The Ships of Delgado

a story
flash-fiction
2017-11-05 09:52:58
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“Did you get a look at that asymr engine!” exclaimed the bar patron over his beer.

“It’s incredible I tell ya! Orr has not seen anything like it!” boasted his companion.

“Bah!” scoffed an old man seated next to them, hunched over his drink at the bar. “What would either of you know of asymer?”

The two men huddled up either side of the drunken figure.

“Why, it’s the blessing of the Technocracy,” one replied.

“Yeah, they made it, and now Antiford will be greater than ever,” said the other.

“They didn’t make squat,” the old man grumbled before taking a drink from his glass. “Stole it they did, and it ain’t nothing new either. They’re just playin you for suckers.”

The two men smirked to each other in disbelief and patted the old man on the back as they chuckled, but he quickly swatted them off.

“It’s true I tell ya,” the old man barked. “He looked to them with his eyes screwed up tight. “Ever wonder how the Arbiter stays up without any ballast? Hmm? Or the Manticore?”

“With all those big propellers, right?”

“Ha, the Maticore went down years ago,” scoffed one of the men.

“I meant before that!”

“Okay,” the other man said humoring the old man. “Tell us. We want to know.”

“During the Prush war, the Technocracy was up against the ropes. They were in too deep and nothing was going to save them, especially with all the great houses gone after the revolution. Only one house remained, Delgado. But they had no airships left.”

The old man took another drink.

“But they had sailing ships,” he nodded. “Big ones too. Some of the biggest Orr had ever seen. They had been useless in the air war of the revolution, which is why they survived, but now the Technocracy was desperate.”

“Are you saying…”

“Shut it,” scoffed the old man. “As I was saying, your so called saviors were desperate. They reached out to every mind in Antiford as to how they could get those puppies airborne. A great scientist came forward with a theory, asimer, but it was untested. For months they ran tests. They almost gave up too when the Golden Lance exploded in a purple ball of fire, taking a dozen lives. Shame.”

The two men glanced at each other as they weighed the truth of the tale before settling up closer to the old man.

“But with the empire on the line, they kept at it and eventually figured it out. Well, enough so as to get three ships in the air. The Manticore, The Justicar, and The Arbiter.” The old man counted out each on his frail fingers.

“They turned the tide of the war immediately. Those Prush bastards didn’t know what hit ‘em. The Justicar didn’t make it, and yes, the Manticore went down shortly after, but every man in Argenstrath has seen the Arbiter. Biggest of the three, it still dwarfs those Technocratic bootlegs.”

“If the Technocracy has had asimer this whole time, how come they haven’t shown us before?”

“It wasn’t perfected,” the old man sighed. “They got lucky with those three ships, but the inventor disappeared before the war ended.”

“How do you know this stuff?” one of the men asked doubtfully.

The old man pulled the cuff of his jacket back to reveal an intricate tattoo of a sword with one word across the blade, “Justicar.”