by Alarin and mayamaia
Elson was confused.
The various dials and meters on the airship had never been much more than a bunch of frustrating brass-and-glass faces to him. Templeton could read them like a book - all he ever asked Elson was which ones were in the red. He'd even made little signs so Elson wouldn't have to remember what they were all called, and when Elson had trouble pronouncing them, he'd simply numbered them.
But they had never ALL been in the red, before.
"Uh .. Temple?"
"I'm a bit busy, Elson. Just give me the numbers of any red ones!"
"Right. Numbers. Is there a convention for saying EVERY BLASTED GLASS FACE?"
"What? ... those aren't all made with glass, you know. Let me see... oh, schnitzel!"
At least Templeton got down to business rapidly, as Elson stood by trying not to be entirely useless. After a few moments of pulling levers and turning valves, Templeton ran down the stairs that connected the bridge with the level below it and through the door to the engine room, cursing between his teeth as he was lost to sight in the clouds of steam filling the hall.
And Elson would have just stood there, waiting for an order from the comm tube, if the cockpit window hadn't blown in with a crash of shattered glass. He covered his face with his arms, letting his leather gloves and thickly woven overcoat deflect the shards. Pulling his goggles down over his eyes against the wind, he spat a curse at what he saw.
The mechanical boarding party unfolded from the cylindrical shape used to fire them at enemy ships and into a short, humanoid form with nasty claws and a built in blunderbuss. Two of them blocked his path while the third turned around and aimed his arm-cannon at the controls. Elson drew his pistol and snapped a shot between the gyropirates in front of him, taking the would-be sabateur's head off moments before the other two opened fire.
Elson jumped up to grab a pipe in the ceiling and haul himself clear of the gunfire, the gyropirates' shots ricocheting around him. He kicked out with his legs and caught one of the little buggers around its neck with his feet, then wrenched it over into its companion. They clattered down into a tangled heap as he landed lightly on his feet.
Elson allowed himself a chuckle as he pulled his heavy little hatchet from the ring on his belt. Even if they HAD managed to damage the controls here on the bridge, Templeton rarely steered the vessel from here unless it was an emergency. Unsurprisingly, the good professor preferred to steer from the observation bubble - made from something he claimed wasn't glass, situated just below the bridge and fitted with a ridiculously comfortable chair, using the good controls that were built into Templeton's coat.
He made quick work of the twitching machines before they could untangle themselves, hacking away until they stopped moving. He grimmaced at the fresh oil stains his massacre had put all over his clothes. His laundry bill was ALREADY going to be bad without ...
He looked down in disbelief at the smoking barrel of a gyropirate's blunderbuss staring starkly up at him from the scrap heap he had just finished chopping at, then at a new stain rapidly growing on his shirt. He air went out of his lungs in a confused noise, and he tumbled forward and sideways onto the deck. Air came in shallow gusts - it reminded Elson of pulling a sail against a stubborn wind - as he felt the shudder of more gyropirates landing. Ever a good Skyrine, the last thing Elson did as his arms went slack was try to find his pistol.