Short introduction: Skie is a series of flying islands, ruled by a small number of city states that all hate each other. They've agreed to ban flying machines (Skyships) with the exception of a small police force for the sake of not killing each other, and of course, as for every law, there are those who live to break it.
The room was dark. Isaac peered in nervously, clenching the note in one balled fist. “Hello?”
There was no reply. He stepped through the doorway hesitantly, glancing around at the ashen shadows of the hanger. Huge, curving forms were suspended high overhead, with walkways interspersed here and there, with dangling ropes and curling pipes winding along the pathways. His eyes adjusted as he stood in the darkness that ate all the color out of it, staring. There was a window, somewhere high above him, but most of it's light had been lost to the thick coating of dust that fell heavy in the air.
Something moved near his feet. He jumped back, and the black and white cat stared at him, curious. He breathed out, relieved.
“Hello, uh, cat.” He knelt, holding out his hand to the creature. It examined him with a disdainful air, and paused for a moment, thinking.
And then it bit him.
“Ow!” he pulled his hand back abruptly. “Dumb cat!”
“His name is Ferris.” A woman's voice came from behind him, barely hiding a kind of sadistic, braying laughter. “He does that.”
“Oh!” Isaac whirled, forgetting his bleeding finger. “Who are you?”
“Same person that gave you the note, of course!” She laughed, switching on the lights. The room was not lit by a single bulb, but by close to a dozen separate light sources—ranging from an old, flickering fake-flame bulb to a string of Christmas lights. This oddity was lost on him, though, as he stared at the woman in front of him.
Old Crow looked remarkably like her wanted posters, it occurred to him. The high ponytail was a little longer, of a dark brown the color of dirt, and she looked a little younger—though, perhaps, that was the wide smile more than any actual indicators. The wrinkles around her eyes certainly didn't make her look any younger, but the freckles that dotted her face made her seem almost childlike as she stood, laughter plain in her face and her stance as he stared. Her clothes were baggy and warm, an old green sweater over burned, greasy work pants, and a leather tool belt that extended down one leg, not unlike his own. She wore combat boots, stained with mud, and he glanced back up at her face, feeling half afraid and half incredulous.
“Didn't your mother ever tell you it's not polite to stare?” she asked, moving in on him like a freight train. “Stand up straight, shut your mouth, and try not to look like a fish.” She prodded him into position, then surveyed him with a discerning smile. “Better. Now, you're the halfwit flier that I saved from the police ships today.” He nodded dully. “First time?”
“Yes, Sir.” She emphasized, looking pointedly at him. “Honestly, what do they teach you...”
He stared a moment before he finally caught on.“Yes Sir.”
“Better.” She gestured with a wrench at his ragged toolbelt. “Doesn't look like you know quite what you're doing, now does it.”
“Well, ah, no, sorry.” She shot him a glare. “Ma'am.”
“Sir!” He held up his hands apologetically. “But it was my first time.”
“Flying or building?” She inquired, holding the wrench threateningly.
“Hm.” She surveyed him for a moment longer, like a general surveying their troops. “Not bad, then. Not bad at all.”
“Um, thank you.”
“Could've been a lot better, though!” She whirled, striding across the workshop. “Come with me. I'll teach you a thing or two.”
“Um, about what, exactly?” He followed her cautiously, being careful not to step on any of the myriad bits of ship scattered about.
“Building! Flying! What makes things go! Come on, boy, keep up!”
“Right.” He sped up his pace to where he was almost running. “So, um, Sir? Where are we going?”
“Workshop, where did you think?”
“You mean this isn't...”
“This is a hanger, boy! What did you think it was, a pretty princess powder room?” The gestures Old Crow made as she spoke would have been hilarious had she not been holding the wrench in the other hand. “Hanger, H-a-nggg-er! Say it with me now, haaaang-eeeer.” She stopped so abruptly that he almost ran into her, and whirled again. “I can't hear you.”
“Hanger.” He very hard not to look as shocked as he felt.
“Haaaaang-eeeer” She enunciated, though he couldn't quite tell what he'd said wrong.
“Haaaang-eeer.” He repeated.
“Better.” She nodded, turning again. “Hanger. Just do what I do, boy, and you'll learn the ropes in no time!”
"What ropes am I learning, exactly?"
"Look," She whirled to face him again. "Apparently, you're as smart as you are pretty. So let me spell this out for you. You have two choices. You can work for me, become my apprentice, and learn to build, maintain and fly faster than you ever could on your own. Ooor, this is the dumb choice, you can say no, and I hit you with this wrench and feed you to my cats."
"...The first one, please."
She glared at him for a moment.
This story is three years old. I swear. I just haven't posted any of it before.(Have you heard that before? Yessss.)
That being said, I think I'm actually running out of stories I've had for forever and not posted, so maybe we'll eventually get some continuity going on. Maybe. Unless I think of some new ones.