All posts by Emory Blackstone

Story for “Stolen Airship”


Far into the future, our world has changed almost beyond recognition.  No longer is humanity bound to the Earth’s surface, but instead lives among the clouds, its civilization spread across a vast system of floating islands.  These islands range from sprawling metropolises to dense jungles to rolling countryside and to everything in between; little chunks of the Earth suspended miles above its surface.  If you were to ask around, nobody would be able to tell you for certain why these islands stay in the air or how they got there.  Though the details humanity’s migration to the sky and the establishment of its new society have faded into the mists of history, the people take for granted that A. the floating islands will stay floating because they always have and B. nobody should go down to the planet’s surface because nobody ever does.

For this society to function, passage between islands is crucial, but instead of planes and jets, the people rely on great airships to transport people and goods across the world.  These ships resemble the wooden seafaring sailing ships of old, but each has some assortment of balloons, propellers, and propulsion engines to keep the aloft.  Many see owning an airship as their ultimate aspiration, as captaining your own vessel is the only true freedom in a world where everything is isolated from everything else.  But ships are obscenely expensive and hard to come by, so for most, this dream is exactly that: a dream.

One of these dreamers happens to be the hero of our story, Roy Reynder.  Roy has always dreamed of leaving his small town and his sparse island and sailing the skies in search of adventure.  But not much ever happened at home and ships rarely came into port, so he would satiate his thrill-seeking tendencies by antagonizing the locals and hanging out around the Drop (the edge of the island; where the ground meets the sky).

However, rumors have been floating around lately that some islands have begun falling out of the sky without warning, their inhabitants never to be heard from again.  On top of that, officers from the world government, the Blue Sky Republic, have been showing up at Roy’s home asking vague, unusual questions about a strange capsule-like object that Roy’s late mother had left him.

One day, the island began to shake.  People could feel shifting and creaking and groaning beneath their feet.  The same day, the Blue Sky Republic arrived with a fully armed squad ready to take Roy’s mysterious heirloom by force.   Our hero became acutely aware that it was time to bail.  Fortunately, his years of reckless shenanigans had made him at least slightly competent at pulling his own ass out of the fire, and he managed to give the main force the slip and sneak aboard one of their smaller ships with the capsule.  Now, all he has to do is take out the small rear guard and gain control of the vessel and go anywhere but here.  He prepares himself for a fight as his home begins to plummet downward…