The Sadie Hawkins

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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?

Armando Lupiz 5/9/2018 10:18pm

The three-eyed purple llama trade is a bit rougher than we were led to believe. Wooley Shebs they call them, and the most powerful families compete so aggressively for them they're not beyond piracy, hijacking, and other forms of armed robbery to take them from one another. It's clear why no one else is willing to take this work, but they've also discovered that the Sadie Hawkins is no pushover. We're well equipped to handle the limited weapons technology of these planetoid dwellers, and though I'd be happy to just cut our losses and leave this latest shipment of Wooley Shebs happily grazing in a meadow of singing flowers high on a mountaintop, we still have repairs to make and key components to purchase from the locals. So for now we continue to keep a close watch on the skies and take extra precautions (and armaments) to every delivery and pickup we have scheduled.

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

Armando Lupiz 4/23/2018 10:49pm

We’ve taken some pick-up work on this backwater moon as we effect repairs on the ship. The cargo doors were torn from their hinges when the stowaway ejected with the chrysalis in the bathysphere. Though the crew would have her hide for getting us into that peril, she was also responsible for saving the ship, so they’re willing to call it just short of even.

There are apparently very few merchant dirigibles on this tiny planetoid, so plenty of need for our services. A sort of three-eyed purple llama is the livestock of choice for the elite class here, and it facilitates their trade greatly to have them transported so quickly over long distances. As a bonus, their manure smells like lavender, and is said to have a soothing effect when made into tea. The crew has yet to test this assertion.

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

Billy Nails 4/7/2018 10:40pm

That stowaway turned out to be a real star, huh kid? I knew she had the right stuff the moment I first laid eyes on her, hiding in that barrel. Call it my Old Airshipman's Instinct. Same way I know you're a good sort too. But don't you get any bright ideas about taking one for the team like that. You're too young. That stowaway had been around the block. Enough to know exactly what that chrysalis was, and what would happen if it woke up. If she hadn't had been swabbin' the deck just outside the hold, we'd all be goners. We hit the turbulence coming into that moon, and she knew the stakes. She gave it her all rolling the bathysphere out the cargo door. And we never got a chance to thank her.

Armando Lupiz 3/21/2018 8:27pm

The chrysalis has remained stable since its discovery. Its markings were enough to put me into an immediate state of abject fear. Luckily old Billy Nails was the only other member of the crew to recognize it, otherwise we could have a ship-wide panic on our hands. We placed it in the bathysphere in the hold and set it on the shock absorbing memory foam, which is the best we can do to protect it from vibration. I've spent hours staring at it through the tiny porthole, praying we can find a proper place to unload it before... well, before all hell breaks loose.

In the meantime, I've allowed our stowaway basic privileges. So long as she fulfils a set of daily chores to Billy Nails' satisfaction, she can move about the ship. It may be the wrong move, but frankly we can keep a better eye on her this way and not have to tie up another crew member with guard duty.

Everybody on board has got to earn their keep, if they're not a paying customer.

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

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