Friday, 2 December 2011

Thirty-First Friday Flash: Aether Gilileo

(Image Source)

Brünhilda looked down at the landscape as it drifted by down below, the wind blowing through her long gray hair. It felt refreshing.

Her cat Zeplin leaped up onto the rail, Brünhilda swept away her morning coffee just in time.

“Not today my furry little friend!” she said scratching behind his ears. “I would love to stay and chat, but we had better get to work.”

Today, a village just over the mountain was in need of some rain, and it was her job to take it to them.

Plopping behind the controls she guided the ship higher. Her airship's tiny, but powerful motors responding nicely. Zeplin took up the seat next to her, Bob's old spot.

“Things were easier when Bob was around, but I do appreciate your company.. Ah there's a suitable cloud, a bit too large, but we don't have time to mess around.”

Gliding into position above the cloud she pulled the lever beside her seat, the cloud hitcher lowered, a long thin and perforated silver bar that ran along the length of her airship Aether Gilileo.


“Your instincts are correct, we are just about centre.”

Brünhilda pushed a button on top of the lever. Nozzles along the silver bar began to spray a special formula that bonded the cloud to the cloud hitcher, freezing it just enough so that it would stick to the bar. The airship began to sink as the cloud got heavier.

The engines whined and complained under the extra weight. Brünhilda applied more power.

“Come old girl, keep it together!”

Zeplin meowed again.

“Yes, that should do it. Let's go give a little rain to the fine people of Claytonville.”

Brünhilda pushed Aether Gilileo to the limit as she tried to make her deadline. Finally clearing the mountains Brünhilda and her ship ran into a raging storm, which wasn't possible, the area was supposed to be bone dry!

Snatching up her radio she got a hold of Claytonville's mayor's office.

“What is going on Rick?”

“Oh, Brünhilda, I...”

A red light began to flash like crazy, it was the proximity alert, she dropped the radio and yanked on the controls. It wouldn't be good enough, she had to release the cloud.

A large object loomed up in front of them, with the cloud now released they shot up. Aether Gilileo almost shaking apart under all the stress.

Her heart sank as she saw the large logo “Air Corp” brandished across the huge airship she had almost collided with.

She had heard rumours, she had hoped weren't true, of Air Corp expanding into the area. A swarm of flying objects came flying towards them.

“They want to fight do they?”

Brünhilda grabbed her double-barrel shotgun from its holder behind her and raised it to shoulder level, she had never used it, she wasn't even sure it was loaded, but she would use it if she needed to.

It was a swarm of watermelon sized hoverbots. “This is restricted Air Corp airspace. Leave or we will be forced to take further action against you,” said a mechanical voice.

“This is my seeding area, you have no right to steal it!” she shouted back.

“Air Corp legally bought out your contract and license to seed.”

“You did what?” Tears rolled down her eyes. What would Bob think? Their family business just being taken out like that.

She fired. The recoil of the gun sent her flying back into the wood paneling of her ship. One of the bots caught on fire and went crashing down.

The rest of the bots responded quickly and blasted away at Aether Gilileo with their green lasers, parts of the ship were catching on fire.

“I have to fight them off!”

She pulled herself up by the rail and tried to swat the dancing bots with the gun. Getting more and more frustrated that she couldn't hit any of them. Zeplin purred and wrapped himself around her legs.

“You're right it's hopeless,” she placed the gun down. “Alright! Stop! I'm leaving.”

The bots stopped instantly, and then zoomed off again. With the immediate threat gone she went about putting all the fires out, luckily there was no serious damage and most of the fires had been put out by the wind and rain.

Brünhilda sighed and picked up Zeplin. “Come on, I think it's about time we retired.”


  1. I get it. I do. And I sound like poor reader when I say I wish Brunhilda had taken them all out. I'm a sucker for a happy (violent) ending, ok?

  2. It is good to see a story with an ending where the protagonist didn't pull a miracle out of their backside. It also demonstrates an event that inspires the hero to question their profession. All in all, I like it! ;-)

  3. I like this story. Reading your writing once is never enough :)

  4. Great little flash piece. @ZC maybe after trying out retirement for a month, Brünhilda decided to take up gorilla warfare against the big bag corporation.

  5. @ZC and @Quinn I think had a great idea there. Can maybe title it Brunhilda Strikes Back?

    @Keikomushi thank you! I was very tempted to have a happy ending, but the real world often doesn't work out that way.

    @Olga Very kind words. Thank you Olga!

  6. Some of the one-sentence paragraphs threw me from constructing a tone, particularly "Meow." But it's otherwise a lovely adventure-world flash. Am I wrong for reading "retired" as just packing it in for the day?

  7. I'm looking forward to "Brunhilda Strikes Back"

  8. Well, that was smelly, they didn't even have the good grace to tell her she was off the job.

    I'll look forward to "Brunhilda Strikes Back." I have a feeling that she'll do much better with surprise on her side.

    Nice atmosphere in this story, pulled me right in.

  9. I like the way you merge steam punk with the idea of seeding clouds to rain. Nice conflict between Brünhilda and the air corps.

  10. Big corporations never do care for the little people. Like cloud seeding needs to be anything more than a family business.

    Wonder how the elementals feel about this.

  11. Ah, the little guy gets pushed out of business. Glad she lived to retire though!

  12. I also like a tale with a (somewhat) realistic ending - as someone said above, too often a story ends abruptly with some miracle.(Then it feels like one of those Hallmark movies) :-))

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