Monday, July 19, 2010

Brangxi Airship

The fourteenth response in the One Lovely Blog Award Series is to Isabel Joely Black's flash story "Organize!", a Stepford wivish tale of the pink party planners.

Mostly working-class gents queued at the airship's mooring waiting for the alien ensign to wave them through, but Terrance spied an occasional well-to-do banker, or even a Lord, with his tailored waistcoat and cravat as eager as any of the others. Spittle splashed against the crate where Terrance hid. A fluorescence marred the alien saliva as flecks of tobacco swirled in its midst and Terrance pressed further into the shadows where he hoped the alien checking the balloon's rope rigging wouldn't see him. No one had returned from the first ship, Terrance was baffled why the men looked so avid, as if a football pitch lie on the other side of the gangplank. There had to be a catch to the conquerors's offer.

The ensign roped off the mooring and climbed the gangplank. Terrance sprinted from his hiding place, a half-squad of the aliens, or Brangxi, released the mooring cables to twist in the airship's boiler exhaust, a breath of burnt rubber. Terrence twisted past one of the Brangxi, the alien swatting at him, and leaped for the cable. Below him, the Brangxi rolled shoulders thicker than Terrance's legs.

"Mother country, what have I done?" muttered Terence. Arm over arm, Terrance pulled himself up, his arms twitching. He refused to look at the ground, but knew the airship lifted him and the mooring rope further from Parliament Square. Finally, he heaved himself on board. A squad of Brangxi airmen moved about the planks beneath the rope-rigged balloon. The wooden trimming of the gunwale left a crawlspace underneath and Terrance slipped into it.

Terrance crawled, hidden by the wood sidings until he neared a coil of rope that mostly hid him from view. The sun dipped below the balloon's belly on the port side and they passed through the floating steel-girder mouth of the Brangxi portal. Why would the Brangxi bring a boat full of human chattel back to their world?

Shouts rose from belowdeck, human voices. Terrance squinted against the green-tinged sun. A Brangxi lifted a man before tossing him overboard.

Terrance scrambled from his hiding place. He leaned over the airship's edge on the starboard side and saw the flailing man appear. They flew thousands of meters above the ground over a city. The man decreased in size becoming a dot. An explosion rocked the city below.

"What are you doing?" Harsh Brangxi syllables.

Terrance jumped onto the wooden rail. A Brangxi towered over him, twice his size. Terrence shinnied the rope rigging, but the Brangxi plucked him off the rope. The alien belched, a humid wind of rotting eggs settled over Terrance before he was pitched overboard.

Careening against the deck, he flailed at the coiled rope and his fingers locked onto it as he fell over the edge. The rope snapped tight, jerking. He slipped two feet leaving blood, his blood, staining the fibers.

One of the Brangxi dove off the side of the ship and extended his arms, metal reinforced leather ribbing snapped out of the Brangxi as he banked to approach Terrence hanging from the ship. As the alien flew past, it kicked at Terrance's hand, knocking one arm from the rope. Terrance hung feebly. The Brangxi turned to approach again. Terrance bunched his legs jumping upwards to release the rope as he rose in an arc and landed on the Brangxi's back.

They tumbled in a barrel roll as the Brangxi twisted an arm to punch at Terrance. A rib cracked. Terrance got an arm around the alien's neck. They twisted through the air, which whistled past. The Brangxi bent his neck biting at Terrance's hand around his neck. Terrence yanked on the Brangxi's parachute and the pack tore loose from the man as Terrance spun hurtling head over foot through the air.

Terrance held the Brangxi's pack tight to his chest as he dove towards the ground. The Brangxi tried to follow, but his wings and bulkier body created too much resistance and he fell behind. As the ground neared, Terrance fumbled with the pack, almost losing it but at last the parachute streamed out with a crack that almost yanked the pack out of his hands.

He landed, surrounded by orange-skinned people with misshapen heads.


  1. Thanks for dropping by the blog, and the kind words. Trainer socks - what was i thinking?! You have a great writing style here, very visual. Some great prose so keep it up!

    Thanks again,


  2. Crap, but what happens next? Why did they throw the humans overboard? Who are the orange-skinned people? What the heck's going on here?

  3. Rick, Thanks.

    Stephen, I'm sensing there will be a part two, since I know the answers. ;)

  4. Oh yes I have questions too. Why were they rounding up humans in the first place? Why were the humans eager? Why was Terrance climbing on board with a parachute? I'll stay tuned.

  5. Hi Tea, "with a parachute": he wasn't (possibly should have). I added a minor tweak thinking it might not be obvious that he took the Brangxi's parachute. Thanks for the questions!