The Sadie Hawkins

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Billy Nails 2/19/2019 8:50pm

See what I told you, kid? This is why we never leave crew behind.

Sure, it was cold, and we didn't have anything left to eat but those eels the old toothless hag kept bringing to us and throwing on the fire, but when the sky ripped open and that purple flame came out I just knew it was all working out. When Sparkleshine poked her nose out and came wafting through on her plasma plume, it's like I'd already seen it happening all before, just like that. And when Starry Skye hopped off and dumped that big bag o' mail at our feet I just knew it was all for a reason.

That old cackling hag seemed to know it too, when she scrambled up to the bag and started digging through it, letters flying everywhere. I know I shouldn't go readin' other people's mail, but here's a copy of one that landed by my feet:


Now Billy Nails knows there's lots of different languages in our universe, and you can't quite see it in a copy like this but those symbols floated above and inside the piece of silver onionskin they were writ on. I ain't seen no letters like that before.

And that old hag just keeps on cackling.

Starry Skye 1/18/2019 11:04pm

Wow there sure are a lot of new addresses here!

The homes and buildings sit perched on lumps of land floating in every direction. Occasionally connected by a rainbow bridge or a waterfall, most of the divots stand alone, sprouting grasses and mushrooms and rocky outcroppings. There's usually a clear "top," where things grow, and an "under" of dark roots and dripping stone. Hettie and I swoop between them, avoiding the clouds and rain and sky devils that pass between.

But this certainly isn't Grenderpex. It doesn't even seem to be our universe.

The natives speak a patois of languages, some of which are almost familiar. They shove envelopes into my hands with addresses neatly printed in unknown alphabets--many of them three dimensional. Or at least three dimensions I can see.

Somehow they know I'm a mail deliverer. Or they just have an intense need to communicate with people far away, writing letters to strangers, randomly inventing addresses that must exist in a universal wave function interpretation.

I'm trying to head back the way I came. Hettie's saddle bags are stuffed.

Armando Lupiz 12/16/2018 10:44pm

Still no sign of Starry Skye anywhere in the Fields of Cairn. We've traveled as far as a plasma moth can fly in day in every direction from the Castle Shard, which is the recognized central landmark for this region of Grenderpex. The natives of this region are a taciturn bunch at best, and no one was interested in mentioning their recollections of a girl riding a giant moth surrounded by blue flame passing through.

There was one old woman, toothless, dressed in rags, who insisted on dragging us deep into the cairn fields, ranting in some language not even her neighbors understand. She's insisting we decamp here. And wait. She seems calm enough now, but when I approach her and tell her we need to be on our way she becomes so agitated that I bend to her will, squatting down for another cup of her wretched, earthy tea.

Captain Armando Lupiz
(The Sky Wolf)
onboard the continuous merchant dirigible Sadie Hawkins

Billy Nails 11/10/2018 6:25pm

When you’re a real crew, kid, then nobody gets left behind. Ever. That’s why we’ve been stuck in this endless search patten for so long, tryin’ ta find a sign of that stowaway, and her flying plasma moth Sparkleshine.

I guess she’s not really a stowaway any more, not after all we’ve been through, but since we’ve never been properly introduced I don’t feel comfortable calling her by her given names. Back where I grew up, our real names were secret and sacred, and we only ever used them if things were real serious, so I’ve always been real careful with names.

But ya know, the more we scour these purple meadows and ancient cairns, the more it just makes me want to say:

Where are you, Starry Skye?

Starry Skye 10/5/2018 10:06pm

Purple skies over fields of mint. I assume they have seasons here, but the year can be odd on these tiny moons and a winter might ever come--just wispy clouds extending high into the atmosphere, the sister moons so close and visible during the day it’s hard to tell where the sky ends, or even if it does, rolling through and endless summer.

Hettie and I bob and weave around the Sadie Hawkins, honing her skills and mine at flying as a team. It’s all fun and romping as we do loops around the ship, then dive bomb a heard of two-headed gazelles and watch them bound leaping over the fields.

Custom mail delivery to remote destinations takes detective work and perseverance. When there aren’t streets, you’re stuck with “30 degrees windward of the castle shard when the noon-shadow is behind you.” There are universal spatial coordinates as well, but on the barely charted tattered edge of the map, sometimes those coordinates aren’t so universal.

Which is why Hettie and I flew flown ahead, scouting out locations.

Uh oh what's that---?

Armando Lupiz 9/3/2018 9:42pm

A mail run. A treat to be on such a run-of-the-mill journey! We've got that sack of mail from Psychic High School that needs to be delivered. Chief Mate's gone through it and sorted it along an appropriate route.

The first stop is here on Grenderpex, a mild enough moon and civilized--purple towers in the late summer sun, deep green valleys filled with butterflies. We checked in at customs where they were friendly and efficient, and more awed than frightened of the giant plasma-breathing moth we've got tagging along. After Starry Skye gave a honest description of her provenance (and the Sadie Hawkins claimed responsibility for her) their kindly old exomorph veterinarian gave her a clean bill of health and now Luna has her first official papers.

It feels good to be fully kitted out once again, all on the up and up. I'm no pirate, and prefer to do things by the book.

Captain Armando Lupiz
(The Sky Wolf)
onboard the continuous merchant dirigible Sadie Hawkins

Billy Nails 8/1/2018 10:56pm

So, you think a mail run is boring, do ya kid? Not enough action for ya? Well lemme tell ya ol' Billy Nails is perfectly happy with this pace of life, and one day you'll appreciate it too--if'n ya live that long. Like comin' within an inch of having our hides shot through with nails as long as your arm was your idea of a good time? If it hadn't been for the stowaway reappearing with that fire breathing space moth we'd all been done for. Sparkleshine, she's named it, and don't forget that our ship would have been incinerated when it hatched if that stowaway hadn't bailed out with it in the nick of time and saved us all. And all that just since our last proper port! You've got a taste for danger now, and I have no doubt you'll get a chance to taste it again--more than your fair share most likely! So you best learn to savor these quieter times, when there isn't much else to do but watch the stars go by, and see that giant purple space moth dive and flitter round us, iridescent in its magnetic field, feeding on space plankton, blowing rings of flame and flying through them as we navigate an asteroid field. Yup, kid, these are the times that make it all worthwhile.

Armando Lupiz 7/8/2018 9:38pm

It feels great to be back up in the skies again. And especially the skies between planets and moons and stars, after a rough patch like that.

Starry Skye and her Fire Breathing Plasma Moth are following close behind--or occasionally dodging up ahead of us, or around us as the Fire Moth sees fit. Ms. Skye didn't feel the moth (Luna as she calls it) was ready for her to spend significant time away, as her first trip between the stars was an especially tender moment in her development.

The appearance of Ms. Skye and her her moth certainly occurred at a propitious time--there's no way we would have made it out of that ambush without them. Plus, our hosts were so terrified of the appearance of the plasma-breathing moth (and rightly so) that they were able to hand over the precious parts the Sadie Hawkins was needing to leave that backwater moon. Still trying to get the smell of those three-eyed llamas out of the hold, and it won't be too soon, I tell 'ya, even exposed the vacuum of space.

We were able to pick up a few more important supplies, as well as possibly tradable goods, from our unfriendly hosts on that backwater moon. This includes (to my great regret) some amount of the lavender tea manure left from those Woley Shebs which is no doubt part of the stink.

So we're back on our original track, which was supposed to be a simple mail-run for those kids back at Psyhigh. That's about the speed of life I think we're all looking for at this point.

Captain Armando Lupiz
(The Sky Wolf)
onboard the continuous merchant dirigible Sadie Hawkins

Starry Skye 6/16/2018 10:28pm

Heterocera Draconus Ignis Plasmus -- the Fire Breathing Plasma Moth. I do love that fire breathing plasma part. Dragon Moth in the common parlance.

The Dragon Moth emerged from its chrysalis in re-entry. I hung on to its hairy horns and rode it to the surface. Hurtling through the atmosphere, its wings opened and caught fire, then hardened up with their radiation resistant shell. I hung on to its hairy back and barely got my eyebrows singed.

(When I took the chrysalis out the airlock of the Sadie Hawkins, can I deny I wasn't looking for a moth rodeo? Isn't this the very thing that the finest and most talented thief in the Tarantula Nebula would have planned all along? No?)

So we took a few weeks to get to know each other. Hettie (that's what I call her) probably just thinks I'm part of her, since I was attached to her from the first moment she can remember. A giant plasma-breathing space moth who thinks I'm its mommy. She's grown exponentially after emerging from the chrysalis, and now I ride her like an elephant. If an elephant had giant purple wings.

After we got our bearings, Hettie started to get agitated, her radar dish antenna twirling around and barking up a storm. She wanted to go north. We headed off and after awhile, there's The Sadie Hawkins, ambushed in a hollow with ropes and nets. She was facing small army of the planetary mafia, standing up with mortars, ballista, and primitive rail guns.

It seemed a great time to get that Fire Breathing Plasma part going on.

Billy Nails 5/27/2018 10:39pm

Just between you and me, kid, I think the Captain's in over his head this time. The Hzjcel family is the most powerful clan on this rock, and there's no way they're letting the Shnarv get these prime Woolies we're haulin. But the Shnarv are the only family who happen to own the vital parts we need to leave this purple llama ranch for good, so the Captain's taking the only choice he can, which is a rough spot, kid. You always need another way out--a plan B if things don't go your way. And I don't think the Captain's got one up his sleeve this time. So you just man your guns and duck when old Billy Nails tells ya, alright?

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