Aether Age: Helios, excerpt

 

FIRST STEP, LAST BREATH

 

by

 

Jaym Gates

 

Horus Class 7 rose above the gravel-field, slowly filling the banks of windows. Massive, black, it blotted out the smaller islands behind it.

The ship banked slowly, rocking as the small asteroids bounced off of her iron-clad sides and ran through the net tunnels to shower harmlessly around the ship.

“Drop anchor over the center of the island,” said Moset. “We don’t have long until the rock moves out of the Aether.”

The navigator nodded, turning the wheel. Engines belched and men scrambled through the rigging. A tiny asteroid, barely the size of a pea, pinged off of a sailor’s helmet, having slipped through the nets. The man cursed, the sound carrying down into the control room.

“The Aether is different here,” remarked the alchemist. “I’ve never seen it so purposeful.”

“We are in the thickest reaches of the band,” said Moset, “but so near the dark edge, the Aether becomes strange and unpredictable.”

“Sir, storm approaching!” cried the lookout, his voice echoing through the voice-horn.

“TAKE COVER!” cried Moset, throwing open the hatch. Out here, in the ‘beaches’, the belts of gravel and sand caused by the erosion of larger islands, a storm could be particularly deadly. The nets siphoned off larger rocks that might cause damage, and the iron exoskeleton surrounding the ship knocked away the rocks too large to be held by nets. But a storm so close to the island, where gravity was so unpredictable and the rocks so small, could easily scuttle the ship.

 

Continued in Aether Age: Helios, available from on Amazon.

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