Test of the new WordPress app on Pocket Brain 4.
Unbeknownst to the trailblazers, cowboys or outlaws that kicked dust through the Badlands; on a stage of clouds a muddled waltz commenced as airships docked with The Colorado.
Each of the four smaller airships in the Aces High Fleet was spacious and comfortable in their own right. With quarters for ten people and servants, a living room and a kitchen, Airships Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs were a heavy burden of luxury held aloft by a titanic balloon that stretched far beyond the girth of their attached gondolas.
The Colorado, however, was Missouri Class.
Strong headwinds gave way under six stout propellers each ploughing the five luxury airship liners through the skies; their pace inexorable, though ponderous, and quite unlike the flurry of activity inside.
Cards fluttered from deck to hand and chips splashed in pools of red, white and blue at the centre of the green-felt table, as the 7th Annual Aces High Poker Tournament went into full swing. The table was for the best gamblers, or those who could afford to lose their $10,000 stake; and the speed of play was such that it ran on greased rails. Eyes glimpsed at cards as they fell to the table, glances took in the assembled opponents, sifting tells from bluffs, and chips appeared and disappeared in their hands, dancing through their fingers before they were thrown into the pile. Continue reading
Straining against stout lengths of chain, eager to take to the sky, five mighty airships struggled to be free of the city of Phoenix; each vessel filling with men of riches and skill, treated to the interior of the gondola, whose polished finery glittered like the spring sun across a brook.
This was lost to Marshal Wendell Caine who, operating under the guise of Bethany Cartwright’s manservant, was surrounded by valets, maids and luggage as they entered through the less glamorous cargo hold. Baggage handlers heaved and sweated as they hauled trolley after trolley of luggage, under the imperious direction of stately servants in pressed suits of black and grey, starched shirt collars unyielding under the perspiration of high noon in Arizona.
The Mountain Marshal’s attire was fighting on a losing war on more than one front though. While Caine had capitulated to wearing more layers than his usual garb of a pair of overalls, he had been unyielding in his views of bathing and grooming; the result a forgone conclusion as starched cotton was no match for the sweat and grime that had been gathering its forces for a little over a year. Wool and tweed were slaughtered under a two-part assault of a heavy lunch of bacon and beans as well as two heavy crates – laden with the late Spokey Sampson’s counterfeit money – that Caine insisted he was capable of carrying aboard. Continue reading
A creak, a pop and a low groan sang out as the iron-black and dusty brown steam engine began rolling toward Phoenix, though the chorus of complaints did not come from the engine, but rather from the cabins containing Hans Octavius Wilhem, Wendell Caine and an unhitched and unharnessed Jac Lightning. Continue reading
“You want me to do what!” Continue reading
Jac Lightning gasped!
There wasn’t anything of woman-born that got the Lightning Marshal to do more than raise an eyebrow or narrow a stare – being that the Lightning clan were possessed of a confidence that meant any surprise could, at worst, be shot dead – but for Hans Octavius Wilhem and Wendell Caine, the prospect of racing to their partner’s aid was outdone by the fact that she’d be fixing to shoot somebody and what had caused her to gasp was, in part, their fault.
There were even fewer things got Jac Lightning into petticoats, dresses and corsetry.
One knee braced against her back, two hands pulling back on string that would make any beast of burden, no matter how mistreated, thank its rider for their kindness; the Lightning Marshal swore things to Annie, one of the girls of Etheric Delighs, that would turn the most vicious desperado into a whipped cur.
Annie kept tugging, Jac’s epithet lost as air bolted out of her lungs like a stallion near a wasp nest. The girl had something on her side that trumped a Lightning’s curse:
A Lightning’s pride; and Jac Lightning was going to be a lady, dammit!
EARLIER Continue reading