A/N: I had to write this fanfic for an english class so some of it kind of repeats stuff from the book so that it makes sense to people (my teacher) who haven't read Airborn.
This is how I was going to die, by the guns of pirates. I can't try any heroics and they know it. Not with all the passengers here. It would be too risky. Enough has already gone wrong on the voyage. When Szpirglas and his men first boarded the Aurora it was simply a matter of letting them take what they wanted so they would get off the ship, which they did. But now that we know where their island was and they would never let us go. I was a fool to think that we would have the luck to avoid crashing into the sea by landing on an uncharted island, an island that just happened to have a natural source of hydrium; enough hydrium to get the Aurora flying again. I should have known it to too good to last.
The door to the lounge opened and two of the pirates that had left earlier with chef Vlad entered the room, this time holding bowls that, if my nose was correct, wore filled with some sort of fishy soup.
"Boss says we relieve you guys while you grab some grub", one of the pirates said to his comrades guarding us.
The other pirate that had come with him, a younger fellow with dressy clothes, took a swig from a bottle of wine and laughed, "That chef is completely nuts. Nearly took our heads off yelling something about 'appreciating the food,'" he said imitating Vlad's accent.
As the others followed their stomachs to the dining room, the dandy and his beefy companion circled the room, lazily walking between the passengers huddled on the floor. I tried to stare straight ahead at the painting on the wall and think of something other than the sound of fearful breathing ringing in my ears and the smell of blood from Baz's arm that Dr. Halliday was still attempting to tend. I thought of Matt. Hopefully he and Mr. Lunardi had found that De Vries girl in the jungle, for her sake more than theirs. I suppose it's working out for the better that she sneaked away from her chaperone, Miss Simpkins, in search of that so called 'cloud cat' the 'next great scientific discovery' that she was rattling on about. It forced me to send Matt and Bruce Lunardi after her, and if they have found her then they're certainly better off than they would be here. What am I thinking? They're stranded on an island full of pirates, it's foolish of me to think they have a chance. I have to face the fact that I have failed to do my job as Captain. They, and the other passengers and crew, are my responsibility.
"What was that?" The young pirate asked as the ship gave a jerk.
The other pirate shrugged and yawned, his eyelids drooping, in return but I knew what that sensation was. The Aurora was flying. I don't know how or why, but I know when my ship is in the air. Just then the door opened to reveal Vlad, armed with a frying pan and the kind of smile that a person should take as a warning for something much worse to come. The pirates looked on with a confused, almost groggy look on their faces.
"You have had the soup? Good, good! Now, are you feeling tired? Yes, yes, very good", Vlad had been walking up to the dandy during and then he aimed that frying pan right at the pirates head. The two pirates were surprisingly slow to reach for their guns or to take any action at all.
I prayed that Vlad knew what he was doing and lunged at the beefy one. Apparently I wasn't the only one with this idea. Two crew members also went for him and a passenger grabbed at his feet while we somewhat clumsily got beefy knocked down. Much more easily, I expect, than if he was fully alert.
" Please tell me you have a plan, Vlad", I asked.
"Me? No, young Mr. Cruse is the one with the plan."
"Matt is on the ship? Where? How? Are the others with him? What is the plan?"
"Yes, yes, they are all on the ship. He came to give me this lovely bottle," he showed me the empty bottle of sleeping elixir, "for my soup. Wonderful addition don't you think?" he said, looking at the pirates on the ground. "As for a plan I believe it had something to do with him and Mr. Lunardi and that girl getting this ship off and taking out the rest of these awful pirates. They have absolutely no appreciation for food!"
I turned to crew and passengers and directed them, "Mr. Torbay, take some of the men and begin looking for the other pirates, keep a lookout for Miss De Vries and Mr. Lunardi. Dr. Halliday, get Baz down to the infirmary. Mr. Kahlo and chef Vlad will stay here with the passengers. Everyone else, come with me. We're going to get these pirates off our ship!"
We had just left the room when I felt the ship shift, Szpirglas must have figured out what was going on and gotten to the controls. We had limited time before we would be back on the ground where, no doubt, more of Szpirglas's men were waiting for us.
"Wait, did you hear that?" one of the men asked.
I could hear it now. Someone was coming toward us. Those with guns readied themselves for pirates, but a girl came around the corner.
"Miss De Vries!" I exclaimed, somewhat shocked. "What is going on?"
"Captain! Thank God you're free. We had split up and now I don't know where Matt is and, oh God, Bruce was already injured and one of the pirates must have gotten to him and he's dead and we had to leave him and I was right! There are Cloud Cats, one of them got on the ship. I don't know how but they're dangerous and, " she stopped to take a breath.
My mind reeled, Bruce Lunardi dead, and apparently the mysterious creatures she had been chasing after were real. "Ok, calm down, stay with us." I turned to everyone else. "We're heading to the controls, everyone, be on your guard. Right now our biggest priority is keeping everyone safe."
As we made our way to the controls we ran into Baz, who had been stitched up by Dr. Halliday and brought news that the other group had taken down another pirate. Miss De Vries filled us in on more of her story as we walked. Apparently she had found a living "cloud cat" as she had dubbed them, on the island. It had injured Bruce's leg and when Matt and Miss De Vries had gone for help they had been discovered by the pirates. Her voice had a tone of pride as she described how they had managed to sneak away from the pirate's village. She was rather vague as to what happened between there and getting on board the Aurora.
When we were almost there, I felt the ship gradually swing into an accent and when we reached to room my chest swelled with pride. There was Matt Cruse, flying.
"That's my girl," he said to the ship.
"Put her on a heading of one six five, Mr. Cruse, please." I said, coming up behind him.
Very good, sir", he replied as if to himself before he whipped his head around in astonishment.
"Sir!" Matt said giving a salute, "sorry, but she needed bringing up, sir. The mountain." He had a look on his face like he still couldn't quite believe what he was seeing.
"Very good, Mr. Cruse", I replied, smiling.