Skyjackers: Episode 1: A Proper Nuisance (Skyjackers: Season One)

Skyjackers: Episode 1: A Proper Nuisance (Skyjackers: Season One) by J.C. Staudt Read Free Book Online

Book: Skyjackers: Episode 1: A Proper Nuisance (Skyjackers: Season One) by J.C. Staudt Read Free Book Online
Authors: J.C. Staudt
head perpetually wrapped in a flight cap and goggles.
    “Captain?” said Manchester.
    Jonathan grunted to his feet. “Yes, Manchester. It’s me.”
    “Thank the heavens you aren’t dead, Captain.”
    “Why would I be dead?”
    “Do you know how many people have been captured by the Caines
and lived to tell of it?”
    “How many?”
    “I’ll find you a mirror.”
    “You can’t be serious.”
    “The men been talking, Cap’n,” Bigsby said. “Word round the
ship is you’re mad as a loose screw.”
    Let them talk , Jonathan thought. “Speaking of the Maelstrom …
what took you so long?”
    “My apologies, Captain. Mr. Harlow couldn’t remember the name
of the village you’d called from. We tried to ring back, but you’d gone.”
    “Dear gods, you mean I was almost stuck here indefinitely?
How ever did you find me?”
    “Harlow remembered, sir.”
    Jonathan shook his head in disbelief. “We should get back.
About time we made our triumphal return to Finustria.”
    “What’s in the sack?”
    Jonathan smiled. “Something that’s going to make the Admiral
very happy.”
    ***
    Benedict surveyed the newly repainted Cloudhopper with
pride. “We ready to lift off, then?”
    Junior stood at attention, fully dressed for adventure. “Sure
are, Dad.”
    “Right then. Mr. Parsons, if you would be so kind as to tell
Goodfellow he did an excellent job on my ship’s sign the second time round.
Also, he’s fired, on account of the first time round.”
    “Yes, Commodore.” Parsons bowed and took his leave.
    Benedict heard the chugging of a steam engine above him and
turned skyward. “Say, what’s the Hummingbird doing aflight? Poleax
making off with another of my daughters? Disgusting creature.”
    “No, Dad. Actually, Uncle Poleax felt so bad about earlier,
he offered to help with the horse-napping. Says he’ll transport the whole herd
for us.”
    “I’ve told you, Poleax is not your—and it isn’t a herd, it’s
a—never mind. Very well, just keep an eye on him. See that he doesn’t bugger
off with the beasts while we’re looking the other way.”
    “Yes, Dad.”
    “You know what’s got my gut all a-tingle, June Bug?”
    “I’d rather not, Dad.”
    “Well it isn’t last night’s dinner, I’ll tell you that. It’s
Poleax. He’s pickier than a one-fingered man with a sinus infection. Not only
that… he runs that ship tighter than a porpoise’s blowhole. I don’t foresee him
enjoying a deck full of sweaty four-legged breeders any more than you would have.
What do you suppose he’s up to?”
    “I don’t think he’s up to anything,” Junior said with a
shrug. “It was just very important to him that he make it up to you… that whole
business with Lily.”
    “I’ll tell you,” Benedict said. “Why I allow a man like that
to remain here and corrupt my children is beyond my reckoning.”
    “You wouldn’t find it a problem if one of us ever did decide we didn’t want to be a pirate. Would you, Dad?”
    “Don’t be ridiculous,” Caine said. “All your sister Lily
needs is a bit of toughening up. She’ll come round. Believe you me, son. Now
let’s go hold a bunch of half-ton sperm factories for ransom, shall we?
Remember to watch your altitude. You know what happens to airships that fly too
close to the sun.”
    Father and son boarded their respective craft and lifted off
into the night.
    ***
    Back at the mansion, Vivian went to Lily’s room for a
sisterly heart-to-heart. Little did she know, she was about to find Lily’s
heart emphatically disinterested.
    “What’s going on with you, Lil?” Vivian asked, taking a seat
on the bed.
    Lily sniffled and covered up her flushed cheeks, then said
something into the blankets.
    “What was that? I can’t hear you when you mumble like that.”
    “I said I want Mr. Mittens.”
    Vivian threw a disdainful glance at the fluffy gray cat
prowling the dresser. Vivian had had it out with Lily’s cats on more than one
occasion. Mr.

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