The large silver serving platter functioned nicely as a makeshift shield. The automaton’s clockwork hand slammed against it, producing a resounding clang that echoed through the high ceilinged chamber. Skycaptain Forethought, the most renown and respected adventurer in the land, laughed from behind the platter-shield. Shoving back on it, he pushed the mechanical man away, causing it to wobble on its spindly metal legs then topple over.
Laughing again, Skycaptain Forethought pulled out the revolving pistol that he had packed earlier and shot the automaton through its clockwork heart. The mecha fell to the ground, joining the scattered heap of its fallen comrades.
Twirling the pistol around his finger before holstering it, Skycaptain Forethought turned to his plucky young accomplice. “You see, Skylass, always come prepared.”
“Yes, sir,” the young woman replied, just as another automaton charged into the room.
Skycaptain Forethought reached for his gun, but he was out of bullets. “It would seem we are done for, Skylass.”
“Not to worry, sir.” Skylass picked up the serving platter and threw it like a frisbee. The silver disc soared across the room and sliced the automaton’s head clean off. Skylass straightened up, fixed the strand of hair that had come out of her neat bun, and adjusted her corset. “And please stop calling me Skylass, sir. My name is Mimi Resourceful.”
“Nonsense, Skylass. Anyone who sails the skies with me should be proud to be called as such. To the ship! I parked her close by in case we needed a speedy getaway.”
“Very good, sir.”
Skycaptain Forethought pulled his goggles down and straightened his elaborate feathered hat before turning to the exit with a sweep of his coat. Striding across the rough stone floor, he left the underground chamber via the ladder he’d had dropped down earlier.
Mimi Resourceful gathered up their equipment and the artefact they had come to retrieve, making a pouch out of her outer skirts, and followed the Skycaptain back to the surface. There the Nimbus waited for them. The great ship already had its sails unfurled and turbines churning.
The Skycaptain and his accomplice climbed the dangling ladder into the flying ship, and the rest of the crew relieved them of their weapons and equipment.
“You got it, then?” Deckhand Interrogative asked.
“Of course!” Skycaptain Forethought plucked the artefact from Skylass before she could speak and held it up. The polished bronze orb was inlaid with gold filigree and emitted a soft glow.
“What’s it do?” the Deckhand asked.
“Well, it’s a…obviously…It’s not important.” The Skycaptain tossed the orb to Catchit Carl, not Dropit Dave who stood next to him, and turned back to his crew. “The mission went exactly as planned, right down to the number of automaton guards.”
“Actually, sir,” Skylass began.
“Exactly as planned,” Skycaptain Forethought cut her off in a loud tone. “That’s what happens, Skylads, when you come prepared.”
The Skylads cheered for the Skycaptain then ran to their posts as the Nimbus prepared to pull out. Mimi Resourceful climbed the rigging, took out her spyglass, and scanned the horizon.
“Come prepared,” she muttered to herself as the Skycaptain took the helm. “He’s only prepared as long as I’m there to make it so. I bet he wouldn’t be so prepared if someone pushed him overboard.”
Her gaze wandered back to the Skycaptain. Several other crew members stood with him, as he regaled them with tales of the mission.
“Skylass,” he called, waving her over.
Mimi Resourceful smiled. Finally, some recognition. She hurried over to the Skycaptain.
“Make us some dinner, would you?”
The Skycaptain turned back to his conversation and Mimi Resourceful was left to go below-deck to the galley. She chopped vegetables for a stew, her knife hacking into the board so that as many woodchips as vege pieces made it into the pot.
“Firstmate in six months, they said,” she grumbled. “Skycaptain in a year.”
She grabbed a carrot and slammed it down on the board, but her knife hovered above it as a new thought entered her mind. Maybe there was another way to fast track her career.
“Skylass!” The Skycaptain’s head poked into the room. “Groundcaptain Afterthought is going to drop in for dinner. Make something for him too, would you?”
“Of course, sir,” Mimi Resourceful said with her most pleasant smile, the carrot hidden behind her back.
Forethought might be his name, but she wasn’t called Resourceful for nothing. The Skycaptain tested his meat, and his wine, but no one ever suspected a carrot. Skycaptain Resourceful wasn’t far away.
FFM Day 2
Prompt: Steampunk, “the large silver serving platter functioned nicely as a makeshift shield”