The sun streamed in through the porthole in the bulkhead, playing over Aaron’s face. Groggily, he raised a hand to block the light and groaned, shifting in his hammock. His head hurt, as if he’d fallen head first down a long set of stairs, and with what he remembered of last night, it might have been a distinct possibility. Prying open his eyes, he raised his head a small ways and gazed around his room. Several bottles lay on the floor, empty and the cupboard where he kept his stash was wide open. He didn’t remember having gone down below deck, let alone falling asleep in his hammock.
He let his head fall back into the hammock and sighed. At least it looked like he hadn’t drunk his whole stash, but he’d buried the memories that had been threatening to resurface and that had been his goal.
With a groan, Aaron rolled out of the hammock hitting the wood decking with a loud thud and a grunt. Pushing himself up, he trudged out of his room and headed up on deck. The morning was cool and bright. The sails were full and the ship was still moving along, undeterred.
Closing his eyes, he let the cool breeze filling the sails blow over him. It felt good with his pounding headache.
Heading up to the ship’s wheel, he ran a hand over his eyes and gazed around into the clouds. The white billowing shapes were the only things surrounded the ship in the sky. It was nice to be alone again he thought.
Picking up his small spotting scope, he extended it and looked aimed it toward the horizon. A tall set of mountains rose up before the ship, their white snow caps reaching into the low hanging clouds. Frowning, Aaron lowered the scope and pulled a small compass from his pants pocket. He checked his course against it. The ship had drifted with the air currents during the night. He knew where he was though. He’d followed this air current before. There was a small settlement nestled in the hills a the foot of the mountains he was heading for and a large lake not to far off from his position.
Grabbing the wheel, he spun it and the ship tilted to the starboard side. Setting down the spotting scope, he lowered the charge in the FTL drive and the ship started to descend in a large arc.
He broke through the cloud layer and the rolling landscape below met his eyes. An unbroken forest stretched out below, ending in a series of rolling hills not too far off. In those hills lay the lake he was heading for and the town not too far after that.
Letting the ship level out, he headed down from the wheel and grabbed the ropes for the sails, reining them in as the airship started to descend over the forest, nearing the tops of the tall trees high-speed.
Hauling on the ropes, he held onto the sails as the threatened to rip from his control. Underneath the ship, the trees ended turning into hills. The ship dropped lower coming in towards the ground.
Tightening his grip he pulled on one of the ropes and ship tilted slightly into a shallow turn. Then as suddenly as the ground was there, it turned in to crisp blue water below the hull. There was a blast of white spray over the bow as the hull touched water and the airship plunged in, the water breaking the speed that the ship had coming in from above.
The sails went slack and Aaron pulled on the rigging, bringing them in and tying them up. No sooner were they tied up then he started toward the bow of the ship. Pulling off his coat with the gun still snug in it’s pocket, he tossed it onto the deck, followed by his shirt and then pants, revealing his toned, muscular body underneath. Stepping upon to the bow he leapt off the ship in a perfect dive, splashing down into the ice-cold water and disappearing beneath the surface.
The cold felt good and woke him up fully. He surfaced after a few moments of swimming, farther away from the airship. This had been something that he hadn’t done in a while and if felt liberating. The burden that gun imposed upon him was something that he’d never gotten used to, even when he’d been back working for the same people as Mai. He’d been so sure that they’d sent her after him, but he hadn’t been compromised. Not yet at least. She wouldn’t tell anyone where he was or that he was alive.
He floated in the water for a moment, gazing back at the ship. Even from out in the water, he could feel the call of the weapon in it’s paper wrapping. Frowning, he pushed it from his mind and thought of the town not to far off. He knew some people there that he could get some jobs from. There was always produce to carry between settlements, if not something else. He would find a job and get back to the way his life was before Mai had stepped in and messed everything up.
Diving beneath the surface again, he made up his mind that as soon as his headache let up he would head into town.