The Airship Hollow Nimbus was painted a dark, murky grey in order to blend in, to be mistaken for a storm cloud. Dark armor plating protected the underbelly of the balloon. Harpoon guns and cannons pointed at low angles, towards the ground. This ship was made for causing trouble below it.
“We’ve got them now,” said Captain Everett Byrne.
His Quartermaster, Hickman, smiled and turned to the cabin girl, “Now, Zula, let’s repeat: What are you looking for down there?”
“I’m to find where they’re keeping the bank notes, sir.”
Her Vibranni tail pushed against the deck, wet from the light rains. She gripped her parachute pack tightly and double checked that her grappling hook gun was secure just in case. She didn’t know how to swim, but if she were to stay on board the ship, she’d have to prove herself. Not everyone aboard was convinced of her worth.
The ship sat in the storm, lights out. It lowered slowly towards the ship below.
“Go, go, go!” said someone behind her.
The plank was one of the things that terrified her most, but she was now leaping steadfast off of it. Her heart leapt into her throat as she plummeted. The parachute opened before she had time to realize she’d pulled it.
She slowly drifted towards the ship, trying to decide where she would try to land. The rain and the light wind made this dark night eerily peaceful. She was starting to be real comfortable with maneuvering the parachute.
Without warning, a voluminous foghorn blasted through the night air, and a blinding white light surrounded Zula.
“What? They had a guard-ship! Ascend, ascend!”
“No, give the cabin girl a chance!”
Zula realized she had only one shot to try and grapple her way back to the ship or she’d be drowned, or worse, captured and put into hard labor.
She spun herself around and a bullet flew past her, just scraping the parachute edge. The grappling hook came out of its holster after considerable fighting with straps. She attached the end of the rope to her hand, lifted the heavy device, and aimed high at the ship.
The rope began pulling near-instantly, and it made throwing the parachute off incredibly difficult. Once the chute was detached, however, she had to commit to the arduous climb up it. She couldn’t fall back down without instant death awaiting her.
“You can do it, Zula. You’re a pirate now.”
She pulled the weight of her swinging frame with her arms. She was stronger since she forced herself to strength train, but her heart was audible and her vision blurry from rain and fear. It didn’t help that the ship was running from its pursuer.
It took time, but she eventually made it to the safety nets below. She secured herself to the ropes and watched as their gunner, Vivian, shot the enemy ship out of the sky while the navigator, Tompkins, kept the ship floating higher to stay above it.
The explosions lit up the night sky, and Zula passed out, dangling from the ship.