BONNIE & GEORGE (& MAC)
by Van © 2021
"So this is
what the so-called 'Ship's Papers' look like," Mac said as she
turned the sturdy pages of a portfolio with a soft leather
The document detailed Spirit of Sky Woman's
specifications, like her dimensions, gross tonnage, authorized
cargo capacity, the maximum thrust rating of her main propulsion
and auxiliary maneuvering turboprop units, etc. It also
specified which hard-points were to be used for standard
line-handling operations like take-off, landing, rigging for
towing, etc. There was also page after page of dense
paragraphs in fine print of stilted prose, carefully translated
from Grand Alliance Standard English into "Legalese."
Towards the back were three pages of signatures, the official
bureaucratic approvals required to operate any powered
aeronautical vessel above a certain size in the skies over the
Grand Alliance, as well any and all Kingdom's, Empires,
Republics, Tribal Lands, or other recognized political entities
with whom the Grand Alliance enjoyed diplomatic relations.
That's right, The Grand Alliance Exploration Ship Spirit of
Sky Woman was now fully certified, and the proof was right
there in Mac's hands! Finally!
Bonnie, George, and Mac were together on Sky Woman's
innovative bridge. It was surrounded by a large,
spherical array of windows, a glass dome of panes that provided
as unobstructed a view as was possible in all (meaning most)
directions. Bonnie was at the helm, her hands on the
airship's main wheel. The ornately carved wooden post
supporting the three-foot diameter wheel also mounted the
attitude and trim controls, the master throttle, and the
autopilot controls. George was to her right, ready to
throw the large lever that simultaneously released the docking
clamps and cast off the aerodrome's mooring cables. Mac
was standing in front of the engineering control station between
the chart table and the communications console. The ship's
papers were still open in her gloved hands.
Bonnie was wearing lace-up-the-front knee-boots—rather
form-fitting leather pants—a long-sleeve, collarless blouse of
white linen that could easily be mistaken for a man's shirt—and
a long scarf of mulberry-red silk wrapped loosely around her
neck. A leather shooting-jacket matching the rest of her
dark-brown ensemble hung among several long, heavy woolen coats
off to one side, and her long, brown, gleaming hair was combed
back and held in a ponytail by a truly exquisite beaded clip, a
gift from one of her Tuscaroran cousins.
Mac was also in leather, but her boots were a dark shade of
butternut, as was her one-piece leather "coverall." A
long-sleeve blouse of un-dyed linen was under the coverall, and
her glorious red hair was braided, coiled, and tucked under a
butternut leather flying-helmet. A pair of stereoptical
and polychromatic goggles (a gift from George, her fashion guru
and Top Boffin rival) were pushed up on her forehead. A
tool-belt was buckled around her waist. Mac never went
anywhere without her tools, and between the belt's contents and
the various gizmos and instruments secured in custom pockets
conveniently placed on the coverall's chest, sleeves, and
thighs, she could probably effect any adjustment or minor
emergency repair to Sky Woman that didn't require a
spanner. (Luckily, spanners were readily available,
mounted to a bulkhead in nearly every compartment, including the
bridge.) Finally, a long silk scarf of emerald green was
wound around her neck and stuffed down the front of her
coveralls, rather like an oversized ascot.
As for George, in light of the occasion, she had decided to
daringly venture towards the masculine end of the spectrum
(solely for purposes of freedom of movement in case of
emergency, of course) and was wearing what amounted to a Woman's
Bicycling Costume composed of oxblood ankle-boots—wool
stockings—flounced wool pantaloons (rather like bloomers)—a
tweed jacket with a narrow waist, flounced shoulders, and a high
collar—and a lace-trimmed blouse of white linen. There was
an underlying corset, of course, but for what conceivable
purpose Bonnie and Mac had absolutely no idea. The wool
was all in the same gray and burgundy hounds-tooth
pattern. Finally, George's gleaming brown hair was coiled
and tucked under an oxblood leather flying helmet. Her
newest pair of stereoptical and polychromatic goggles were
strapped to the helmet, ready to be pulled down over her pretty
brown eyes if required.
Bonnie turned, smiled at Mac, and nodded at the portfolio still
in the ginger's hands "You should find the passage giving
us the authority to request formal letters of marque," she
suggested. "It makes for interesting reading."
Mac frowned and started thumbing through the pages.
"Letters of marque? We're authorized to act as a combatant
in time of war?"
Bonnie and George exchanged smiles (and a wink).
Apparently busy scanning the pages of fine print, Mac didn't
"Not automatically," George responded. "Letters of marque
are issued by the Grand Alliance War Office, but any vessel
wishing to apply for privateer status must be certified as
eligible for consideration by the Aeronautic Board and must
have proof of insurance against loss or damage from a recognized
company, like Lloyds of Londinium."
Bonnie took up the lecture. "Otherwise, half of any and
all prizes we seize would be confiscated my the Office of the
Privy Purse to pay down the general war debt."
"Oh, here it is," Mac said, squinting at a page. She
pulled down her goggles, dialed them to 3X, and began reading in
earnest... to herself. "Hmm... interesting."
Bonnie and George exchanged another look, this time one of
amused puzzlement. They'd been making up the whole letters
of marque thing as a prank.
Mac continued. "It says here Sky Woman is not
only authorized to accept letters of marque issued by the Grand
Alliance War Office, but also those countersigned by at
least two different Allied governments."
"What?" Bonnie and George demanded incredulously.
Mac slammed the portfolio closed, secured its retaining cord,
tucked it back into its weather-tight leather pouch, then
returned the pouch to the appropriate slot in the base of the
chart table. "Do I look like I was born yesterday?" she
demanded, favoring her partners with a rather condescending
"Well, now that you mention it..." Bonnie chuckled.
George, however, was not amused. "Such
disrespect. Is that any way to speak to your Captain and
First Officer? And just when we were about to promote you
to Third Officer. Now you'll have to remain Third
Mate for at least another six months."
"Horsefeathers!" Mac huffed. "I'm Chief Engineer, and you
Actually, all three partners were fully qualified on all of Sky
Woman's watch stations, and had hours of experience
conning the ship during test flights. And, as at the
moment, they comprised a skeleton crew of three, that was a good
thing. The plan was to hire three or possibly four
additional permanent crew members before they began making
actual voyages. There was more than enough room. Sky
Woman had twelve spacious cabins, as well as a galley,
wardroom, and a tea-parlor/library (with giant circular windows
dominating the port and starboard bulkheads). And all the
crews' quarters and living spaces were fully equipped with the
latest luxuries, like hot and cold running water, flush toilets,
built-in teacup holders on gyroscopic gimbals, etc. And as
she was an exploration vessel, there was a well-equipped
research lab. Finally, there was a compact machine shop
for repairs and fabrication and several generous and
Anyway, Sky Woman had comfortable quarters ready and
waiting for the envisioned crew, as well as accommodations for
six additional explorers, scientists, guests, and/or passengers.
At the moment, Spirit of Sky Woman was about to embark
on what Bonnie, George, and Mac had logged as a "preliminary
shakedown cruise," to be followed in three weeks by Sky
Woman's official shakedown cruise, which would
also satisfy a commission from the Foreign Office to survey the
area between the Gaulish, Tyrrhenian, and Northern Junn-Junn
borders, using the latest stereoscopic aerial photography to
resolve longstanding minor disputes over the precise placement
of a handful of boundary markers.
They would rely on Sky Woman's extraordinary speed to
escape any attacks by the Junn-Junn's infamous giant
pterodactyls, in the unlikely event one of the "Sky-God Honkers"
(as the Sand Amazons called them) wandered that far north; but
as an added precaution, they were planning on mounting two
obsolete anti-air Tesla field-pieces on swivel mounts, one in
front of each of the port and starboard cargo-doors. Their
pulsed electrical bolts should serve to discourage any flying
dinosaurs who proved to be unusually fast and persistent.
Unfortunately, the light artillery pieces and their caisson
power-units had yet to be delivered by the Grand Alliance Armory
at Fareham, but Bonnie, Mac, and George saw no need to let that
delay their post-certification cruise. Such weaponry was
exceeding unlikely to be needed in the skies over Britannia, and
they had abundant pistols and long guns in Sky Woman's
armory, including a Sharpe's Rifle designed to punch large holes
in large predators and a shoulder-held Tesla "Monster
Sparkler" that discharged massive energy bolts from single-shot
capacitor-cartridges carried in a bandoleer.
Truth be told, Bonnie, George, and Mac were about to depart on a
three day celebratory joyride! Why not? Sky
Woman was their airship and they'd worked very
hard during her completion. Why not drift in the skies far
above all regular air traffic, give the station-keeping programs
of the navigational difference engines an extended test, and
enjoy a little well-earned leisure? The galley storerooms
were stocked with fresh, tinned, and jarred gourmet delicacies,
vacuum-packed pastries and biscuits, as well as cases of fine
wines (including champagne) and tea. (George loved Madeleines,
Coconut-Ginger Shortbreads, and Palmiers.) It would be a
party... at least until somebody had a brainstorm that sent
everybody crowding into the laboratory to start working on their
new idea. Anyway... three days of relaxation... maybe
five... then they'd descend and return to terrestrial concerns.
Bonnie turned back to the wheel. "Status!" she barked.
"Engineering board shows all green," Mac responded, referring to
the rows of indicator lights on the station's main panel.
"Maneuvering units at full idle. All lifting modules at
full neutral. Pitch and yaw indicators show zero bubble."
"Aerodrome signals we are clear to get underway," George
"Cast off all lines," Bonnie ordered.
George threw the Master Mooring System lever, Sky Woman's
clamps released the aerodrome's mooring lines, and they
retracted into their mechanized housings down below in the
hanger. The ship was now more-or-less hovering in her
berthing cradle, shielded from the wind by the walls of the
hanger. The roof was already fully retracted, leaving the
airship open to the sky.
The full ground crew was in attendance, of course, as well as
scores of engineers, mechanics, airship-fitters, clerks,
computers, and team managers who had worked on the Sky Woman
Project. They all cheered like they'd just received huge
cash and stock bonuses for their months of hard work (which they
Bonnie, George, and Mac smiled and waved... then Bonnie expertly
eased back several levers that controlled the airship's attitude
with one hand while doing the same to the maneuvering throttles.
The maneuvering units' pusher-puller propellers revved... Sky
Woman slowly lifted free of her cradle... and began to
ascend, maintaining a level attitude. The cheering
continued as, with deft adjustments of the controls, Sky
Woman cleared the hanger... then began a slow, horizontal
rotation to port, her nose and tail still perfectly level.
Simultaneously, she continued her ascent.
Heads lifted all over the aerodrome when they heard the drone of
Sky Woman's maneuvering units. Experienced
airship officers and crew smiled. The maneuver Bonnie and
George (and Mac) were accomplishing with such flawless ease was
exceedingly difficult to pull off in "conventional" airships,
even those of the latest design. They knew they were
looking at the future.
"Main propulsion to ready-idle," Bonnie ordered.
Mac threw a series of switches. "Main propulsion at
"Open the iris," Bonnie commanded.
Mac pulled a lever, watched as a series of lights winked from
green to red, then gave the lever's handle a half-turn and it
locked with an audible click. "Iris open."
"Standby for aerial maneuvers," Bonnie announced.
"Ready," George and Mac responded simultaneously, planting their
feet and grabbing hold of one of the many convenient handrails
mounted around the bridge and its workstations.
Meanwhile, Bonnie was throwing various switches on the
wheel-post. Then... slowly and gently... she pulled back
on the wheel.
Observers on the ground noted that Sky Woman's nose was
pitching up... the crystals lining her exterior drag-reduction
rings had begun to glow sapphire-blue, evident even in full
daylight... her upwards rotation was turning into an ever
widening spiral, and she was picking up speed. The airship
completed a full, counterclockwise spin... another... then shot
towards the stratosphere like an arrow loosed from a bow!
A spontaneous cheer erupted from the entire aerodrome. "HUZZAH!"
TRANSDIMENSIONAL PORTAL HUZZAH!
| Chapter 2
grinning like the proverbial fool as she clutched the wheel.
"Slow down," George scolded, desperately clutching a handrail
with both hands. "You're going to get somebody hurt!"
Mac's reaction, who was also holding onto a handrail with a firm
grip, was somewhat different. "YIPPEEEEE!"
"Silence on the bridge!" Bonnie barked (with a huge
smile). "The captain is having fun!"
The maneuvering units had swiveled ninety-degrees and the
turbo-props were more-or-less spinning idle with the blades at
neutral pitch. Sky Woman's main propulsion was
eerily quiet. Air surging down the tunnel could be
heard from the bridge, but just barely. The wind whistling
past the window-blister was louder, and they couldn't feel any
significant vibration in the air-frame or the deck under their
feet. Much like Gwendoline, the prototype
hover-yacht they'd used to cross the Junn-Junn Wastes, traveling
in Sky Woman was more like a voyage in a waterborne
vessel under sail than in a conventional airship.
"Bonfilia Plantuckett!" George scolded.
"Uh oh!" Mac chuckled. "You're in serious trouble
"Who, me?" Bonnie demanded, grinning back over her shoulder at
Mac. "I'm still the captain, remember."
"Shut it! Both of you!" George ordered. "And slow
"Spoilsport," Bonnie chuckled, but she did ease back on the
Sky Woman was still climbing, but the wind noise around
the bubble-windscreen had significantly lessened.
"Setting autopilot to a level starboard turn," Bonnie announced
as she threw a series of levers and switches." There was
an audible click as the wheel locked in place. Sky
Woman continued to slow for several more seconds...
accompanied by a further lessening of the wind... then a second
audible click sounded.
"Altimeter shows 22,140 feet," Mac stated.
George was at the chart table, scribbling a series of
calculations on a clipboard. "I estimate the diameter of
the turn at two-point-three nautical miles," she said after
several seconds, then turned to Bonnie. "We could go
"We're already 4,000 feet above the commercial ceiling," George
responded, "Only the Navy cruises around up here, and only
with good reason."
One of the countless innovations of Sky Woman was
pressurization of most of her interior spaces, thanks to a
ram-scoop inside the thrust-tunnel's exhaust aperture. If
the crew needed to visit the non-pressurized interior spaces,
they'd resort to bottled oxygen and face masks (like the Navy).
"I'm going up to the crow's nest for a quick look around," Mac
announced. Sky Woman's crow's nest was a
pressurized glass bubble at the very top of the fuselage.
"I'll be in the galley," George said, "brewing tea."
"I'll be right here," Bonnie purred, then gave the wheel an
George favored her senior partner with a disdainful pout and
rolled her eyes. Clearly, she hadn't forgiven her Captain
for the unnecessarily rapid ascent. "Of course
you'll be right here," she muttered. "It's your
watch." She then turned and stomped aft, towards the
bridge door. "Don't break anything," she called back over
"Yes, ma'am," Bonnie chuckled and winked at Mac, who was already
climbing the ladder to Sky Woman's interior catwalks and
George had completed her Dramatic Exit, so Bonnie faced front
and struck the classic captain-on-the-bridge pose: feet apart,
hands clasped behind her back, and a ghost of a smile curling
TRANSDIMENSIONAL PORTAL HUZZAH!
| Chapter 2
orbited the sky high above Boscombe Down for about five
minutes... then suddenly began to accelerate! At the same
time, the crystals lining the exterior draft-reduction rings
began sparkling with flickering tendrils of blue energy!
"I don't believe the drag-reduction crystal arrays are supposed
to be doing that!" Mac shouted as she climbed down the ladder
onto the bridge and took her place at the engineering
station. "What did you do to my airship?"
"I haven't done anything!" Bonnie shouted back as she flipped a
switch and released the autopilot; however, the wheel remained
locked, as did the throttle and attitude controls.
George entered the bridge carrying a tray with three steaming
mugs of tea and a plate of biscuits. "What have you done?"
she demanded, glaring at Bonnie.
"Nothing!" Bonnie responded. "Honest! I haven't done
The blue lightning intensified, becoming a web of energy linking
all the exterior crystals.
"I smell ozone!" George stated, then set the tray down on an
unused table protected by low rails and bolted to the
deck. (Officially, the table was the "Auxiliary Plotting
Table." Unofficially, it was the "Bridge Tea Table.")
Mac was staring at the flashing lights of the engineering board
in wide-eyed alarm. "This doesn't make any sense!"
"The helm is still locked," Bonnie said, tugging on the wheel,
"and the autopilot is frozen."
Meanwhile, Sky Woman was losing altitude... slowly...
but she was definitely spiraling downwards.
Also, it was becoming difficult to see anything beyond the
windows through the scintillating sheets of sparking blue light,
and a crackling cacophony was making it necessary to shout to be
"Altimeter!" Bonnie yelled.
George turned to the chart table. "The needle's spinning!"
she shouted back.
"I should go to Main Control and try and ease back on main
power!" Mac suggested.
"Do it!" Bonnie confirmed, "but be careful! We'll drop
like a rock if we lose power completely!"
"Shall I help?" George offered.
Mac shook her head. "Stay here and tell me on the
voice-tube if anything changes on the bridge repeaters!" she
answered, pointing at the still randomly flashing engineering
panel, then scampered up the ladder and was gone.
Meanwhile, Sky Woman continued spiraling
downwards. And then...
░░░░▒▒▒▓▓█ FLASH! █▓▓▒▒▒░░░░
The blue sheets of energy winked out as if they'd never been
and Sky Woman lurched to a complete stop, more-or-less
level, and accompanied by (of all things) the sound of snapping
"What the hell!" Bonnie gasped. Through the bridge
windows they could see the giant trunks of coniferous trees, the
kind mostly found in western Iroquoia! The Spirit of
Sky Woman had settled into an impromptu cradle of colossal
branches, some of which had cracked on impact. Whatever
damage Sky Woman had suffered remained unknown.
Beyond the immediate branches, Bonnie and George could see a
vast wooded landscape and the slopes and peaks of some
impressive looking mountains. Inexplicably, they were no
longer in Brittania!
"Language," George whispered in the sudden silence, scolding
Bonnie for her discourteous exclamation.
"I don't think we're in Wiltshire anymore," Bonnie stated.
Suddenly, they heard a crash and the crunch of wood
splintering from somewhere aft of the bridge... followed by the
sound of thundering feet!
Bonnie and George exchanged a startled look.
"I told you we needed a bridge armory," Bonnie sighed.
"It just isn't done," George countered.
Then, the aft bridge door flew open with another crash and
several ginger-haired women charged onto the bridge!
The attackers wore breastplates, brown knee-boots, metal
greaves, kilt-like skirts of woolen cloth with dangling strips
of brown leather, sleeveless linen tunics, brown leather
wrist-bracers, and metal helmets with nose-guards and
cheek-plates. The impression was that of a very determined
force of athletic, red-haired, female, Roman legionnaires!
All had determined green eyes, and despite their armor, were
showing considerably more peachy-pink, freckled skin than George
considered entirely proper.
Lethal-looking short-swords in scabbards dangled from their
belts, but in their hands were wooden clubs, quarter-staffs,
lassos, and rectangular shields. Bonnie and George were
unsure what alloys comprised the amazons' armor. The metal
was clean but not polished to a high gloss. The steel or
whatever it was might have been waxed or lacquered to combat
And speaking of combat, the first wave made contact! Both
Bonnie and George were armed with knives, and they knew how to
use them (especially Bonnie), but after noting the sheathed
swords, they independently made the decision to do nothing to
encourage the "legionnaires" to draw their longer, heavier
blades. Bonnie and George's knives remained in their
George put up a reasonable fight, but she was quickly pinned
against the chart table by a shield, two lassos dropped over her
shoulders and tightened around her upper-arms and torso, and her
part of the battle was over, not counting the squirming,
whining, and complaining.
"Oh, bother," George muttered as her wrists were crossed and
tied behind her back and the lassos used to bind her body from
her shoulders to her booted ankles. "Please!" she pleaded
with her captors, "hostilities are uncalled for! We're
peaceful explorers, and—mrrpfh!" A knotted cleave-gag put
an end to her objections and she was carried aft from the
Meanwhile, Bonnie was holding her own, and she'd reached three
conclusions: (1) the ginger warriors knew their business; (2)
they were trying to capture but not kill her; and (3) George was
already captured and was totally in their power.
Bonnie succeeding in punching one of her attackers in her
armored jaw and knocking her off her feet. "Ow!"
Bonnie shook her hand. "Lucky I didn't break it," she
muttered, then mustered a smile and offered her hand to the
legionnaire. It was accepted, Bonnie assisted the ginger
warrior back to her feet, then raised her hands in
surrender. She was quickly bound, cleave-gagged, and
carried away like so much looted cargo.
Bonnie's immediate destination was Sky Woman's port
cargo door. Then, again like cargo, she was lowered
several hundred feet to the forest floor via an expertly rigged
system of very long ropes. At least a platoon of ginger
warriors were waiting down below, milling about in the organized
chaos typical of any military operation. George had
already arrived, was lying on her side in the carpet of dried
needles, and was being lashed to a long pole. She blinked
her big brown eyes at Bonnie, then heaved a tragic sigh.
Bonnie was lashed to a pole of her own, then (continuing the
cargo theme) the captured adventurers were hefted onto the
shoulders of legionnaires and carried from the scene of the
crash. Looking up, the captives noted that Sky Woman appeared
to be only slightly damaged. The damage to the trees
appeared to be worse.
Their amazon baggage-handlers trudged through the forest of
towering tree trunks, which Bonnie strongly suspected were
mature redwoods. Oh-by-the-way, now that she had the
leisure to notice, and despite their partially obscuring
helmets, Bonnie decided their captors were collectively quite
beautiful... in addition to being very physically
fit. Also... George was holding up rather well, of which
Bonnie was glad. She gave her friend a wink of
encouragement... and George rolled her big brown eyes in
Yes, the legionnaires were beautiful, and were all redheads with
freckled skin, all of them.
And speaking of gingers... there was no sign of Mac. Had
she escaped the Ginger Legion's boarding operation? They
could only hope. But where had she escaped to?
TRANSDIMENSIONAL PORTAL HUZZAH!
| Chapter 2
believe her luck... she just wasn't sure if it was good or bad.
She'd arrived at Main Engineering Control just in time for the
blue lightning scintillating across the panels to stop
flickering, the randomly flashing indicator lights to all turn
green, and the dials to stop spinning. In fact, everything
had returned to normal; and as the systems were designed, had
reset themselves to standby mode.
Almost simultaneously, the deck lurched under her feet and Sky
Woman came to rest. Mac heard the crash and creak
of what were probably snapping timbers... then nothing.
Mac examined the panels in detail, but no immediate explanation
for the system-wide failure or what she should do about it was
apparent. "Time to report," she muttered under her breath,
opened the cover of the speaking-tube linked to the bridge, and
was about to blow into it to attract George's attention... then
paused with a frown. She could hear riotous noise coming
from the bridge. "What the hell?" she whispered under her
breath, then put her left ear to the mouthpiece and heard a
cacophony of thuds and grunts, the sounds of a fight! A
donnybrook had broken out on the bridge? Bonnie and George
were battling each other? That didn't make any sense.
Mac closed the speaking-tube cover and left Main Engineering,
intending to return to the Bridge—but as soon as she entered the
central catwalk running the length of the ship, she realized
something was very wrong. Specifically, Sky
Woman had been boarded! Ducking into the shadows
behind a vertical cabling trunk off to the side, she leaned over
the rail and beheld several female warriors in armor and
carrying cudgels, staffs, shields, and/or coiled lassos climbing
down ropes between decks or running along the other
catwalks. There were at least a dozen of the invaders—two
dozen—more! Clearly, getting to the bridge
without fighting an unwinnable battle would be impossible, and
she probably only had seconds to act before she was discovered.
Abandoning Bonnie and George was out of the question, but
assuming they were about to be captured (or had already been
captured) it wouldn't do any good for Mac to join them.
Hiding was a possibility, but none of the hatches providing
access to Sky Woman's voids were designed for quick
access. ("Voids" are the unoccupied and usually oddly
shaped spaces between the interior bulkheads and the hull found
on any large vessel.) The only thing was to abandon ship,
but not abandon her partners. That is, Mac
decided she should escape to the outside and find a place to
hide where she could gather intelligence, determine what was
happening to her friends, and mount a rescue.
She'd never make it to the armory, but there was an Abandon Ship
Station just down a side passageway. Mac grabbed a
survival pack, armed herself with a medium-size spanner, dropped
a pair of coiled rappelling ropes over her head and across her
body like crossed bandoliers, then threw the quick-acting handle
and opened the escape hatch.
Sky Woman was cradled in the crowns of a grove of giant
redwoods. The sky was a brilliant, cloudless blue and a
light wind was blowing, but now was not the time for
sightseeing! Mac climbed out onto a large branch, muscled
the hatch closed behind her, and with great effort, managed to
close the flush-mounted exterior handle and secure the hatch.
Obviously, the convenient branch had been a stroke of luck, and
it would allow her to climb onto other branches and put some
distance between herself and the ship. So, unless one of
the mysterious armored amazons had been right on her tail, it
would take an inventory of the abandon ship equipment to
discover that she'd made her escape. That gave her a
little time to act... probably.
Mac heard the faint shout of orders being given, somewhere down
below. She carefully leaned to the side and looked
down. On the forest floor, Bonnie and George were being
lashed to poles. Mac was at a dizzying height, but she
could tell her friends were already bound and gagged. This
was reassuring, as the armored amazon pirates or soldiers or
whoever the devil they were wouldn't have bound and gagged a
pair of corpses. Sky Woman's Captain and First
Officer had been captured... and now they were dangling from
poles and being carried away! They had an escort of about
two dozen ginger warriors.
Mac heard more shouts and realized additional armored amazons
were scrambling up and down ropes and rigging rope ladders at Sky
Woman's now open cargo doors, as well as pitching tents in
the clearing below. Luckily—Yet again with the good
luck!—none of this activity was happening in Mac's
immediate vicinity. She carefully eased along the branch,
over to a branch of a neighboring redwood, then slowly, silently
(she hoped) worked her way around the trunk to another
tree. She repeated the process three more times to put
distance between herself, Sky Woman, and the amazons...
then began rigging her ropes to ease herself to the ground.
Obviously, it was going to be up to the Chief Engineer to pick
up the departing she-soldiers' trail and effect a rescue of
Bonnie and George... somehow.
| Chapter 2