Thurston tipped the hot, dark tea to his lips and sipped in the savory elixir as he looked out of the lead paned window of his converted factory laboratory. His personal air-ship Intrepid Dawn would be leaving this afternoon on its way to the southern ice frontier. The crew was seasoned, loyal, and prepared. The stocks were loaded on board and the weather was favorable for departure. Still.. something ate at his gut even though the tea came as some relief.
Tomorrow would be Crown Day in London and he had never missed the event. Since he was a child he would go to the Towers of London with his mother and enjoy the festivities. Alas, he was older now but some part of him yearned still for that simpler time. Though he was pulled to stay, his heart was torn. Bess had disappeared more than two months ago. Her return was far overdue. She was his true love and her airship had not been heard from since a brief, broken cyto-transmission week ago. He held the tela-script from that last wire in his hands now...
"Start Electoprint3432: "This is Bess R___ posting position southern reaches ocean Britani___ - BREAK - "Storm overtook airshi___ and seeking cover on western expanse__ slope of Mt Greystoke___ BREAK - " some Bleakskin signs__ danger in ___ seeking protection ___ BREAK"
That was all that was received. He had read it a hundred times. With the clues it contained he would depart on this mission. Opening the drawer of his hammered copper desk he withdrew his trusty Fenbolt revolver and holster buckling it around his waist as he had done a thousand times - as had his father before him. He inspected the crystal tipped bullets as he slid them into the hoops in the belt. Forbid that he would need to use them for he knew that it was only the crystal from Arcadia Island that would stop the Bleakskins if they were encountered in the frontier.
With luck and with courage, they would be together again. They must... be together again! - The Travels of Thurston Von Hamilton