Full Steam Ascent

Full Steam Ascent

A Story by Arctic Fox

A story for my English 325 class. I chose Steam Punk as my genre. THis is part one of the work. I hate the fact that we have an 8 page limit with double spacing, but oh well.


Log-line: A pistol totting airship pirate leads a reckless and free life stealing airships and their cargos.


PFC Kenneth “A.F.” Cochran

Dr. Smith’s English 325 Creative Writing: Fiction


Full Steam Ascent

The sun was just breaking past the horizon; spilling light across the land bathing the fields and cities. As the sun strove to illuminate all that lay below, a great shadow was cast from above. The shadow belonged to the airship Lenne. The airship slowly drifted on the rivers of air belching steam from the three great pipes extending up from her wooden bow.

Looking out of the glass that encased the bridge was a man dressed in black trousers and a loose red shirt. His boots were black and shone, newly polished. Two pistols sat snug in his belt; one next to an ornate cutlass. His ears were pierced with ruby studs. His brown hair was neatly cut and his face smooth from his morning razor. As ornate and regal as he appeared, it was his eyes that caught the most attention from those who were fortunate or not-so-fortunate to look him in the eyes.. They were green with a hint of a gold ring surrounding the iris.

Very few people had ever known his real name, most being dead. His crew called him Captain; his enemies called him Red. He was the first and greatest of the airship pirates that preyed on the rich factory cities and transport vessels. His target today was the airship North Star carrying steel bars from the city of Liora to the capital Telmara. The raw goods would be good for Red, but a larger prize was on that trip.

Once the Lenne was a few miles from Liora the engines were cut to low and the colors were raised. A black gear over two crossed black cutlasses flew on a field of red. The North Star’s sails rose steadily from the city’s sky port. She maintained her ascent oblivious to the Lenne whose side hatches were being raised. The Lenne cut her sails hard. The airship banked sharply to the starboard side. Sixteen ten pound cannon rolled to the hatches with chain shot loaded.

The North Star finally noticed the danger she faced as the sails moved so she would fly port side. Red smiled the futile maneuver. He nodded to his first mate Marie.

She was a beautiful woman with shoulder length brown hair. She wore men’s trousers and a red blouse with a plunging neck line. Her boots were polished and uniform newly laundered. She wore six earrings per ear and a choker with ruby studs. She had luscious curves and silver-blue eyes. She was the angel of the skies, the angel of death among female pirate.

“Fire four,” Marie yelled the command echoed from the bridge, down the hatch, and unto the cannon deck. Four cannons sent chain shot ripping through the main and fore masts, part of the hull, and a sizable chunk of the bridge. Red smiled as the North Star’s colors were hastily lowered and engines cut.

Red was no fool. They had taken a ship just miles from a city in plain view of all its citizens. The Royal Aerial Navy would already be pushing its airships into ascent. Red turned from the window and walked to his chair on a dais above the helm.

“Only four shots this time, Captain,” the second mate, Darius, said. He was a bald man with a forked beard. His broad chest was bare. His trousers were striped black and red. He wore pristine boots, that he had polished weekly by the cabin boy. He carried a scimitar across his back.

“They believe they will be saved by the R.A.N. since we took them so close to the city,” Red said as he crossed his fingers forming a makeshift chin rest.

“Hook ‘em,” Marie asked.

“Hook ‘em,” Red confirmed.

Darius who always led the boarding crew moved from the bridge out onto the main deck. The wind whipped his trousers. The boarding party stood waiting in a group with hooks and tethers. Pirates who sailed on the Lenne, regardless of their duties, all wore black trousers with red stripes and red bandanas. Some went bare chested and others wore red tunics with the sleeves cut off at the shoulders. Tattoos on their wrists denoted their job and rank. The more black stripes, the higher the rank.

“Fire the hooks,” Marie bellowed down the hatch. Two strong cannon blasts shook the airship. Massive hooks attached to chains tore into the North Star borrowing deep into her hull, holding tight.

“Full steam ahead. All engineers on deck. Due east helmsman,” Red barked, his eyes intently watching the horizon. Three airships were ascending from the R.A.N. sky docks. Great billows of steam being pushed out their great pipes. In a race among airships speed was determined by the power of her engines not the winds.

“Cut the sails, we fly on engines alone,” Red yelled to no one. There was a sudden jerk of the airship and a deep groining sound as the Lenne began hauling the North Star. He was confident the Lenne would lose the Royal Aerial Navy so he left the bridge and stepped out onto the main deck. Red preferred the fresh air and wind over the bridge any day. The boarding party was just finishing the crossing across the tether lines as he exited onto the deck. They would sweep the ship and bring the cargo and over to the Lenne along with any volunteers who fancied that the pirate life was for them.

Men came rushing up from the lower decks with cutlasses drawn and pistols aimed. Darius pulled his scimitar from his back sheath. With one hand parrying a thrust from a cutlass and the other firing his pistol, Darius looked like a freshly uncaged, ravenous beast.

“Captain’s orders! No quarter to anyone who bears arms. Let God sort them out,” Darius called over the clamor of steel against steel.

“Loyal to a fault Darius. Brains of cow and the courage of a lion. Father would be proud of you, my brother. Give them hell,” Red said as he watched his brother decapitate one of the guards.

Red had to admire the North Star even as it was being painted in blood. She reminded him of his own airship, a mixture of steel and wood. Powerful steam engines to turn the great propellers found at the rear of the ship and on the four sets of wing-like projects, two at the front and two at the rear one above the other.

Red waited a few minutes more. A man emerged from the door that led to the stairs. He waved a white and red checkered flag. They had taken the bridge, but with some of the men getting wounded. Red nodded and walked back towards his own bridge. The run would be easier with two engines over one.

The North Star was being drug over the Arian Ocean to the sky port of Haven. The crew of the North Star would be sent on various ships to be spread across the world. The airship herself would be disassembled and stored in Red’s personal warehouses set aside for the Lenne’s repairs. The airship, itself, would dock and the men would get the night to enjoy themselves as they please.

Red now lounged in his chair flatly staring at the world below him. He sighed as he leaned back, closing his eyes. Memories flashed through his mind. Memories he fought hard to repress.

Red shook his father’s hand after graduating the R.A.N. officer academy. He was the first of his family to ever serve as an officer. He wore his uniforms with honor and proud.

Red leapt over the body of his first slain enemy soldier as he led the boarding party towards the bridge. He jumped back at one of the malfunctioning cannons finally fired its hook. The hook skimmed the deck tearing one of his soldier’s in half. Red’s stomach lurched, but he refused to show emotion.

Red watched as his friend and fellow lieutenant paid the Felician Captain. Red would have killed him if not for his binding and gag. He was being sold to the enemy just so his peer would have competition for first mate.

Red scrubbed the deck with all the strength he could muster. It had been three months since he had been captured. It would be three years before he’d escape from his enemy. It was not the R.A.N. he would return to though. No, he would never be a dog of the navy again.

Captain! Sir,” one of the bridge officers yelled.

Red’s eyes snapped open wide. He looked at the men with one eyebrow slightly elevated over the other. He sat forward and crossed his fingers.

“Sir one of the R.A.N. airships is fast approaching,” the officer replied.

“What class pursues us,” Red demanded.

“A Tempest class Cruiser. Sir, she has ten side hatches open with eight pounders aimed.”

“Cut the engines to idle and engage the boosters and bloody cut to the port side. Signalman! Prepare the flags.” Red stood from his chair and walked down to the deck. The signalman followed with his case of flags preparing to relay Red’s orders.

“This goes to both ships,” Red said. The signalman nodded. A whistling sound and wet, sickening slap soon followed. Red wiped the blood from his eyes and picked up the flags himself. As a former officer he knew how to read signals. He also knew that if he used the same signals, he would be telegraphing his intentions. Red’s hand began to move the flags in his own signal language.

Open all the hatches. Ready the chain shot. FIRE!

All three ships fired within mere seconds of one another. Heavy balls attached to chains tore deep gashes in to R.A.N. vessel. Red could see the name, Victoria, painted on the side.

Red could almost feel the cannon fire rip through his hull. The more he though about it, the more furious he became. His nostrils flared and he began to signal.

Grape shot half. Cannon ball half. Aim for the bridge.

Red’s crew drilled relentlessly on cannon cleaning and reloading. They were masters at it. Before the Royal Aerial Navy could roll their cannons back forward the Lenne and the newly commandeered North Star rocked from the force of the simultaneous cannon fire.

Red walked to the railing to look over the side as the smoking remains of the Victoria plummeted towards the ground below. The wind whipped at his shirt as he replaced the flags in their carrier. Two men hurriedly came to recover the the signalman’s body.

Red walked onto the bridge. Marie walked up to him and presented him one of their sailors. Red regarded the young man before him.

“Are you the other signalman,” Red asked.

“Yes sir!”

“When your comrade was blown into two pieces; where were you?”

“Sir! I was under the deck, sir!”

“You were hiding!”

“Sir! I was scared. We’ve never been engaged while I’ve served on the Lenne.”

“We’re bloody pirates! We kill, steal, pillage, and some of you screw your brains out! We are wanted with the penalty being death. I have no room for cowards. Enjoy hell boy,” Red said as Marie painted the bridge with the signalman’s blood and brain matter. A new fervor infected the movement of the crew stationed on the bridge.

“Marie. Get us new signalmen my dear,” Red whispered in her ear. He kissed her behind the ear on her neck. He could feel the goose bumps rising on her neck.

Red signaled full the engines to fire full force. The orders were passed down to the engines room. Where coal was shoveled into the giant furnaces that provided the heat to make their steam engines run.

“To Haven!”


Haven was like any port city, built upon a hill with low stone walls surrounding the city. The houses all wood with metal reinforcements. The steam mills worked endlessly to power the daily facets of life. The cobblestone streets would be filled with all kinds of colorful characters from merchants and pirates to playing children and old fishermen. Men and women could be heard yelling their pitches from their stalls. The smell baking bread intertwined with the aroma of freshly caught fish.

A massive hangar sat at the top of the hillside city with four plain red flags flying from its corners. The Lenne came in slow before cutting her engines and coasting into the wide open doors. The Lenne as well as the North Star had her landing wheels dropped sliding to a gentle halt in the middle of the hanger.

The boarding party had all the North Star’s crew bound, gagged, and blind folded sitting on the deck in four neat rows. Several of the Red’s pirates worked to cut the lines out of the North Star. New lines and hooks would be loaded immediately. A flood of men poured into the hanger. All wore the red and black trousers of Captain Red. These men wore different bandanas though. Men wearing blue bandanas went to the Lenne to assess damages and begin repairs. They were engineers and craftsmen. Those in yellow began dismantling the North Star and moving the cargo. These men were laborers and grunts. A few men with white bandanas went to collected the wounded.

Red climbed down one of the ladders thrown over the Lenne’s side with Marie right behind him. Darius waited for Red and Marie with an older gentleman. The gentleman was bound and gagged. He wore a blue shirt and trousers with black boots. His white overcoat had a gold shield with wings denoting him the captain of the North Star. He reminded Red of a grandfather with his salt and pepper beard. He probably smoked a pipe too.

“Captain Robert Trosclair, Captain Red,” Darius said.

“Ah Captain. Nice to meet you. You may call me-”

“Red. I know who you are pirate. You are a thief and a murder. You have no honor!” If there a sentence to follow it never came out. Blood poured from his split lip. Red wiped his hand, the blood melding with his crimson tunic.

“Never tell me I have no honor. My men are feed, clothed, and have a roof over their heads. I treat them well. There is honor in fairness,” Red spat at the other captain. Marie laid her hand on Red’s shoulder. He closed his eyes briefly taking in a deep breath.

“What gives you the right,” captain Trosclair gurgled.

“I have the ability, power, money, man-power, and will. No one has or even came remotely close to stopping me. I have the right; because I am a truly free man bound by no law or individual. I have the right because I deem that I have the right and that is all I will ever need,” Red replied.

“You will pay for your crimes,” said Trosclair.

“I’m sure I will; just not by any man.” The sound of Red’s pistol echoed with finality through the hangar. Red reach into the pocket of the dead captain’s coat and pulled out a sealed envelope. He broke the seal and read the contents. His eyes caught the light and gave the appearance of glowing as a smile overcame him.

“Orders,” Darius asked.

“It should be obvious Darius. You are ever faithful, but you never think for yourself. What do we do to the crew,” Marie asked rolling her eyes.

“I’ll get right on that,” Darius turned to the men and shouted, “Four corners!” A scramble of feet could be heard as prisoners were drug around in preparation to send them all to various locations to be stranded. Red had a pact with the other pirates. If they dropped off prisoners in various locations around the world; he wouldn’t conduct airship heists in their air space. Once the prisoner was with another crew, they might be pressed into service, killed, or dropped off on some remote land whose language they did not speak.

“Marie. Have the Captain mailed back home to his family for a burial. Also send them a wreath, apology card, and a bottle of wine. I‘m going to go pray for the good captain here and then get some sleep.” Red said. He walked towards his quarters.

“It will be done my love,” Marie said, “Rest in peace captain Trosclair. Had you been any other man on that ship, you’d still be alive. The captain always goes down with the ship.”


It was some time late into the night when Red woke. He was groggy with sleep still caking his eyes. He slipped out of bed. The light of the candle casting sickening shadows across the scores of scars that marred his back. He spared a glance over at Marie. She was quiet and often stayed in the background, but she was his greatest asset and the only person he lived for besides Darius.

Marie mumbled something in her sleep and rolled over. The light from the candles only helped to accentuate her smooth skin and luscious curves. Red smiled the one smile he saved for her when they were alone. Those were the times he showed true emotion. He could rant and rave. He could cry and laugh. He could get it all out with Marie, but by the morning light Red ceased to be a man. His success relied upon his reputation and demeanor.

Red sat at his writing desk contemplating all of this. Eventually she shrugged off his thoughts in favor of more important things. He opened the drawer and pulled out the envelope from Captain Trosclair. He began to read and study the page.

designer: Armando Christophe

Serial Number 174-82

Class: Leviathan

Type: Floating Fortress Gunship

Name Given: Aegis

The Leviathan class gunship, Aegis, is full equipped with four decks of sixteen cannons. The engine and structural requirements to achieve lift off-

“Aidan! Come back to bed,” Marie said. Red sighed.

“Ok. I’m coming my love.”

© 2011 Arctic Fox

Author's Note

Arctic Fox
I have many projects to work on, but I would really like to go back and do Red's beginning and then work towards his ultimate end. As Marie says, "The captain always goes down with the ship.

My Review

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In deed... a well told pirates tale and I thought the dialogue well done and expressive. Tantalizing for a short and in the extension... more detail could be told of the working theory and description of these Airships and the lands they fly over. I have to admit to not knowing the distinction of Steam Punk? I found the character development was fair for a short, as dialogue can tell a lot about character in nuisance and emotional determination. There were shades of that, Red is a pirate after all and the is assumed that he is a hard man... yet can be fair and hold to honour and a code. I did feel this about your captain Red.

I would say yes... carry on with this story and into a greater dynamic possibility.
Well written... and boldly told.

Write On / Right On!
Romon in Review

Posted 11 Years Ago

great story! It was really intruding :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

did you read the note Kiba-chan

Posted 12 Years Ago

This is truly wonderful. An excelent peice that truly showcases steampunk in it's simplistic beauty. I know it's foolish but I wish there was more!

Posted 12 Years Ago

This is awesome and addicting!!! I am bouncing in my seat from anticipation :) sound wonderful and I can't wait for more!!

Posted 12 Years Ago

lol I kinda have to for the close....Don't worry.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Pretty cool! Write more!

Posted 12 Years Ago

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8 Reviews
Added on August 24, 2011
Last Updated on September 15, 2011
Tags: Steam Punk, red, lenne, airship, victorian


Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox


I am the youngest of three. I was born in 1991. I love to read, write, and help others. Want to know more, just ask. I will answer any question no matter what it is with a 100% honest answer. more..