Excerpt for Above The Huron Sea by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Written By

Nathaniel Patterson

Edited By

Jacob Edwards

Published by

Second Look Scripts

©2018 Portland Oregon

ABOVE THE HURON SEA is copywritten by SECOND LOOK SCRIPTS and NATHANIEL PATTERSON and are registered in the United States. SECOND LOOK SCRIPTS trademarks, servicemarks, and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service that is not affiliated with SECOND LOOK SCRIPTS without express written permission of SECOND LOOK SCRIPTS

Above The Huron Sea ©2018 Nathaniel Patterson

Portland, Oregon. All Rights Reserved

Cover Artwork ©2018 Nathaniel Patterson

Portland, Oregon. All rights Reserved

3435 NE 45th Ave Suite C

Portland, Oregon 97213



“Let’s go people!” Chief Pohl barked. “We got miles to fly and little time to get there.” Her shaved head glinted in the September sun. The grime and oil, her perpetual second skin, gave her the appearance of an ancient miner. She stood beneath the gang plank of Tenryu, the great harvester-ship barking orders and keeping a seasoned eye on all of the fevered activity surrounding her and Tenryu.

All around Tenryu, ground-crew scrambled left and right, readying the mooring lines for cast off. Their faded canvas clothes, bright against the green grass of the airfield.

“Liu! Put some pepper in your step!” Chief Pohl shouted at the newest member of the Tenryu crew. “You miss departure, your time onboard is over!”

Jin Liu, her arms weighed down with safety harnesses began to run. Her legs pumping in her faded green coveralls two sizes too big.

“Dammit! Don’t run, rook! I don’t want to pick up your teeth when you trip and fall! You’ll drop those damn harnesses! You best not get grass stains on my gear! You hear me, Liu!”

“Yes, Chief!” Liu had only been onboard Tenryu for twenty five days. Her head spinning from a combination of exhaustion, hard labor, and the overwhelming amount of knowledge she must retain to remain a member of the crew.

“How your quals comin’?” Pohl asked when Liu arrived at the base of the gangplank which led toward the cargo hold of the Tenryu, “Lemme see that qual card.”

Liu made an immediate stop, and reached into her coverall pocket. Difficult due to her arms loaded down with harness, line and tackle. She produced a thin, yellow booklet, her qualification card.

Chief Victoria Pohl snatched the booklet from Liu’s hand, the sun glinting off the chief’s buzzed head.

“Get your signatures this week?”

“No, Chief.” Jin voice quiet.

“What’s that? You gotta speak up girl. I’m old and deaf. Say that again?”

“No, Chief!”

“That’s what I thought you said. Get that fixed or I’ll have you off this ship and onto some damn flooding detail. You wanna drain the swamps?”

“No, Chief!”

“Damn right you don’t. Poop-diggity.” Pohl returned the card to Liu’s hand. Jin Liu had heard the stories of finding long dead livestock, pets, and people, bloated and rotten, washed asunder from the return of the great waters. Flood detail represented work that anyone could do, if they really couldn’t do anything else of use. You had to work to eat, and everyone needed to eat.

“Get aboard and stow that gear.”

“Aye, Chief.” Liu hoisted up the heavy harnesses and made her way up the steep incline of the gangplank. A steady breeze blew across the airfield, goat gnawed grass fluttering with delicate pulses, waving the Tenryu goodbye. Wind pushed against Liu’s short dark hair tied up and on the crown of her head. The sides shaved down to fit her gasmask. Liu looked up at the great airship. The massive double hull blocked out and absorbed the late summer sun. Tenryu’s entire upper hemisphere covered in solar plates, the sun’s rays powered the airship. These plates provided both energy to drive the ship’s engines, and protection from any group of brigands foolish enough to attempt a hijacking. The ship’s armor plates deflected harpoons just as well as they filled capacitors and storage batteries. The red underhull, with it’s distinctive yellow stripe, filled Liu’s field of vision. Some folks called Tenryu KetchupNmustard; but to her, Tenryu represented work, and work represented food. The gangway stretched before her leading to the cargo gondola and eventually the bridge.

Today stands as Liu’s first excursion onboard Tenryu, her first time far afield from her home, today she will fly for the first time. Her life from this day, and every day before, had been enveloped by the relative safety of Versailles(withan S). Her family arrived here fleeing the chaos of The Last Big One. She knew every square meter of her trading village; the drainage canals, Ronson’s Trading Post, and the annual poultry election. She knew her home. Liu had never left the village. Today, however, Jin Liu would fly, and fly on the Tenryu. Jin Liu would bring home the reaping of the harvest.

Versailles(withan S) once a mere village with a tiny municipal airfield. The town became centered around this airfield and the trade it brought. The control tower, still used, but now to observe air trade and to keep an eye peeled for anyone arriving on foot. The hangers of the old field converted to housing, barracks, shops, a market and repair facilities. Versailles(withan S) stood as an oasis, on the banks of the Stillwater River, for travellers and traders moving along the dangerous roads of the Middle West.

Jin Liu knew her fortune when she volunteered, and then selected to serve on the Tenryu crew. Dangerous work for steady decent pay and six extra alcohol or cannabis rations per month. Not a bad deal, and you get to see the world from the sky. This thought had crept further from her heart over the past twenty five days. Nothing had prepared her for the drudgery of mopping up hydraulic fluid, hours hunting dust bunnies, the never ending piles of recycling and compost, and constant studying of various complex systems. Today, however would remain different. Today she would swap the land for the sky. Today Jin Liu would fly.

The great ship loomed large above the village, tied to the land by dozens of mooring lines. From the observation bubble on top, one could see the roofing of the control tower, and Liu’s mind raced with the thoughts of seeing the Huron Sea, or the swamps of Toodle-edoo, from it’s lofty vantage point. Now, however, she still needed to haul heavy gear up an interminably long gangplank.

Liu could see the cargo bay door before her getting larger with each labored step. Her arms laden down with three heavy harnesses, carabiners, shackles, coils of line, and strapping. Her calves burned with each step up the steep walkway, her diminutive five foot nothing frame looked almost comical carrying the large amount of equipment. The fact that her coveralls hung four sizes too big added to this effect. The previous owner had been a man, and tall.

The threshold of the airship led into the cavernous cargo hold. It’s bulkheads covered with lockers, equipment, tie downs, and a small workshop in the deep corner.

Jin made her way to the harness locker and dropped the heavy gear to the deck with a thud.

“Careful!” Ollie’s voice echoed through the hold. “Careful with the safety equipment, rook!”

Oliver Block, another junior crewmen, walked out from the hold’s darkness, a smile on his face, his chipped teeth, still full of breakfast. “These are safety harnesses, Liu. You might need them to save your life. I damn sure needed them to save mine.”

“Well, they’re heavy as shit.” Jin grunted, her arms burning as blood once again moved through her aching appendages.

“That they are,” Ollie replied. “Which is why I’m glad you are here. Because now I don’t have to carry them. But, I’ll help you hang them up.”

“Is that a qual?” Jin asked.

“Why yes it is.”

“Will you sign it off?” Her voice tipped with hope.

“If I could. Yes. But safety equipment...that’s the XO’s baby. Only he can sign that off.”

The XO terrified Liu, his gruff demeanor and one eye made for a frightful combination. The two crewmembers began to hang each piece of equipment in its allotted space.

“Well?” Jin asked. “What can you sign off?”

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