson front and centre! You and mister Camden will be using the two shuttles for the dual purpose of destroying their energy supply and raiding for supplies. There should be no problems, mild resistance and so far no orbital support, emphasis on “should be”. What we need from them are engine and weapons parts on the main, maybe food packets if ye can wrangle them.”

He began to pace.

“ If there be signs of that monstrosity coming back for support, with or without the plunder, you will leave in all haste.” He hesitated then added, “ Captain Germain and I have decided that that would be best course of action. We’re thin on the crew side and can’t afford to lose our best… that’s all for now, get back to your stations.”

Very brief, non informative and to the point. Then again, since the good captain Ackban has asserted himself as the more dominant captain most meetings have been roughly this way. We knew what it was he was trying to get across to us, however, it just seemed as if he preferred to be in the thick of things with the rest of us as opposed to waiting in the wings. We, meaning Cafea, Cynthia and I, all felt this might not change for a good long while. At least nothing new seemed to be coming on that horizon for certain.

So, to summarise, he wants us to hit the base, steal some items we’re running low on and then get the hell out. Brilliant, in an overly simplistic fashion that fails to take caution into account. Later that day I went with Cynthia on one of the shuttles to do a reccie of the area. I was quite impressed by the scope they had, those Garinthians.

An entire valley was now a vast sea of mechanisms. Plants, manufacturing areas, mobile mechanised heavy weapons like cannon and such were being produced or repaired on a grand scale.

There had to be thousands of troops here, if not around a million. I could see where they were placing their fuelling or refuelling sites. There were even mines by some of the nearby mountains we could see from our vantage point above it all.

I had the impression this was more of a city in the making, sans market areas. This admiral Tack – So was going beyond all out for us. I also counted three massive hangers or dry docks, especially the one in the centre of the centrally located complex. That had to be the one for the dreadnought. The other two looked large enough to for a dozen cruisers laid out end to end. I finally saw what appeared to be a launch area that I didn’t see back on the planet. It resembled one of the super cannon the German lot were working on before I left on this crazy adventure.

The only difference was, this was far larger and you could fit an alien cruiser into it. Well, that explained the bullet shape to the outer hull any way. Our stealth mode kept us off their radar ( as mister Azfar would say) for the most part. There were moments when I swore a few of the troops looked straight at us, or possibly they were looking through us?

We returned post haste back to the base and reported on what we saw as we had no cameras to record anything and mister McTavit insisted on not putting anything else on the shuttles other than the wireless despite a very good argument by Fizbark to the contrary. Personally, I just thought it was because mister brilliant hadn’t thought of it first and Fizbark did, but that’s just me, Cafar and Cafea’s thinking… so far. Speaking of one of my wives, Cafea seemed to think that our reconnaissance went too easily and we should exercise a great deal of caution. Tack – So, as she would say to us, was a crafty old fellow and his sub commanders and subordinates weren’t far behind. She did also theorise how this could be just the Garinthians way of establishing a new fortified position as part of their support group initiative. Apparently, they were keen to never be caught short handed or out gunned if they could help it in any way. I called the two teams together the day before and had a final chat.

“ … so you see, we can’t do this the same way as before. I’m certain that our opposition may be counting on us to try, thus the overkill of soldiers in one area along with the accommodations for so many small ships. I also don’t like the ease of the spy mission and I tend to think if I were them I’d have some sort of artillery or big ship support. My thinking is if they were to have anything, it would be in radio range and if it were a ship or two it would be on our alternate side. Anyway, we should keep our eyes open and ready for any thing at any time! Anyone have anything to add?”

Azfar looked at Cafar while Fizbark seemed to be studying me for a moment. McTavit also seemed riveted to both me and Azfar as he kept looking between us for some odd reason.

Azfar seemed to take a thinkers smirk before talking.

“ So you think Tack – So is winding us up and trying to lure both the Bernoulli and the War Dragon Fire out?”
I nodded yes.

“ Thought so. He could be testing his underlings out on us and just hoping we’re weak enough afterwards to pick up the clean kill without a great deal of effort.”

“ Full camouflage is what we’ll be using till the last second no matter what. We can use the mountains as part of the escape route in case I’m right about the support they may have waiting in the wings. I hate being outflanked…”

I got a hug and kiss of reassurance from Cynthia at that point.

“ Anything else folks? If not, meeting over and see you in the morning… oh, and good hunting to us all! I want everyone going out to come back in one piece, yes?”
“ Aye, aye captain!”

Fizbark, Cafar and Azfar said together. McTavit just saluted before leaving with the guys.

I awoke the next morning, not exactly in anything shy of subdued spirits, and with a little assistance got dressed and headed down to the dry dock and the Bernoulli hangar bay. Everyone else was there, including, surprisingly, captains Ackban and Germain.

“ Captain Ackban, captain Germain.”

I saluted and had a polite, but curt return.

“ What are your plans mister Camden?”

Germain asked first before Ackban could speak. The alien captain looked at Germain long ways briefly before turning his attention to me.

“ Basically, we go in camouflage mode. Mister Fizbark, myself, mister McTavit, misters Azfar and Cafar will be part of the raiding teams to get the requested supplies and possibly plant explosives and other traps along the way to cause confusion and mayhem to set back their progress and buy us extra escape time.”

I paused ever so briefly to take a breath and continued before anyone could interrupt.

“ My alternate goal is to make them believe that the shuttles are the only ships available to us or we’re acting independently of the Bernoulli and War Dragon Fire. In case of an emergency we’ll lead them through the mountains to the north of this position and use the cruisers bulk and lack of atmospheric manoeuvrability to our advantage. Despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, last count there were 3 fleets and from what I could view there was room for all of them in that area. I know scans haven’t picked up anything, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, act is if everything in their arsenal was there at their disposal. In other words I’m treating this as if they know we’re coming and are fully prepared for any assault.”

Both men nodded in approval or at least understanding. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Cafea nodding in the affirmative and looking both captains in the eye. An awkward pause followed until Ackban spoke, his voice sounded a tad distant and his face was hard to read.

“ Very well then, off you go and good luck, Magda protect you all.”

He and captain Germain walked off silently and looking straight ahead. That was not a good sign for this mission…

When we were airborne I radioed Cafea and let her know to have mister Azfar scan above in the upper atmosphere and keep an eye out for in coming cruisers or the dreadnought. Cafar would be on the look out for anything from ground level coming at us.

The best laid plans…

As soon as we made the airspace of the Garinthians, alarms started going off all over. Nothing showed up on scans immediately, but I saw movement below near the hangars. Not one, but two cruisers launched and barely missed us as they ascended very fast from the hangars, had they been launched from the cannon like device I had a feeling we’d have been either dead or close to it! I noted we were in line with the device and staring down its muzzle after the two ships just missed us.

Cafar and I, along with mister McTavit looked over the readings and the plans of the other bases we destroyed before for similarities. It was roughly the same, just larger and with a couple of new wrinkles. One of which was the launching area for sending vessels into space, the command centre and the energy plants.

Fizbark mentioned that the energy producing plants utilised geothermal energy or heat rising from beneath the moons upper crust. They used this to make electricity to run the plasma gas producing machines. If we were to succeed, we’d have to blow up at least one of those.

I coordinated with Cafea via our old wireless radios and decided to hit the hangar we could get spare parts from and the armoury at the same time. Something about the lingering lack of activity was really starting to bother me and I didn’t know why. I chose the armoury as our target and had Cafea take the hangar.

We entered our destination via a roof level entrance. McTavit, using a device that suspiciously looked like mister Fizbark’s handiwork “hacked”, not sure why it was called that as the machinery was left intact, the computer coded lock and we swiftly made our way down. It wasn’t until we were on the level of where the weapons were kept that we ran into soldiers. Oddly enough there were only roughly 50 of them in the area and one subordinate officer.

Now I was getting paranoid. This place should have at least a full legion of troops and this was it? We went with stealth as the troops went about their security rounds. When we opened the armoury doors is when we finally figured out why so few troops. A pair of giant sized robots stood on either side scanning with a light beam over the arms lockers and walking about with heavy steps along the perimeter. I motioned for my two compatriots to follow me to an area just out of their sight.

“ All right, now what? We need explosives and such and we have two dirty great robots between us and an easy haul! Someone tell me something we can do to alleviate this dilemma and quickly!

McTavit rubbed his beard and raised his eyebrows.

“ Your radio lad, the one from the Bernoulli, let me have it so I can attach it to my scanner.. no time to explain… just hand it over lad…”

I did so and dawning recognition came over Cafar’s face.

“ That ought to work, if the frequency is the same as the one our spider robot uses…”

I was about to ask what, when, with one final twist of the knob that controlled tuning, I heard the two metal behemoths stop cold!

“ Yes! Success…thanks lad! That should buy us an hour before they start up again… now let’s get cracking before we have to fight them off shall we?”

“ Shouldn’t we tell Cafea and the others? They could be up against it right now!”

McTavit’s eyes nearly popped out!

“ Blast it all! Radio. Now. You two get the items we need…”

I didn’t stop to ask I just followed Cafar out to the nearest locker and watched as he picked it in seconds. I held the bag open we brought with us and he emptied whatever was important in to it.

I have no idea how long it took, it felt like forever, but out of the blue, I heard the radio and the sounds of energy fire coming over it.

“ DAMN!”

McTavit practically screamed as he made his way over.

“ Too late boys, we have to get out of here… NOW!”

We took the bags and pulled out our weapons and made a run for it. I’m not sure who was more surprised, us or the group of Garinthians who marched into us. Awkward moments like this, in hindsight, can be hilarious – just not in the moment when your life flashes before your eyes. I have no idea who shot first, but I just recall seeing a bright light and a group of soldiers fly backwards dead! We ran for the staircase as an alarm started to sound, blasted through the roof door and sprinted into our shuttle.

“ Went well as usual I see…”
Cynthia grinned at me as she hit the throttle to get the ship to rise and move forward. In front of us a large ship, one of the cruisers from earlier had gotten in front of us and was making for the hangar! I saw Fizbark, Azfar and Cafea running and shooting as they went, Fizbark was carrying the parts and they managed to make it to the shuttle just in time as another ship floated up from behind the hangar and started shooting blindly. I must explain at this point that we kept the camouflage on while we were looting and this was the reason why! We had nearly no time and I decided to hang the sense of it all and just blast the first ship and give ’em something new to think about. Just my luck as Azfar got on the radio and Cynthia put him on loud speaker.

“ Damn! I wish someone would have mentioned guard robots.. why the Verilda did it have to be giant guard robots ?!?”

Cafea got on right after with some not so welcome news.

“ Oh Magda! Incoming! Two more from the atmosphere… you were right captain, they had ’em on our blind side!”

I had no idea how I did it, but I managed to get to the radio.

“ Quit talking and get moving! Head for the mountains as planned, we’ll split at the first gorge and meet up later… NOW!”

Back to the present….

“ Cynthia, get the cannon, I’ll take the wheel… you and Cafar are better at the big guns than me….”

I then whispered loudly to myself, “Hold on Cafea we’ll be there shortly as I said we would!”.

We barely missed more flaming wreckage from the destroyed cruisers as we made our mad dash to get the other shuttle. McTavit informed me that we were a few minutes away at current speed, so I increased it a lot! As we came upon our comrades I saw something in the sky above…

It was the dreadnought with two cruisers for support! There was smoke coming from the other shuttle as we came along side her. Cynthia and Cafar laid down a wicked fire on the two cruisers and McTavit launched a grappling hook to snare the the weakened craft.

The radio came alive…

“ I know you’re there! We can’t pick you up just yet on short range scanners, don’t worry, our guns will be charged and ready momentarily and then we’ll incinerate the entire area… and you, once and for all…”
Oh damn….

Back to the authoring… Or, at least back to promoting my work… and hopefully…

All right then. On another platform I did promise the first chapter of each of my first four books in the Camden’s Follies Universe. If you want the full story, go to Amazon.com and buy the individual books.
No, I haven’t organised them into a box set yet – not had enough time to sort out if Amazon can do that. However, I shall tease my future and current readership with all that I can…
So now to the beginning ~ Camden’s Follies series 1, book 1

© 2018 Jon Corres Pirate Poet

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

Part 1, Chapter 1: From the diaries of Doctor Camden, Lunar physician and Pirate

My Journey Begins

The main engine of the Queens Dirigible“Bernoulli” makes a chirruping sound as the propeller squeaks on and off. Forensic Physician Dr. Camden looks bored and frustrated behind his aged typewriter as he attempts to compose his thoughts. A brief flurry of screaming followed by heavy feet running to and fro cause the near middle aged traveller to look up from his palms.

The tall English gentleman sits in a confined space where he’s been trying to type his journal up. Young, relatively, Doctor Camden is dressed in khaki brown with a waist coat while his long coat is draped over his chair. His hair is solid black and the look of a well groomed upper class gentleman. His handlebar moustache seems a bit out of place as it covers his entire mouth. The lines around his eyes make him seem older in the dim lit cabin as he continues to stare at the ceiling, ranting out loud.

~

“ Best to stay inside and not bother the professor… professor?! Hah! Daft old man and an even more dense pair of followers, I’d say. Six weeks and barely land in sight, a flight that was supposed to take half that time. I’m sat on my backside in this cramped cabin, not so much as a flying monkey and it’s far too cold out on deck to even try to take a photograph, decent or otherwise, of the, er seascape. I wonder why the captain even remotely tolerates the barmy old codger? ”

I begin to type again when a familiar odour wafts from beneath my door. The acrid smell of burnt rubber and petrol products forces me to open the window of my cabin, perhaps that’s being too generous. It’s a portal that is as easy to open and close as a whale bone corset! I’m wondering about my decision to trust these people to take me to Africa when I could have simply bucked up my courage and taken a steamship to Egypt before taking up the reigns on a fine Arab charger, something I’m more at home with than modern machinery that I have no idea how to operate and at this rate no desire to learn about.

“ DAMN IT MAN! I SAID SPANNER! NOT GIVE ME THE CAN OF LUBRICANT!!!”

* Sigh * My eyes nearly lock in their sockets as they roll up in disgust.

How many times must this buffoon, Scottish at that, forget that between his accent and his lack of linguistic ledger domain his non – English speaking assistants have a hard time understanding him. Not withstanding the idea his “help” has a limited command of the English language. Blast this old typewriter! And who’s that at my door?

“ Mr. Camden? Doc – tor James Camden?”

I hear in a barely audible tone and in a very thick Portuguese accent.

“ Sir, professor McTavit needs you, sir… in ze engine room, we are, as you say, not sure ’bout what it is he’s asking ’bout … please!”

My frustration is at it’s peak now. First off, I’m a physician in training of sorts, something new called forensic medicine… dissecting the dead and all that to determine cause of death. I was supposed to be in central Africa with a company of soldiers working with their surgeon, a Doctor Hamslick from Kent. He pioneered this idea about five years prior on the behest of the Duke of Edinburgh to help settle a case of poisoning of one of his staff, nasty business.

I throw my long coat on and make my way behind a very frustrated and agitated middle aged man from Portugal who is muttering curses in his native tongue under his breath.

We arrive at the doorway to the engine room, just beneath the centre of the dirigible. It’s blackened and charred from a series of explosions and fires. McTavit won’t tell me one bloody thing about his contraption. Suffice it to say the gears and inner workings seem to need to be kept both cool and well lubricated and that’s all I can ascertain from my personal observations and that would be all I know of it.

Well, all right I can tell it’s massive and took a lot of time to put together, but what fuels it and why it needs to be in a state of near bathing in oil… that one is definitively over my head!

I tried holding my nose as I entered, but to no avail. My compatriot handed me a set of goggles to put on so, well, I guess my eyes would be protected or less likely to melt out of my head. It smelt like the engine room of a freighter, if it hadn’t been cleaned in about ten years! It felt like stepping into a really bizarre painting, everything seemed to be black and hardly discernible! I knew there was a lot of piping and that the head room was dicey at best. I made my way via the sound of the shouting and the expertise of my guide, whom I hoped that he would have the where-with-all to have memorised his surroundings. Not too successfully, I must say as I managed to bang my forehead and top of my skull twice, I made it to my destination.

By the looks of it, the two yelling at each other were in the centre of a chamber of some sort.

Openings at the top were in rows and lines, three roughly from what I could make out. The odd part was that there were what looked like mirrors or mirrored surfaces all over the walls and even the floor. I noted that there seemed to be some kind of clean – up under way. That’s when I saw the old goat arguing with the other poor prat, er, assistant. McTavit was old, with bushy mutton – chop sideburns and the complexion of a tomato. He looked a burly man gone to seed and was easily as tall as me, if only a tad shorter. His red hair was still visible through the heavy silver gray. He was even dressed in coveralls of a tartan nature, that is, from what was visible beneath the grime.

McTavit was pointing and looking apoplectic at the eastern most wall of reflective surfaces and moving his eyebrows like my old professor at Cambridge. I stood mesmerised till I realised that the wall of mirrors was slightly concave. I looked to their twin to the west and noted they were convex, perhaps they were supposed to be identical? That seemed to be what was getting under the engineers pecks. I shan’t bore you with details, suffice it to say that everything came to a grinding halt once my guide coughed and pointed. McTavit’s demeanour changed frighteningly fast as he turned to the noise and addressed me.

“ Doctor Camden! Thank you very much for coming, sorry to be a bother to ye, however I’m having a wee bit of difficulty…”, his other assistant snorted in derision, the one he was arguing with that is. He gave the man a warning look and changed quickly back into the pleasant aspect he held only for me at the moment. “ … ahem… a wee bit of difficulty getting Mr. Sali to apply the right material to, er, clean off the walls. As you can see they were meant to be bright and shiny and convex… or perhaps not.” He said the last as he noted the look of complete lack of understanding on my face. “Anyway, that seems to be my problem. Could you be so kind as to assist me in my ‘conversational’ Portuguese?”

He tried to look polite, but I could easily tell he was tetchy and out of patience. I sighed, my trademark way of avoiding conflict. “ Of course, I’ve nothing better or more important…”

McTavit smiled a semi toothed smile of a man who had seen either too many knocks to the head or been on the wrong side of a tavern disagreement. So, I spent the better part of two hours, mainly due to the fact I refused to translate gutter speak, telling my Portuguese associate that the chief engineer wished him to brush, one time, a coat of glowing green ooze onto the carbonised material. Not two or three, but simply one and let it sink in before rinsing it off with some blue gunk that I refused pointedly to handle or get within a metre of!

My guide and other lackey, er, assistant had to excuse himself more than once during this exchange, laughing in hysterics just outside my line of vision and apparently the hearing of McTavit. I went back to my cabin feeling a few stone lighter than when I went in to the engine room and went straight away to my bathing chamber after sending my clothes to be cleaned thoroughly!

What on Earth was this man thinking? We had two perfectly functional propellers that could use equal if not greater attention and all he could think of was that disgusting chamber that any board of health would condemn faster than one could blink.

It dawned on me that even with my limited knowledge of things mechanical that it seemed like an awful lot of area devoted to an engine or any other device that was supposed to keep this air ship flying. What were we anyway, 100, perhaps 150 metres in length?

I briefly wondered if my fellow passengers were as curious as I was? I only saw the captain once and only from a distance. There was a shy and retiring young dowager on her way to Kenya to meet the expeditionary force that brought her late husbands remains from India. Miss Belle – Anderson, as I thought I heard her tell the man at the ticket desk as I was behind her, was petite, with sandy blonde hair and very bright, almost emerald green eyes. She was quite pretty and very lady like, in a sweet and warm way, but distant manner. Not surprising, but there you are. Around dinner I decided to eat in the main dining hall. I met the woman as she was leaving her cabin, dressed in a more winter appropriate form of dress. Hard to believe it was nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the ground!

The stars were out and the sky was remarkably clear. There was an absence of shouting and cursing from the engine room, much to my relief. I finally looked out over the railing to notice that we were, in fact, over land, at last. Just where I couldn’t tell you as I thought I saw Kilimanjaro off to the right of the crescent moon rising over the horizon.

I was pleasantly taken aback when the lady took my arm just as we made the stairs. She seemed composed enough or as much for a recent widower as she could be. My best guess was that since these dinners were somewhat formal she should at least appear to be attended to. The room had one long table, around 15 metres in length with seating for roughly 3 dozen. I could see another room just beyond behind some marvellous French glass doors with the crew seated and quietly eating.

I began to make my way to the seat nearest the end of the table near the crews dinning area ( I suppose you could call it a mess hall, it looked like they ate just enough food to feed a village and left most of it everywhere, but in them!). Surprisingly, the glass rendered it impossible to hear what was being discussed amongst the crew, which was why I chose my strategic spot in the room. Almost as surprising the dowager sat next to me and smiled warmly.

“ I see there is a gentleman beneath that gruff exterior and occasionally unkempt clothes. A handsome one at that! I was wondering for a while that despite your intelligent conversation that you bore more of a resemblance to Professor Haimish McTavit, our, um, chief engineer and consulting,” She seemed as if she wasn’t sure of her terminology or if she wasn’t being polite enough and paused. “… scientist? The first officer told me that the professor worked on the first of the steam freighters and passenger ships. The lieutenant further mentioned the captain knew him from the military though, he wasn’t sure in what capacity.”

A waiter arrived and gave us water and told us the other passengers would be round later, possibly. He took our drink order and gave us menus and told us to take our time since the kitchen would be available all evening. I smiled politely. He needn’t have said that, again for the hundredth time or so.

It was curious as to how we had as much in the way of supplies as we did. I hadn’t thought of it till now, but it seemed as if we were stocked for a voyage of at least ten times the projected length. I was so lost in thought that I had almost forgotten the woman next to me. She laughed loudly and nearly lost her breath as my head snapped around at my realisation.

When she caught her breath she proffered a dainty hand and introduced herself properly.

“ My apologies, oh, and my name is Cynthia. Cynthia Belle – Anderson.”

I drank some water, as I took her hand, to collect myself.

“ James Camden, Doctor of surgical procedure and general practitioner.”

She inclined her head in a gracious nod and had some water herself as our wine and tea arrived. She had tea and I had the wine, my best guess was that we both needed nerve tonic after todays events.

I was just feeling a bit better when the doors swung open where Cynthia and I entered earlier. An elder gent with the look of a London banker came and walked in with a very stately lady on his arm, wife from the look of it. They seemed to be preoccupied with the physical dimensions of the dinning hall and the lack of decoration.

The two sat at the far end away from us and merely curtly nodded in my direction before ignoring us. A few moments later the Portuguese engineers came in and sat near us, both waved and said hello and were quite chatty till McTavit came in. He looked beaten down, but cleaner by far than when I last encountered him.

The two at the end of the table looked scandalised as the professor slapped the gentleman on the shoulder and winked at the woman. McTavit barely nodded at me and gave a gentlemanly bow to Cynthia before sitting across from his two assistants.

Mere moments later the captain, I believe his first name was Mathias, Germain and his entourage made their way in greeting all in kind with equal respect as only an officer for the royal navy could. He was as tall as I, but with sandy brown hair and a very trim and neat moustache and beard with a decidedly military hair style. His air of confidence and command seemed to emanate from every pore in his body.

At his left was a younger man, middle eastern by the look of him or perhaps Asian (Indian or somewhere about that area), the lieutenant that Cynthia mentioned earlier I’d say, as well as the navigator and helmsman for our airship. They sat near the professor and mainly kept the conversation to a bare minimum and then only business. Before they left to get back to their duties and or possibly some sleep, the captain approached me to speak privately.

“ I do hope, Doctor, that despite the length, your voyage has been pleasant?” He enquired kindly, but I was world wary enough to know evasive small talk when I heard it. I didn’t answer right away, but I didn’t press him to get to the point either.

“ Well, aside from the windows being a bit dodgy and having to referee a clean round between the good professor and one of his assistants, Mr. Sali, everything has been quite pleasant. And of course not being able to get out on deck was a bit of a bad turn, but I did get work on my medical journals.”

I tried to sound like I was being mildly humorous and gave a polite grin to punctuate what I was trying to say. He smiled and laughed jovially along as if he supposed I had meant what I said.

“ Well, I’m glad! There may be a bit longer of a delay than I first thought, no worries mind. There are plenty of supplies and we’re in safe air space for the moment.”

I forgot myself and a look of mild panic and concern crossed my face briefly. The captain laughed.

“Oh, no need for panic my good doctor! Not like the Zulu or some other heathen tribe would set upon us, no sir.”

He genially slapped me on the back before giving me a serious look.

“ I would be appreciative, however, if anyone were to ask you, that if anyone enquires, please tell them we’re taking a more scenic route due to weather… also, please do check in on Mrs. Farber if you would, the elderly woman with Sir Michael Farber, the international banker and financier…”

I nodded and looked discreetly where the couple were sitting enjoying a brandy. I had no idea we had such an important person on board. Of course that would explain why he seemed to be touring this ship when he walked in. Perhaps, he was going to invest in her or something, maybe he held the title? I turned back nodding.

“ Of course captain, I would be more than happy to assist you and of course I shall keep mum on our situation until you say otherwise!”

He shook my hand and briskly made his way back to the pilots chamber. Later, as I walked away from the hall, I saw Cynthia and the captain exchange a brief, but heated conversation. She seemed to be pointing to the western side of the ship as she pointedly made eye contact with him. I stayed discreetly in the shadows for as long as possible. This was a most unexpected side to the demure woman. Walking the more scenic route to the side where my cabin was I chanced a glance to the west. I must have been tired or slightly more inebriated than I first presumed. I could have sworn I saw, no, that would be impossible, an Earth – like planet in the skies! I shook my head and glanced again. There it was! Not only that, but the crescent moon of earlier had, well, brothers/sisters it seemed. I decided I was deluded by my harrowing day and made my way through the corridor and started to make my way down the steps. I was half – way down when a woman cleared her throat. I looked sharply and there was a slightly miffed Miss Belle – Anderson waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.

“ Just where on Earth did you get off too?! I was worried sick, not to mention we never really got a chance to talk and I do hate trying to have a private conversation with eaves droppers all about.”

She had her hands on her hips and I felt it wise not to argue with a woman that could potentially be so formidable. She definitely gave the captain quite a nasty shock when she rounded on him as she did earlier. Cynthia proffered an arm and looked impatient as she awaited me taking it. When I did, her handbag struck me and I couldn’t help, but notice that for something so small it packed a bit of a punch! Bit like being hit with a pipe or a small club. I regained my balance quickly, but not before having a look of pain cross my face that seemed quite humorous to my new found lady friend.

“Please tell me you’ll live, I didn’t manage to hit you in the family jewels per chance did I?”

She said this failing badly at hiding a laugh.

“No, nothing vital hit ma’am … I take it that you get a lot of unscrupulous advances and thus filling your hand bag with, well, a cannon ball and half the kitchen…”

This only made her laugh loudly and fight for her breath. Once she regained her composure she shook her head and held up a finger to give her a moment to show me something. She reached within her hand bag and pulled out a baton roughly a half metre long! I stood flabbergasted and absolutely gob smacked! I must have looked a right fish out of water and this time she held herself together as she cleared her throat.

“ The bag and my protective device are all courtesy of Professor McTavit! It seems he was dabbling in physics and dimensional, what was it he referred to it as, oh yes, spacial expansion.”

She smiled broadly, but it faded fast as she noticed my continued look of incomprehension. Her face screwed up for a moment before she spoke again

“That means he made it somehow bigger on the inside, the hand bag that is, so it could hold a bit more. He told me he discovered it and the new engine design in an old Mayan pyramid or something like that. As to the baton, well it’s more than that.”

She hefted the device in her hand and pressed a black button on the side of the tube. A rifle stock popped out of the sides and a barrel extended from the end away from her. A small telescopic sight appeared after she pressed the top, near the newly formed barrel as a trigger appeared in the same place one would expect a rifle to have a trigger complete with a very elaborate guard.

“Watch!”

She pointed this compactable rifle at a spot just above the railings, pulled the trigger and, to my continued shock and surprise, a beam of light flashed out and hit a spot roughly 500 metres away! The resulting explosion made a fireball big enough to take out an infantry of men.

“This is McTavit’s ‘Light Blast Cannon‘! Surprisingly light and easy to shoot, just needs about 5 seconds between shots to recharge fully between firings. Impressive, yes?”

It took a moment, but I gulped and looked at the weapon and then her. What I wanted to say was different from what I actually articulated.

“Well, in a word, indeed! I thought those kinds of things were only in that science fiction nonsense they sell every so often… fantastic tales and all that.”

I paced in one place for a minute before I spoke again, she neatly put the device back in her hand bag and patiently waited.

“ What on Earth do you need a thing like that for? I know blokes on the new iron warships that would give their right arms for one of those…”

She held up her hand just as the captain and one of the crew came running round a corner.

“What the devil is going on here? What was that…”

He then noticed Cynthia and coughed, gulped and calmed down almost immediately.

“Ahem, * cough * , oh, I see, sorry Madam, carry on, should have realised… well, have a pleasant evening, shan’t bother you again. Doctor.”

He bowed and saluted me, oddly enough, before expediently gathering his subordinate and leaving us to our own devices. I turned to Cynthia and she gave me the sweetest of smiles.

“For a moment James, I may call you James mightn’t I? Well, let’s just hold that subject for another time, yes. I’d much prefer to talk about you anyway. A tall, handsome, dark haired proper gentleman who can speak at least three other languages aside from English, I’m presuming you speak at least three as Africa requires French and whatever local dialect along with your knowledge of Portuguese…”

She took my arm as she spoke, more carefully this time so I wouldn’t get bludgeoned again at the hip and started to lead me, bewildered, in the direction of her cabin…

Book 2 coming soon…. GERONIMO!

~ The Pirate Poet

One more detail…

As the year progressively seems weird, I guess, since fall is approaching faster than I imagined, I could vent or pontificate a tad.
Is it me or are the youth movement being more and more inclined to inherit and incorporate the worst of the previous elder generations?

On Twitter and other platforms, the norm is to start a fight by launching partial conversation threads and asking specific questions of the quote. Then, they only turn around and make it sound like it was something else they were looking for. They seem to think you’re a mind reader.

Oh well… that’s just one example post 11th century arguing breaking out. I mean, honestly, do they really want change? Do they want to solve reocurring problems or just keep them till there are few standing who could help? Change the way you look at things and things will change.

It sounds overly simplistic, but as you analyse it and apply it. The method has merit and works. As sits, anyone of the youth movement gives the impression of wanting to fight – not solve or resolve. They are determined to be the incarnation of General Phyrric and his hollow victory.
What sense or good is there if you destroy all – even that which you have been charged to defend? Or perhaps by convincing those on the fence that supporting or helping you with your cause is folly?
I know, those of us who were about to be more forward with our support and lending of resources see some of these insidiously divisive arguments and turn around and don’t bother with it.

Between the row with Rowling and the Cancel Culture – I just can’t become involved with it. An article in the news periodical called ” The Irish Times “, who are as about pro British as I am a Chinese person, had a reporter note what I’ve typed. And she’s in the same age group as this bunch of yahoos!

I know, I’m an author and a poet. However, I wasn’t always and I hope to not go back to my old profession. Part of my old profession was to read people and situations. I stuck to facts, not hyperbole. I debated on a level field and never tried to ” dumb down ” the conversation.
I find it almost insulting how many offence sensitive people seem to want to assume their way through everything, start a ruckus, be divisive and then run and hide behind somewhere far away.
That doesn’t count trying to reinvent language – making it vague, confusing and frustrating! They want to use over simplified bait lines, tag lines and catch phrases rather than communicate – right down to punctiation and grammar. Then they want to make it all a grand joke as all the while things get worse, the divides greater and the possibility of a unified people more and more implausible than achievable.
I know this rant probably won’t go far, but I do hope some day that someone catches on and puts an end to this madness before it’s too late and the next world war takes hold and more lives that shouldn’t be are lost!

Till next time,
~ The Pirate Poet

And so, onward… for now or until I’m on the move again..

Okay, still working on my bread and butter series ~ Camden’s Follies. Space, adventures, Pirates, Evil Empires and Ancient peoples, spousal and children troubles… My how the Camden Family Circus grows!
Despite only the cover art to show for the final installment of Elder Offensive, it’s only a matter of being energetic enough to type the ruddy thing up.
Also, finding even an Indie Publisher is getting to be a chore these days. So, Scales and Hearts must wait a while longer.
Life is indeed short, wild and ocassionally sweet. More often it’s a contest of whether my nerves will hold out or not. Book sales haven’t been quite up there yet… yet. I get word out on the primary work regularly, refuse to have to pay Amazon to do what they should from the off – their job!
I will keep exploring how to pay more than one author their fair share plus!
But that’s the future and yet to be written.

For now, I’ll keep well from the pandemic. I’ll try and find more avenues for publlishing and of course poetry will keep me on my toes.

Till the day I see ye on the trail, the science fiction or comic con panels, be well, keep writing and never give up or in. Never be cruel, nor cowardly.

Yours truly,
~ The Pirate Poet

News? Beyond the average or just? Anyway, here’s where I’m at and a couple of stories already published.. or teasers…

So, the written word goes on… Or so I’ve been led to believe. I’ve been working on the more fun of two projects and kicking around another one becuase I need a publisher to do more than give me lip service or just ignore me.
Sound impossible? Could be. Probably, it’s a lot more likely as I gain steam. It’s a numbers game and I may be winning with quality over quantity. But I digress…
Scales and Hearts Vol.2 is WAY behind in getting a publisher. I refuse to give up or in, though it has crossed my mind.
Now for a story interlude before I get overly sappy or angry and vindictive!

From the Dragon tales book ~ Scales and Hearts – Get yours from Amazon, B&N or Kobo!

The Sea Dragon

by
J.Nathanial Corres

© Jon Corres Pirate Poet 2018
all rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the copyright holder, except where permitted by law. This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.

“ And when the sky grows dark, the wind howls and the waves become choppy it is said you can see a creature. A great beast of legend and myth, sounding from the depths.”

Longfellow Phineas Eustice read the placard slowly, as if he wanted to memorise it for some reason. His eyes danced over his half – moon bifocals as he did so. He made to straighten himself out when he noticed that he was alone on the pier on the isle of Mann. It was a mid October and the tourist season had long passed. Why he thought anyone was with him was truly a mystery. He leaned on his walking stick as he got his barrings and began to walk parallel to the railing. His gnarled hand pulled his pocket watch out, which informed him that it was four in the afternoon.

His mind began to wander, as it did often in his declining years. After all this time, all the adventures he’d partaken, you’d think that he may have better recollection than this. As he put his timepiece away he noted the inscription on the back;

“ For our Longfellow, though not of our blood – our son none the less! You did us proud dear boy!”

It was signed Henry and Alice Flattery. Longfellow sighed as the fond memories of that old couple came to mind. He was one of 14 children in the Eustice family of Holmfirth, Yorkshire. He was the youngest and easiest to forget. Even his father, Jacobi, would think him merely a friend of the family – and he helped deliver him into the world! The only people who ever paid him any mind were a middle aged couple. Alice Flattery ran a boutique and Henry was a part – time inventor, barber and farmer. Of the three, he was best at being a barber sadly. Mind you, it was Henry who managed to light the fire of curiosity in Longfellow and encourage him to finish school and go to college in London to study to be an engineer.

The old man just smiled as the images of him in his dorm room doing homework and revision at all hours, being nagged by Alice to eat before he wasted away… ah, those were the days!

The only down side was when his two estranged siblings; Paulette and Prudance wrote him in his third year that their parents had died three months prior to them sending this letter. Their excuse for the late correspondence was that they didn’t want a contested will. Longfellow never read the letter completely and could have sworn that there were remnants of a cheque in the ashes of his stove when he cleaned it out, but he didn’t care. Those two shrews could have the lot, for all he cared!

He did recall, after a bit, that an old paper mentioned a freak accidental drowning of a near entire family when a ferry to the Isle of Wight got hit by a sudden wave and washed said family overboard along with around twenty other people. Prudance and Paulette were mentioned by name as the survivors. A notice a week later declared them sole heirs to the Eustice estate and all the accounts there in. He never thought anything of it as Henry and Alice were his true family now – not them.

As Longfellow stopped to wipe his glasses he recalled that the one time he did see his slightly older siblings was two years after the Flattery’s died. They were being served notice of eviction for outstanding debts. Both women looked like dirty great rodents wrapped in black mourning dresses.

He was glad they never recognised him as he passed, let alone hear him laugh over their just deserts! Longfellow stopped as he nearly walked off the end of the pier. He found himself staring into the cold black water of the Atlantic Ocean looking at his reflection. What he saw truly made him shudder with bitterness. He was old! How did that happen?

There was nary a sign of his brown hair as it had turned mainly white with obvious signs of thinning. His good jacket, waist coat and trousers looked threadbare and well worn. Even his prize pocket watch and chain appeared to have seen better days. The lines on his face and the bags under his eyes – atrocious! Longfellow wanted to cry, it was that awful to him. He looked out on the horizon and tried desperately to remember why he decided to come here in the first place.

It was at that moment that he heard something, like a song, being carried over the waves.

Slowly, he scanned the waters around the pier, but saw nothing. A few moments later the sound become louder and clearer; It was a voice calling his name! The water before him roiled and frothed before a sleek and serpentine neck attached to a remarkably sleek body the colour of electric blue appeared before him. The head was the size of a small auto-mobile and the eyes were the same as sapphire crystals. Longfellow blinked and the creature was gone!

In its place, however, was a woman – young, beautiful with caring crystal blue eyes and raven dark hair wearing a woman’s blue tartan kilt with white, red and green, white blouse and blue wool coat .

She seemed to be weeping as she gazed upon him. The woman collected herself and spoke to him in a Scottish accent. “ Oh Longfellow! What’s happened to you? It’s me Naikeeah! Don’t you remember?” Her voice was urgent, troubled and conveyed not a little hurt. “Oh my one, it’s been too long hasn’t it. I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to leave you in a lurch as I did. You were always the one, the faithful one, my gadgeteer and hero… please, let me…”

Longfellow noticed he was teetering precariously on his walking stick from shear shock and amazement of the moment when the woman took his arm and helped steady him. He looked into her eyes as a memories cascaded over him like a giant wave. It was almost fifty years previous, on this very spot. The vision of a woman that looked identical to this one dived into the surf as he sat, wounded on the pier as police and others rushed to the spot. It was an adventure, the likes of which he’d never taken before or since. He managed to steady his breath and stand without going faint or feeling dizzy.

He looked her in the eye and spoke the words he longed to all this time. “ So, it wasn’t a dream, was it? You and I, the trip around the world… Is it time already?” She took his hand and nodded with a smile and a tear in her eye. “ Yes. Yes, it is. I… your leg? You told me it was all right and yet I can smell the bronze gears and such…” Longfellow put his hand up. “ I thought it was. However, we both know what a dragon’s poison is capable of. The good news is; It only took out part of my leg – there, at the knee. Besides, until I met you my dear, I never believed in such things as your people or magic. I only knew science. True, that was foolish on the whole, but then again I’d only met you when I was on the ferry between here and Glasgow. That was two human generations ago…. remember?” She put her arm around his shoulders and kissed him, leaving the elder Englishman a tad breathless and smiling.

As he felt himself being taken off his feet, Longfellow’s mind seemed to drift of its own accord to a day in late November of 1928. The ferry from Glasgow to the dirigible port on the Isle of Mann. The sea was calm and the sky was clear. The only thing bothering him were the flies that seemed to accompany a group of farmers and the bratty children running around the deck.

He tried to pay close attention to them, the skiving little sneak thieves. They tried to half – inch at least 4 wallets while he watched. If it weren’t for the adults around them, they might have gotten away with it. However, they seemed to be trying to make up for the fact that they couldn’t get any quid by being obnoxious enough to knock people over. Longfellow had just turned to be sure of where he was standing when two of the larger ruffians caught him in mid stride and sent him sprawling, as they laughed, over the rail. His last vision was an off duty constable, who had it up to his teeth with the lot of the children, grab the two bullies by the ears and haul them somewhere – possibly the captains office.

Longfellow couldn’t believe his rotten luck! They were just going to leave him to drown! He knew he was a good fifteen miles from shore and all his things were back on the ferry in a storage area. Worst of all, he couldn’t swim! As he resigned himself to his watery fate a surge came from below him. Oh wonderful! He thought to himself, not enough to drown – but to be eaten by a shark or Orca now. He braced for an impact that never came. Instead, he found himself sitting on something large about ten feet out of the water! He looked down and saw a pair of sapphire coloured eyes looking at him quizzically. It tilted forward, whatever it was he was sitting on, and he started to slide off.

Before he hit the water, he found himself hanging in the creatures jaws. Longfellow was astounded, frightened and speechless. He slowly turned his head to see he was in the jaws of a very large reptilian creature and heading for the ferry. “ Oh, great maker, this isn’t happening… this isn’t happening!” He ranted to himself as they closed on the vessel. It would seem that the passengers were too preoccupied with the punishment being inflicted on the young miscreants to see what was coming up to the boat. The creature gently placed the stunned and wet Longfellow on the deck and seemed to disappear instantly. Quietly and with great care, Longfellow made his way to the storage area and got some dry clothes and then made for the W.C in order to change. He made it about as far as the door to the loo when a woman coughed to get his attention.

She was breathtaking! Sapphire blue eyes, raven black hair and dressed like woman of high society in a blue dress and low heeled black shoes and spoke with a strong Scottish accent.

“ Greetings mister…” He politely interrupted her by raising his hand before speaking.

“ May I be of service madam? My apologies, I’m not at my best…” She silenced him with a smile. “ I know, I just wanted to be sure you weren’t hurt.” He was taken aback – how could she know unless… NO! That was impossible! However, when he got his wits about him, he noticed that his clothes were dry. He mouthed like a fish out of water. “ Who are you? I didn’t see you on the ferry earlier. Wait a moment, you can’t be, can you? That, uh, that..”

Dragon? Or sea monster? I know. However, who’d believe there’d be independent flight on such a scale with you humans? You’re smarter than you look it seems, or in your case, handsomer than first thought.” Longfellow simply decided not to attempt to argue logic with this woman.

The idea that this would even be transpiring was enough to make a sane person think they’d gone mad. He decided to just quietly walk her up to the snack bar and get a cuppa and simply try to calm down. It isn’t everyday that something from a fantasy novel occurs in your life! It would be another hour or so before they reached their destination. Longfellow had many questions for her and she him. By the time the young English graduate student got off the ferry, he felt a lot more at ease around his new acquaintance.

He still wasn’t sure about her being a dragon, as she professed. However, based on her knowledge, she seemed to be well versed in the sciences – at least the natural sciences. Longfellow discovered her name was Naikeeah and she was a native of Scotland – Inverness to be precise. She told him of how she was told by a seer that she would meet the man of her destiny off shore in her parents old hunting grounds. Longfellow believed that she was given a rather dodgy fortune from one of the ladies who ran questionable stalls near the carnivals that travelled the countryside – at least initially. The more he listened, the more it made sense for some reason. Something told Longfellow that this woman was being completely honest with him.

After checking in for his flight, he noted that he had a good two hours before his dirigible to Berlin would be taking off. The good news was, he would be getting a luxury suite for his troubles this time. Longfellow almost forgot about his companion when the ticket agent asked if his wife would be travelling with him and jogged his memory a tad. It seems she was just content to observe Longfellow while he made certain that he had all his travelling credentials and student paperwork.

Naikeeah was that quiet as he became engrossed in being ready. She just laughed at Longfellow and told the agent she would, indeed, be with him for his business trip as they had some catching up to do. The gent gave Longfellow a sly wink and proceeded to give what he believed were newly-weds a complimentary ticket for their honeymoon present.

The young man became so enraptured in his conversation that he nearly forgot he was going on a week long excursion to visit professor Max Von Klible, a noted mechanical engineer and pioneer of the ether powered automaton and prosthetics for veterans and victims of horrible accidents. Not to mention, after they hastily boarded he nearly missed the steward’s knock and ticket request. Like on a train, they still had to present their proof of paid passage before leaving the station or port as the case may be.

Mind, he also forgot about the sleeping arrangements for himself and his new lady friend – despite the fact that the two of them had been taken for a newly married couple – plus the idea of wardrobe for Naikeeah. Longfellow was raised a gentleman after all! All throughout his ordeal, Naikeeah watched him with keen interest and found his human manners quite endearing, if not entertaining. Thankfully, there was a shop or two in board, as they later found out, that catered to the female passengers clothing needs – and saved Longfellow a great deal of embarrassment, even though it cost him a pretty penny.

It wouldn’t be till dinner time that Longfellow finally got his wits about him and not do an impression of one of his favourite comedic silent film stars. As he and his new lady friend spoke, the more fascinated he became – even more so than earlier, not to mention enamoured. He discovered that she was of an ethnicity of dragons that were referred to as Sea Dragons; A sort of cousin or sibling to Cold Drakes and Ice Dragons. There was still a matter of whether or not she was an eccentric woman of wealth – say a dowager countess, for example. However, everything she said had a ring of truth to it. How he knew or understood this was beyond him.

Longfellow only knew this was the age of discovery and enlightenment and considering the wonders that the world has produced so far, why should he be cynical? There was no reasonable way to explain how he was carried back to the ferry, for one point. True, he could have been under the influence of oxygen deprivation, but on the other hand, how could he discount the speed of him drying out, let alone the fact he was whisked out of the ocean and carried above the water to safety.

There was also the matter of trust. He couldn’t put a finger on it, but this wondrous woman just exuded credulity, a level of comfort and ease of speaking to. It definitely made the week go quite fast – not to mention the sleeping arrangements less awkward.

When the duo arrived at Berlin, they were met by a rather abrupt, if not rude, greeting party.

Instead of going to the University as he’d thought, the two were taken out of the city heading towards Munich. One found, to his painful woe, that Naikeeah was far from a weakling or push – over. He and two of his compatriots got the stuffing knocked out of them when they tried to escort the Scottish lass to somewhere else on the property and the other three were highly hesitant to jump in! Mind, Longfellow wasn’t a wuss by any stretch as his immediate escort found out. The leader changed tact quickly to one of a more open and honest approach and led the two to professor Von Klible.

An elder gentleman sat looking warily around the room in almost paranoid fashion. When he saw young Longfellow, he nearly cried tears of joy behind his bifocals! He stood, dressed in a simple suit and waistcoat that looked practically off the rack new. His tie was looking as if he had been fiddling with it constantly. In a very rough German accent the old man spoke to Longfellow.

“ Mister Eustice!You have no idea how worried I was. You are the only man I can trust with this latest finding of mine…” He stopped and rummaged around a desk covered in file folders and note book binders. “ … this is the biggest breakthrough yet in Ether Technology. Please, take it and keep it safe! Don’t try and read it here. Hurry! I have no idea how long I have till the secret police arrive…” BANG! Gunfire rang out from the front of the building as Dr. Von Klible motioned for the duo to follow him to the other side of the room.

As the sounds of struggles and weapons fire got closer the old man picked a book on the third shelf from the bottom of the bookcase and pulled it. He motioned for Longfellow and Naikeeah to follow him with all due haste. The false book shelf closed silently behind them as the good doctor stopped about half way from the exit. Longfellow looked at him pleadingly as Von Klible put up his hand.

“ Now listen to me, carefully. Keep going until you smell the wharf and the nearby lake. I cannot go with you! No arguments! I have unfinished work to do and another way out. It’ll be a few hours before the new regime’s watch dogs find the secret exit from my study. By that time I will be long gone – as should you! Now remember, wait till you are safely away on the dirigible before looking at those papers. Keep your eyes and ears open – the both of you! Now hurry! HURRY!” He waved the two out as Naikeeah had to practically drag her charge to the exit.

When they got outside they discovered a motor boat awaiting them. Silently, the two got on and Longfellow got their escape vessel started. Behind them, smoke plumes rose into the air just beyond the tree line that separated the lake from the estate they left behind. It took them almost an hour to get to the nearest town. Longfellow hardly spoke, but he did make some odd purchases.

Naikeeah noted he got a soldering iron, some gears, two small vials of Ether fuel, string and a pair of automaton dolls – the kind children would use or rich families would have to assist with the baby sitting said children. Each doll was the size of a toddler – around 2/3 of a metre tall.

Longfellow then bought some wine, rubbing alcohol, flexible hose pipe and some copper tubing – around 1 meter’s worth plus cutting tools. The human formed sea dragon was perplexed to say the least. When she attempted to ask him about this he merely put up a finger and stayed angrily silent till they made the zeppelin port in Berlin.

Naikeeah noted by the scent she recalled back at the estate that there were more of these secret police positioned around the port. When she looked around she saw them discreetly watching for anything they deemed suspicious. Both noted an official distributing leaflets to boarding and disembarking passengers that described two people; A man and a woman with instructions to notify authorities immediately as they were tied to the disappearance of one Doctor Max Von Klible – a suspected traitor. Longfellow absent mindedly took one and noted their descriptions were vague and not a little bit off on the look.

It would appear that Von Klible’s men were loyal and true to the end – to all three of them! He silently prayed that the men either died a quick and painless death or were spared for their cooperation and released on their own recognizance. Either way, he and Naikeeah made their way on board the New Excelsior – one of the newer models of dirigible. The balloon was slightly more compact, but was strong enough to carry up to 200 passengers safely at the same speed, if not faster than the older models.

Naikeeah let Longfellow know that about a half – dozen of those secret police had come aboard. She overheard them discussing their orders that included keeping an eye peeled in case the two fugitives they were looking for had changed their appearance in an obvious fashion. Longfellow merely nodded and never looked up from a newspaper he acquired in the lobby of the dirigible.

When the entered their cabin, Longfellow let out a sigh of relief and began to sit and work on the automaton. Naikeeah watched in amazement as he opened the backs of the small mechanical wonders and replaced a few items and added a couple of others. In a matter of minutes, the gadgeteer extraordinaire had fashioned what appeared to be matching fuel tanks – except made of the bottles that held the rubbing alcohol – and ran the copper tubing so it would be hidden behind the mouths of the innocent faces of the dolls. Longfellow turned to her after opening the bottle of wine and pouring each of them a glass.

“ I know this looks mad. However, when I was in university I made a few of these. We called them battle – bots. We would have contests to see who could out – do whom the fastest and most cleverly. Basically, I’ve created an artificial flame thrower. Mind you, they can still communicate if needed to and no hint of the surprise behind their artificial smile. You see, the copper piping is set to deploy and act like a nozzle to spew fire! A bit like a flame thrower, but smaller, understand?”

Naikeeah merely smiled and surprised him with a warm kiss. “ You mean you’ve made artificial dragons – mechanical ones at that! Brilliant! Are those for defence or attack?” He smiled at her as he recovered. No woman had ever kissed him so tenderly or warmly before and it took him a moment to recover from the pleasant shock.

“ Both Naikeeah. Thus the string. If those secret police chaps try to rush us,well, these little beauties will give them pause or set them alight to buy us time to escape or take them out and make it look an accident. Those brutes didn’t exactly strike me as the type to be anything, but blunt. I’m just hoping they make their move when we’re near a custodial room or near the engine room – for example. It would make sense for them to try and shoot their intended targets in an effort to make it appear that they had no choice except to use lethal force – for propaganda purposes. ” He reached into one of the boxes the dolls came in and handed a clunky sort of box with 4 buttons and a toggle.

“ This will control…” He looked at the number on the underside of the controller quickly. “ … the one with the brunette hair and beret. Keep it on you in case we have to discreetly put my plan into motion. I’ll have the other one in my trouser pocket. So, for now, we can nap and possibly have enough time for a shower before we make for dinner in the restaurant on the lower deck and promenade.” He smiled wearily before collapsing on his pillow.

Naikeeah gave a half sigh and half chuckle before cuddling up. She kept her ears peeled for any shenanigans in the corridor, but thankfully only families and children were active on their deck.

She mainly watched Longfellow as he slept peacefully and felt better and better about their chance meeting. If this was the love foretold to her by her grandmother, then she knew she was truly blessed by the all mother dragon! Later, the couple got a fair few strange looks – mainly from children as the parents were bound and determined to ignore the strange young couple with the boxes in their arms. Most muttered about newly-weds and how young people were developing odder and odder habits these days.

Out of the corner of his eye, Longfellow noted that 3 of the men sent to keep watch for him and Naikeeah were sitting catycornered to them, around 5 tables away. They pretended to look at the menu and eat, but one was on the radio speaking with the other three presumably and eyeing the out of place couple. Naikeeah made to go to the ladies loo when two of the secret police followed a moment or so after. The one with the radio seemed to become frenetic as he noted he was alone now and so was Longfellow! Within minutes, the missing trio of the band of thugs came in as if they were being fashionably late. Longfellow looked at his watch as this part of the observation and apprehension squad sat to his left two tables over.

After what seemed for ever, Naikeeah waltzed in looking refreshed and quite ready to order dinner. Longfellow noted that she was clean and no sign of being waylaid or attacked! Mind, the duo that followed her never returned and the man with the radio wound up excusing himself as the meals were being served. An odd thing Longfellow noted was, all the men had armbands with a symbol on them. If they were any more obvious, it would be comical. On the other hand, none of the other passengers even remotely hinted that they could see this. It was as if whatever the men stood for was someone else’s problem or they felt that if they didn’t notice, it wouldn’t draw undue attention to them.

As soon as Longfellow finished his main course he made a subtle bee line for the exit at the other end of the room. Naikeeah was perplexed about this as he came back almost as fast, just as their would be assailants noticed he had gone and just returned. From the other end of the dinning room, the radio man made a fast march to the trio at the table and began a heated, one sided conversation. Occasionally, he’d point at the pair from behind his left arm as if he was trying to be sly and clever about his report or trying not to be noticed by anyone else.

Naikeeah observed that Longfellow’s box with automaton was missing. He barely looked at her and gave a covert wink as he casually looked over at the four men at the other table. All three that were properly seated would, as a group, look at Naikeeah and then give the hunched over apoplectic speaker a pitying look or a shake of their heads. By the time the secret police were able to finish their own meal and check in on their suspects – the duo was gone!

One of the seated men grabbed the one hunched over and said something in his ear to make his eyes bulge out before taking the shocked man roughly by the arm and escort him out with the other two. Near the back of the room, Longfellow popped out silently from behind the exit door to watch the four men make for the elevators. He took a silent breath of relief and then politely escorted Naikeeah to a hallway just down and to the left of the corridor they were in. In German, a series of doors were marked “ Maintenance”, “Engineering”, “ Custodian” and “ Engine Room – Authorised Personell Only!”. Longfellow guided Naikeeah into the one marked “ Engineering ” . Inside was a tinkerers dream! Spanners of all sizes with all sorts of screwdrivers, wire clippers, Ether canisters and enough machine tools to make Longfellow think he’d died and gone to engineering heaven.

The young female sea dragon could see the appeal of choosing this place for whatever plan Longfellow had in mind. Longfellow made stealthily for the door and attached a string to the doll while occasionally cocking his head to one side listening for anything going on in the corridor before going back and sitting with Naikeeah.

“ All right then, I know you think I’ve lost my marbles, but hear me out. I have no idea how much time it will be before they discover we’ve not gone back to our suite. It will be, maybe 15 minutes before they or their harried comrade in arms realise the connection between me and this part of the ship. Note; I’ve got my automaton positioned near the door, but not on top of the Ether or other highly flammable gas… yet. It would take quite a bit, such as one opening up one of the valves on the containers to cause a near disastrous combustion or a powerful enough explosion…”

Naikeeah rolled her eyes and shook her head signifying that Longfellow was going into boring engineer speak. “ Sorry! Anyway, I’ve placed some rubbing style alcohol bottles over the door on a precarious shelf. With both our dolls in action and a quick knock down of the shelf, the alcohol should provide enough flammable liquid to give our would be killers quite the awful burn…”

Longfellow caught Naikeeah quietly laughing till she noticed that he saw her.

“ I’m sorry! It’s just you keep forgetting I’m still a dragon! I’m a sea dragon, most certainly, but still a dragon! You want them fried so they can’t report in or send for reinforcements – even in England – then, you should have said something! Mind you, I like the idea of using your skills to hide the fact I exist. Now quit doing an impersonation of a cod fish for a minute!” She kissed him squarely on the lips for emphasis. After another moment of blushing, looking confused and bewildered, Longfellow recovered and gathered himself.

“ Okay, so, can you fly as well? No? Fine, don’t look at me like I insulted you. I know little of dragons and just wondered if I needed to knock – up a personal flight device for us in case we needed a quick getaway. I’m sure you saw the emergency doors for the miniature dirigibles? Anyway, it was something I was working on before I met you and… are you crying? I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings… * mmmf! * ”

Naikeeah gave him a sly grin and whispered. “ You are too easy to get wound up! It’s what I love about you, you’re a gentleman through and through. Now, let’s just worry about getting your marvellous contraption working and then tell me about your artificial flight devices for non – flying types. I’m sure my mother would find it a hoot!” He nearly asked her about the last remark when he heard the men from before outside – they were systematically checking the doors and rooms and were now making their way towards them!

Longfellow muttered something under his breath, at least so it sounded, about women in general and how confounding the lot are as he activated the doll by remote control via radio waves. Just as the door was being tested to see if it were locked, the magnificently resourceful Longfellow grabbed a handy spool and prepared to hurl it through the air at the shelf after finding the end of the string on his belt attached to the doll.

Naikeeah sat looking as if she were watching a very entertaining street magician, not a care in the world as four men made to rush in yelling in German for the duo to give up or come out so they could be shot without fuss!
In one fluid motion as two of the thugs drew tommyguns from out of their coats, Longfellow threw his spool sending a buckets worth of alcohol onto the surprised quartet whilst pressing the activation button and toggling his automaton forward. In the confusion, he pushed the talk button for the doll and pulled the string that activated the flame thrower!

WHOOSH! “ AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!” and “ AAAAAIIIIIIEEE ”
“ DUCK NAIKEEAH!”

The good and bad news was; It worked! Good because Longfellow routed the thugs. It was bad because they shot their weapons out of panic and pain! Naikeeah didn’t seem half as concerned as her human counter part.

In fact, the Inverness woman didn’t even have a hair out of place as Longfellow grabbed her hand and made a mad dash for the doorway! They jumped over the burning, rolling would be assassins and made a break for the emergency life boat area. Alarms began in earnest as the crew rushed to the source of the small explosions and fire. Emergency medical people rushed passed the duo along with several pyjama clad onlookers moving to see what the fuss was all about.

It was pure luck that the duo achieved the hangar deck where the mini dirigibles were kept. Longfellow made to breathe in relief when he realised he left the papers doctor Von Klible entrusted him with back in his stateroom! He left Naikeeah sitting, looking politely quizzical as he dashed like he was on fire back to their room.

He just reached the door when a hand grabbed his shoulder and spun him around! It was one of the two waylaid gents that Naikeeah had taken care of. “ You will come with us now… Herr Doctor, preferably resisting all the way as I look forward to letting you know how much trouble you truly are!”. The one with his hand on Longfellow’s shoulder said as the other half of the pair limped over with a club raised over his head and began to swing when out of nowhere, a female hand caught the man’s arm and …

BANG! SLAM! SMACK! BONK!

Naikeeah stood over the unconscious pair of thugs as Longfellow looked on stunned and once again acting like a fish out of water for a moment. “ How did you… oh never mind! Give me a moment and let’s put these two in the stateroom while I get what I came for…” Naikeeah smiled and chuckled quietly as she picked up both men as if they were mere small children! Longfellow nearly broke his neck doing a double take barely believing what he just witnessed!

This time, he used the remaining string to bind the two blackguards before taking Naikeeah gently by the arm so they could make good on their escape. They chose the stairs to get to the emergency area. It took Longfellow less time than he imagined to disengage the moorings and silently slip out the back of the massive zeppelin.

Almost as soon as they got two ship lengths away from the zeppelin their radio went haywire with French landing personnel and the crew of the air ship hailing them. The Germans were wondering if this was an act of sky piracy, an accidental launching or panicky passengers. The French were simply trying to be sure that whomever was flying the mini dirigible knew what they were doing and if this was an emergency try and talk the pilot and passengers down as safely as possible.

Longfellow did a cursory look through the windscreen of the flying machine and reckoned they were somewhere near the English Channel! He shut off the radio and began to work the controls to get them as close to the ocean as possible.

The young engineer just took a moment to catch his breath when a humming sound of engines caught his ears! He peered out the side portal and saw a small squadron of Germain fighter planes coming their way. Longfellow cursed under his breath and made for the controls again. He motioned for Naikeeah as he set the life raft mini dirigible on an angled dive towards the ocean.

“ Sorry Naikeeah, old thing! When we get near enough to the water we’ll have to dive in…

probably from around 100 metres at best, 1500 more realistically… When I nod my head, we make for the main hatch and jump! I’m certain those Fokker tri – planes of theirs can’t pull fast manoeuvres while trying to shoot us …”

RAT – A – TAT – TAT! RAT – A – TAT – TAT! RAT – A – TAT – TAT! RAT – A – TAT – TAT! BRRRRP! BRRRP! PING! PING! PING!

Suddenly, bullets were cutting through the cabin and seemingly, indiscriminately hitting anything, but the two escapees! Longfellow took Naikeeah by the arm and crawled across the floor littered with broken glass, bits of wood, plastic and metal before arising and kicking open the hatch impressively.

As he looked down he saw water coming towards them! Before the mini dirigible hit and exploded the duo leapt for their lives! Longfellow felt himself being pulled by gravity at least 100 feet or more before he passed out. When he awoke, he was on the head of a.. sea dragon!

The beasty just winked at him as he passed out. When he awoke again he found himself on pier in Bournemouth! Naikeeah was standing over him looking a tad worried. Longfellow recovered just in time, coughing and spitting up water, to see if his precious cargo was safe.

“ Oh heavens! Did I lose it? Where is the.. you have it?” Naikeeah smiled and nodded.

“ Indeed my one! You truly are resilient and are a lot tougher than I could imagine. No need to worry, it’s night time…” Longfellow finally got his wits about him to notice that it was late at night and the pier was definitely empty.

“ So, it was you? You rescued me after I botched saving us?” Naikeeah merely shook her head in the negative. “ No, you succeeded! It was a good thing I know water spells well enough to protect your precious paper! Now, my bold one, I got us a taxi a few moments ago, so if you’ll please stand up…” Longfellow did as he was bade and had the quietest ride to the train station he ever had. It was a good thing his money was still in order, or was that because of his dragon girlfriend?

He made to lay his head down for a quick nap in the cab before deciphering doctor Von Klible’s paper after boarding the train to Glasgow, when, a thought occurred to him; What sort of discovery could be so monumental that the Germans would risk open warfare, yet again, with England or the rest of Europe for that matter? He took a thinkers sitting pose as he caught his Scottish companions facial expression, breaking his train of thought. Naikeeah, looked at him in a concerned fashion as he then realised he had no change of clothing and more than likely very limited funds till he got a chance to stop in London before going north.

Longfellow quickly checked his wallet and emergency money pouch he kept on the inside of his shirt – a minor invention he and a French student came up with in college. He breathed a sigh of relief before they made the ticket counter and got their boarding passes. Naikeeah, hung close on his arm, she seemed worried about him for some reason.

After they got seated in their billet and he was able to take his jacket off, he noticed a tear in his shirt. Naikeeah became a little nervous as it looked like either a large scratch or a slash mark.

Longfellow looked at the female dragon for a moment confused. The wound didn’t hurt, but it didn’t seem that long for it to heal up as much as it did either. “ Could you possibly explain this? Naikeeah?” She looked away for a moment blushing. “ Well, my one, I was too weak to heal you further you see. A dragon such as myself can only do so much in one day and you took quite a jolt and got pretty cut up from your fall – or I should say after I retrieved you before you drowned!”

He looked at her incredulously. However, that changed as he recalled the fall was from quite a height and as the first time he met her, Naikeeah, he had seen the same blue dragon or serpent taking him towards shore! This was far from a coincidence. There were no other logical explanations, were there? He seemed struck dumb for a good few moments that felt like hours.

When Longfellow found his voice, it was with some admiration and bit apologetic.

“ Naikeeah, please don’t cry. I wasn’t completely sold on you being a dragon till now and that was my problem. You’ve been nothing, but forthright and honest with me since we’ve met and you saved my life. You professed nothing, but the truth to me and despite the overwhelming evidence I still found doubt over belief. In other words, I’m very sorry!” Naikeeah blushed and gave him a very big hug and whispered in his ear.

“ And one day, I’ll tell you about yourself – things that will astonish and amaze you! For now, let’s get some rest and when we get to London, you can buy me something for breakfast, maybe. That is, if you and I aren’t detained over the incident over French airspace. I’m sure that I saw some English fighter craft in the air coming to the aid of the French air control tower.” Longfellow made a face and hugged her back and even kissed her cheek.

“ After this whirlwind affair of sorts, I think I can handle questioning by my government. Now, let me see to this mysterious paper on Ether gas!” They lay together on the small bed reading all 50 pages of the findings of doctor Von Klible. It was astounding! Apparently, the good doctor was working on transference of conscience via Ether gas. The results weren’t permanent, but they lasted long enough so that the donated mind of the subject could utilise an automaton body for a good 24 hrs! The pair looked at each other as the conductor came round to let them know that Kings Cross Station was coming up. Naikeeah spoke up after the awkward silence.

“ This is the closest to alchemy I’ve seen in over eight centuries! Not to mention spirit transference from body to body – or possession if you will. If this is viable, this will change the world in ways neither of us could imagine! A nearly indestructible body with a human mind in control; No pain or suffering, a more efficient automaton. You could rescue miners, divers, the whole lot without risking human life. No wonder the Germans wanted this! In the wrong hands, this could mean an army of mechanical warriors with faster reflexes and no need for a conscience – ghastly to say the least!” Longfellow nodded slowly before they disengaged and cleaned up to make for the nearest café. As they made their way from the train station, they could hear the calling of the newspaper people on the street.

They were announcing an emergency session of parliament and the German consulate being dragged before the session and the prime minister to answer for their actions against their own zeppelin over French air space! There was also a massive search for him and Naikeeah on. It would seem that the French figured that whomever it was on the mini dirigible was fleeing for their lives for fear of the German secret police, who were identified as the ones who called for the Luftwaffe to fire on the life boat style dirigible. Longfellow and Naikeeah weren’t named specifically, but they were shown falling from the burning air ship.

There was another photo of boats scouring the channel. It would be days before the English could acquire even the passenger list, let alone be able to search the zeppelin. This meant that, to Longfellow anyway, they would have a week before they would have to reveal themselves to the local officials and then be prepared to answer many awkward and pointed questions.

More than likely they – meaning the government – would be at his flat back in Holmfirth in an attempt to discover what he, Longfellow, was on to in Germany. Longfellow felt a hand on his shoulder and he glanced to see Naikeeah had become worried. It was as if he’d stopped breathing for a bit. He smiled, half – heartedly, and gave her his best reassuring look.

“ I’m all right. Honestly! I just, I realised the enormity of the last few hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found Scotland Yard in my flat looking over my work from the last couple of years or so. No worries m’love! They’re more concerned with dousing the fires of war than they are with putting me through the ringer, yes? So please, finish your breakfast. At least I don’t have to stop at my bank and we could even do some shopping – I’m sure you won’t mind helping me find something less ragged and maybe an outfit or two for you?” Naikeeah seemed to revive again. The colour came back to her face and she took a deep breath. “ Thank you. I’ve never been formally shopping in London before! Could we visit Herrods? Or maybe Selfridge’s? What I appear to be wearing is, in fact, a part of me – my scales you see – and I think It would be wondrous… if… I … Are you sure you’re all right?”

Longfellow was taken aback by the admonition that when she transformed into a human part of her was her clothing?! Naikeeah patted him on the back as they finished their meal and made for the shopping district.

True to his word, he did buy her two outfits. One of the latest from the new summer wardrobe complete with ankle high shoes, hat and parasol plus something for the explorer type with a pith helmet, tweed ladies jacket and riding trousers with knee high boots. When Longfellow went to try on his new wardrobe he discovered that his wound was not only fully healed – it looked like only his shirt got ripped!

The two ate lunch at Piccadilly Square before going to the train station and heading north. The duo stopped in Holmfirth and Longfellow showed Naikeeah his work lab, living area and garage where he kept some of his more adventurous inventions – including the personal flying machine replete with fold – away metal wings and steam powered engine behind a porcelain back plate.

He even showed her his version of a Caver Ship! His only dilemma was how he was going to launch the thing into space. Two days later, the government did come calling – someone from the ministry of Foreign Affairs plus two of Scotland Yards finest met him as he was attending to his post.

A mister Havershime, Ronald Marcus Havershime to be precise as he presented himself, was astounded at how he and his Scottish girlfriend were able to survive a perilous fall and make it to Bournemouth without any assistance. Longfellow was a tad sheepish as he answered. “ Well, mister Havershime, I’m just a really good swimmer and we did – Nikki and I – caught the odd lucky break. So, I’m sure you’re curious as to the reason why we were in such a predicament?”

Mister Havershime and Longfellow then got to the point of it all. Having memorised the material, he told the agent of the ministry about the formula he was entrusted with by the old professor and world renowned inventor. Both the men from the Yard were particularly riveted as Longfellow recounted how he managed to escape – leaving out the bits about Naikeeah being a dragon of course.

Havershime shook Longfellow’s hand after the meeting and assured him that if he needed to testify before the parliament that he would be contacted officially by Ronald himself! He then went on to tell Longfellow and Naikeeah to consider themselves conscripted in her majesty’s service.

The young inventor was somewhere between sacred to death and elated by the sudden news. He went to bed with Naikeeah hugging him for all she was worth, but just as he nodded off – his eyes snapped open. He was back on the pier at the Isle of Mann! It was a dream. But such a realistic one! He then became aware of the fact he was in the arms of … Naikeeah!

She looked at him with a warmth and kindness that made him forget he was in an embarrassing position. He put his face in his hands when he noticed something miraculous; They looked young and vital! There were no liver spots or signs of ageing what so ever.

Naikeeah put him down gently as his clothes now seemed too big. He looked at her as she smiled invitingly at him. For what ever reason you could imagine – he kissed her! He kissed her as warmly and lovingly as he could. If this was the after life, then it could only be heaven. When he broke his romantic embrace and caught his breath again, she spoke.

“ My gift for you my love! Your youth.” She bowed before wrapping her arms around him. All he could do was hug her back before speaking. “ All these years and you never forgot! I thought I’d lost you… I….” She silenced him with a slight cough. “ There is another reason my love…” She turned to the ocean and whistled. From just beyond the pier a small figure leapt out. It was a little girl! She had his eyes and smile. Naikeeah turned back to Longfellow.

“ Yes, Longfellow, this is our daughter! And she really wants to hear about our adventures – all of them. ”

The next day, the local newspaper led with two stories; One was about the disappearance of a known inventor and war hero who apparently fell off the pier, never to surface and a highly suspect to outlandish article about sea monsters – a family to be precise – seen by the same dock briefly before apparently heading towards Scotland… but that’s another tale, as are all of Longfellow’s adventurous endeavours in the name of the queen and country.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten my promo out of the way and my publishers probably giving me the evil eye…
To conclude on my future ~
The soonest that Camden’s Follies Series 2 is available will be in September. And YES! you WILL have to read the first 4 BOOKS – no skimming! – to keep up with the story… NO CHEATING!
The proposed Cable series or Nettflix deal is yet to be reached, though YouTube is still on the table with some of the others…
Just not Sy – Fy and their idiots.. EVER!

So, you’re caught up. Elder Offensive 2 is on its way… maybe…

Till next time,

~ The Pirate Poet

Okay, revisiting a short story because, well, why not?

From a Submission, ages ago…

Lor’afa

© 2015 Jon Corres Pirate Poet

The Hoverat or hover chariot stood motionless over the sand dune. A trading and space port stood pristine and vibrant over the spot that once held a stone keep. The fortress fell a decade prior, and at a cost that young princes Lor’afa felt was too dear. Her eyes stung with bitter tears as the vision of the captain of her guard lay dead before her in the burnt out rubble crossed her mind.

Silently, she cursed herself for being so callous, unfeeling and cruel to such an honourable young man. Despite Jora’l’s consistent efforts at being kind, considerate and loyal she had treated him worse than a slave. That tragic day, it had dawned on her as she was being led away from the battle. Jora’l had saved her from a great support beam from falling on her after a cannon round found the inner citadel. He laid her down between her other personal guard after running her through near white hot fire to get her to safety. He declared the others to stay with her until her father could arrive with relief and then only move if the structure began to weaken. Jora’l then ran back into the inferno to buy time for the small group to be rescued.

That was the last time she saw him alive. He chanced one final look in her direction. Was it resignation in his eyes did she see? For what seemed an eternity the princess saw a glimpse of the inner pain that her protector carried within. Then, he disappeared and she found herself being forcefully held back and carried in the direction of the delivery doors.

The rest, as she adjusted her Hoverat, was a blur of activity she thought she’d never should have survived. Admittedly, it was a small raid by an overly ambitious prince. On the other hand, it was a diversion for a larger force of arms that her father, King Olan’m was grimly prepared for. Skiffs and other craft arrived within moments of her being escorted from the besieged fortress.

She was covered in soot and was coughing for all the smoke, but still she held out hope for Jora’l. There was a lot between them, but the least she could do was be sure she thanked him properly. It never occurred to the pampered princess just how deep the captain of her guard felt for her till after the siege.

Lor’afa ignored the pleas of her beleaguered remaining guards and made for the ruins. She could see her father’s advanced guard and his personal battle wagon coming across the desert sea as she carefully made for the citadel that Jora’l had made for. Near the top that was now sitting five stories lower in the sand she found her gallant knight.

His eyes were fixed upon his right hand as his left lay across his lap. It was clear he had passed some time earlier. His quarry, the power mad prince was pinned against the wall with a sword through his heart. A permanent look of shock, anger and fear in his eyes. Then, slowly, as she leaned over to see if Jora’l was dead she noticed what was in his clenched right hand. Gently, she removed the item and found to her shock and amazement that it was a favour she herself had given him years ago! Lor’afa stayed frozen as the memories, mostly bad, came flooding back to her.

All the recollections of times she acted like a pompous twit and treated him worse than a mere slave assailed her like darts hurled by an angry hunter. What crushed her was when she looked into Jora’l’s dead eyes.

There were tears! He knew his time had come and all he could think of was her. That was the sadness and resignation she witnessed before he died. This scared veteran, a man who looked much older than his years, had cared so much for her that he was willing to take the mistreatment and cruelty just to be at her side. It had never occurred to Lor’afa to see him such a light. His bravery, honour and courage – all devoted to her out of unrequited love.

All that price paid and all he had to show for it was a kerchief. This was the lesson her mother spoke of and that Jora’l had hinted to in the past. She found herself gently kissing his cheek before sitting back on her feet and crying like a baby for what seemed for ever. Some time later, Lor’afa knew she had been helped to her feet, to meet her father who was concerned for her.

She steadied herself and ignored hand maids, her weak fiancée and the doctors to walk directly to Olan’m. The conversation was brief and Lor’afa had it burned in her memory. She thrust the bloodied and lightly burnt favour at him.

“ Did you know this? All this time? Why didn’t you tell me?! WHY?!”

The king locked eyes with his bereaved daughter. He shifted in his own blood stained and charred armour uncomfortably before waving aside his attendants and quieting the throng around him and answering as calmly and gently as possible.

“ Some lessons must be learnt the hard way. We both tried – Jora’l and I, as did your mother, but you wouldn’t or weren’t ready to hear it or learn it for yourself. Your stubborn mentality, borne from me I believe, was never really tempered with your mother’s kindness. There were times when Jora’l and I would have loved to have shaken you or do something to awaken you to your plight. However, I, as he knew, couldn’t force you to do something or acknowledge anything you were against doing.”

He paused to quell his urge to both cry and scream. “ As a parent, I had to let you make choices – decisions – for yourself. They were your problems and you had to grow up to see the solutions for what they were. I could never have helped you and it wouldn’t have been fair to you if I had. I have to say I am as devastated by the loss of Jora’l as you are; More so as he was the finest protector of your personal guard. Not to mention, he was the closest to a son that I had ever had! Yes, I knew he loved you – deeply. That cloud over your eyes, it worried us both to death. All I am going to say is; If you really did or do care about Jora’l, then you’ll become the woman and leader he, your mother and I all know you are! Don’t let this sacrifice be in vane! Now go and let the healers and doctors see to you. There are many who lost their lives today and as much as I’d like to mourn, I am a king, first and foremost.”

Ten years and those words still stung and haunted her. Ten long years and finally Lor’afa had found the courage to come back. She wanted to scream to the heavens for the divine pantheon to give her back her true love. Once more, as a decade prior, she found herself on her knees in tears. She never married the popinjay. Her heart had found what it sought and would never let it go till she passed on. She found her strength once more, stood and as she looked up she could swear she saw Jora’l standing on a nearby dune. His coal black eyes were softened by a kind smile that played over a well cropped beard. The image nodded sadly at her and pointed to its heart. Before it faded from view, the spirit of Jora’l bowed one final time and disappeared.

A promo for a friend and colleague…

Greetings oh people of the page and readers. This is going to be a brief plug for a friend and fellow author. During times like this, it’s nice to give a book shout instead of the usual flames as of late.

https://www.blkdogpublishing.com/vulture-king

This is a very fascinating fantasy! The blurb definitely catches the eye and I’m sure that it will be a very exciting and fun read! Please, get this one for yourself – especially if you’re into the fantasy genre – or for a local library!

And while you’re at it… do look over past blogs for links to other indie authors and artists and don’t hesitate to be a kind reader and give them a look..

For now, yours truly

~ The Pirate Poet

A thought, insight (?) and a few other rants, concepts and such…

Okay, this has been a ROUGH week or so. I admit, things have been coming to a head for a while on the political and social fronts. I truly feel for the people who suffer the injustices that have been ocurring for the last century plus now.
That being said, my first rant is :
Lay off Classic Literature. Period. It’s not to be blamed for every racist, sexist outburst from brain dead morons who still think that Christian White Males are the absolute rulers of the world.
Like the violence they enact or foster on others, it doesn’t matter which book it is they quote. The fact is, they have this ingrained in their very psyche/soul by parents and other family members who harbour this rubbish way of thinking.
If we truly want to move forward, sheltering from the past is a BIG no – no. Literature reflects the times, society and the upbringing of the author and if they grew or simply fell in line to the mentality of the crowd.
Popular culture – a few dictating to the many – tells what is acceptable and not these days. This is rubbish. This is turning people into reactionary automatons and not people.
Maybe some day, the point will make itself clear. Some day, we’ll solve and prevent such massive injustice as opposed to hindering or preventing it.
End of first rant ( Maybe more )

For now, on to Poetry… This is something I wrote a while ago, say a day or two… Please enjoy and maybe consider the words for a moment, if you would be so kind.

Moon Night

The rising moon looks balefully down
Would it so, the paying of respects
To bless a the departed on their way
Make for the shadows
Skirt the curtain of night
Have a care upon moors
On the streets, doubt the light
Of lone haunting wails
A hum of tears shed in grief and anger
All from on high, the dancing lights abound
A Dance of many movements
A song of fury and lament
Clean are the ways made by the blood of innocent and impure alike
What calls this madness on?
So few seem to recall
Only the reaper has the toll
None shall reveal, for only the extinguished lights can shed answers
Their voices are too distant to be understood
Shall we forget, as in dreams or nightmares come morning light?
To when do we owe more than homage for each candle?
For heavenly light to shine, life must be full
Lest the skies, even the moon, fail to illuminate

Now, to the news of the publishing variety …
I am , oh so close to finish typing up Elder Offensive: Ammutseba’s Stand. I just need the liquid courage, er, the added motivation to do so. Please, forgive me, killing characters off is a chore sometimes and I want the deaths not to be boringly predictable, okay?

Okay – Next Rant or rather observation ~
You really want change? Change how you look at things and things will change. That’s the broadstroke look. Basically, you have the power within you. No one can take that from you – EVER! If you feel you don’t have it or someone is messing with you mojo – Take charge. Reconnect with that inner strength and never let anyone talk you out of using it.
To change what’s going on the in the world, we have to embrace the true meaning of 2012. It’s the end of the world ” As We Know It “. Not the physical end. Not even all our lives wiped out.
The way we were doing things was off base, off kilter and just not working. The system is broken, needs to be tossed and how we put people in office needs a 180 degree turn.

  1. We need representatives – law enablers, NOT law makers.
  2. Listening is a PRIMARY skill requirement. You may get all across the spectrum ideas, but you’re encouraging and inviting all in the process. They may not like you, but you will have their consideration and will be more active in a helpful way rather than destructive
  3. Next, no more meme’s, commercials or anything for radio and television. You’re supposed to be showing your worth for the job of representative/president/etc. – This is not a Game Show or Reality T.V audition.
  4. Finally, for voters – Enough with the 3rd – Nth party idiocy. It’s a job interview that could potentially change thousands, millions or billions of lives and liveliehoods. Forget the sound good, sound bites, video clips, etc. VOTE WITH YOUR CONSCIENCE! THINK! Don’t ever, EVER, believe your vote is for nothing. It’s your right, voice and power – fight for it. Make the system count you as a person!


This is also not a ” I voted and that’s it ” siuation. This is step one. The first step. Next is keeping your candidate and your system honest. Don’t just stand there and let them walk all over you. Hold your candidate responsible and accountable. Make the system stay honest and if someone interferes from the outside, re do the election till you get it right – THIS IS IMPORTANT! No one is above the law. And if you want to break the debt cycle, hold people of the 1% accountable it is imperative you stay the course.

Next, and finally, please stay safe and well! When the dust settles and the fires are put out, maybe we’ll see how and where we should have changed to avoid this – All of it.

~ The Pirate Poet