The Zeppelin

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Set in a city built underground, a story about a mechanic of The Zeppelin being hunted down.

Submitted: January 16, 2016

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Submitted: January 16, 2016

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 The Mechanic

Laturen gazed out of the only window in The Zeppelin's break room, all the 
noise around him being covered up by the loud crunch of his toast, he 
recalled a conversation he had with his grandfather six years ago when he was eight,

Laturen was walking home with his grandfather, pulling his arm
the get him to walk faster, then his grandfather just stopped,
not having noticed this, Laturen gave his arm a strong tug and
stumbled, afterwards, he noticed that his grandfather was no longer
moving, instead he stared at the top of the cavern, seemingly
disappointed.

"What's wrong?" he asked in his squeaky voice.

For a few moments his grandfather just continued staring, accompanied
by the sound of construction in the background.

 Then he began speaking in a croaky voice, "we weren't born in this
cave, we lived on the surface, with a vast blue sky, green grass all 
around and enough food for everyone."

"So why are we here?" Laturen asked genuinely wanting to know.

"Well some people still live on the surface, a long time ago, we all
lived on the surface, but we ran out of land so some of us have to
stay here underground," he explained with his voice slowly becoming
less downbeat, as if just realising he was speaking to a child. He grabbed
Laturen's hand with a smile, "come on let's go home."

Laturen tried imagining a vast blue open space replacing the roof of the cave, but all he could see was the cavern's roof , rainwater from the surface dripping down the edge of the cave into the tanks and steam hissing out of The Zeppelin fogging up the window. He sighed and just sat there until he finished his toast and got back to work,e was the youngest mechanic on The Zeppelin so he got the 'special' job of waxing the pipes, which he thought was not even a job for a mechanic, the only mechanic on The Zeppelin with a worse job was his best friend Angus, his job was to replace the pipes in the bathroom whenever the were clogged.

Angus was always made fun of because of his red hair, forcing him 
to constantly wear a beret, speaking of which Laturen has not seen him for two days .


Laturen was waxing the pipes on the ceiling of a small empty room, then he accidentally pulled off a cog holding a few pipes together, causing them to all to fall on the floor making a metallic sound. Luckily they were old pipes no longer in use. Suddenly The Zeppelin stopped moving causing Laturen to lose balance and the pipes to roll away.

"ALL WORKERS TO THE OFFICE!"

Darn, Laturen panicked and just laid the fallen pipes on the top of the secure pipes, kept the cog in his pocket and ran to the office.

After giving out the food rations and credits to all of the workers, the captain of The Zeppelin approached Laturen with Angus by his side.

"All the passengers and the other workers have left, I'll drop you two off at the warehouse with the keys to two cabins," said the Captain with a stern but kind voice.

Then the captain walked off. Laturen looked at Angus for a second before speaking, he was wrapped in a grey blanket eating bread with his red hair showing.

"Where have you been?" Laturen asked. "Last I saw you was two days ago!"

"I got stuck in Storage Cell B," he shook his head as if recalling memories.

"Oh man, are you alright?" Laturen sympathises.

"Yeah..."

Laturen looked at Angus then he realised something was off.
"What happened to your beret?" he asked as if a law has been broken.

"I got really hungry.." he answered shivering at the thought.

"But Storage Cell B is the food cell..." staring at him a bit freaked out.

"Oh... well I have to catch up with the he work I missed yesterday," he murmured walking, as The Zeppelin started moving again.


The Zeppelin was the largest machine in the cave, it was designed by Michael Burton, the purpose of The Zeppelin is to allow the rich people of the cave to travel to different stations near the edges of the cave, because the large, expensive residential areas were at the edges of the cave. The edges were also where the steam holes are, steam holes allow steam to escape to the surface and rainwater from the surface to come in. 

The housing in the middle was called the slums, the people there were not necessarily poor, just not extremely rich, in the very middle was the Citadel, which houses the people who make the major decisions like the construction of The Zeppelin.

The Zeppelin was nothing like the first generation of zeppelins, it was kept afloat by fan and the balloon contained three levels of rooms such as, the engine room, storage cells, cabin rooms, kitchens and a ballroom. Outside the balloon was the Captains Quarters.

When Laturen's parents died, he could no longer pay for the rent for their house in the slums, fortunately the Captain of The Zeppelin let him stay at the warehouse when The Zeppelin goes for repairs. After the Captain let stay, he met Angus who has also staying at the warehouse.

 


Laturen was going through Storage Cell C to make sure it was clean, but then he heard something shake behind a couple of crates in the corner. He braced his right arm in front of him and turn on his flashlight in his other hand as he slowly walked towards the sound he heard. Suddenly a piece of bread came flying at his face, while wiping the crumbs off his face, he heard someone vault over the crates and a metallic clank on the floor. Laturen panicked but he managed to grab the person by the wrist, after a quick look he realised the person was a girl. He noticed her take a quick glance at him before speaking.

"You're a mechanic!" she said slightly muffled by her scarf.

"What were you b-" Laturen was going to as, before being interrupted by the girl.

"Just let me pass through, I'll owe you one!" she pleaded. "Are we near station nine?"

"We've already passed the station, The Zeppelin is heading to the warehouse, it won't go back for a week." Laturen informed her.

"Ugh...no!" she pulled her arm away and ran off.

"Where are you going? Who are you?" but she disappeared before he finished his question.

Laturen went to see what the metallic clank he heard earlier was, he went to the corner and saw a silver pocket watch. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. When he looked back out the door, the girl was gone.
 
Laturen had fallen asleep in the ballroom, until he was awoken by a high pitch squeak from a door at the other end of the ballroom, he fell off his chair. When he regained his bearings, he peaked his head just above the edge of the table in front of him. Standing in the doorway was a tall man in a trench coat and a fedora. The captain needs to do a better job with making sure no passengers stay on board, Laturen thought. The wood creaked at every step the man took forward, the man reached into his pocket and Laturen stood up to get a better look.

"What are you doi-" he asked stopping himself at the end when he saw the handle of a gun, the first and only thing that came to Laturen's mind was RUN.

Laturen jumped over the table behind him and ran through the nearer door which brought him to a corridor covered in doors, the only door that stood out was the bathroom door, there was a one in thirty five chance that Angus would be in the bathroom, but Laturen could hear the man's shoes hitting the ground behind him, he needed that chance, Laturen burst through the door, to his relief, there sat Angus, cleaning pipes.

Laturen locked the door and let out a sigh of relief as Angus sat there in shock yet he continued cleaning the pipe in his hand.

"Angus! Thanks God, I need your help!" Laturen shouted.

"You know what happened last time I helped you with your job," he murmured. "Besides I have to do my own job, they served a lot of beans on this trip." He shivered and continued cleaning.

"No," Laturen screams as he unlocked the door to take a peek and thankfully, the man was gone, but he still locked the door afterwards. 

"Some guy in a trench coat with a gun is chasing me!" he shouted. "I think he heard me talking to you and ran away."

"WHAT!" Angus shouted, standing straight up.

"I saw him in the ballroom, I think he was pulling out a gun so I started running, I heard him chase after me!" He explained

"We gotta do something!" he proposed.

After a couple of minutes, they thought of a plan, Laturen realised that the man was only after him when he was alone, so he would walk into an empty room and pretend to work, while Angus waited against the wall next to the doorway. They hoped that the man would walk in and Angus would knock him out with a broomstick.

Laturen walked straight into the empty room spinning his cleaning rag on his finger out of anxiety.

"Umbrella," he said nervously, that was their code word, to make sure it was really Angus behind the door, he had to reply with 'Lamp'. Laturen waited a couple of seconds for a reply but he felt as if he waited minutes.

"Lamp," although it seemed to sound deeper than Angus' usual voice, Laturen let out a sigh of relief.

Laturen was halfway into the room when he heard the floor creak making him tense his shoulders. He turned around to make sure it was just Angus but he saw the man standing next to Angus' , hopefully just unconscious, body.

Laturen panicked and looked for something to do, he looked through his pockets, the man took a step forward and put his hand on the door, Laturen felt something in his pocket, a cog. The man slammed the door and Laturen could hear heavy pipes above him, the pipes hit his head, then he blacked out.

 

The Hunter

Enzo was a hunter, paid assassin, hitman, whatever name you give it, it still involved murder. It was not the greatest job in the cave and it was not exactly legal, but it paid well enough for him to live in a house in the slums.

Enzo's current target was a kid, an orphaned mechanic that lived on The Zeppelin, he did not know why his client was after a kid but half his job was not caring.

He packed his gun into a briefcase, wore his trench coat and a tilted fedora to hide his face. Lastly he grabbed his ticket to The Zeppelin.

He slowly made his way from his house, near the centre on the slums to the nearest Zeppelin station at the edge of the cave. On his way, he found a number of posters of a 'food thief' At least I'm not the only criminal around here, he thought to himself.  

When Enzo arrived at the port, he started to question if he could last 2 days around these people. He could not stand the rich, their ridiculous outfits, weird jewellery around their necks and their 'posh' way of speaking. The moment the conductor let him in, he quickly made his way to his cabin and locked the door, the cabin was just about as big as his house, he stored his briefcase underneath the drawer and laid down in the bed.

When Enzo woke up, he opened his door and watched the ballroom across the corridor, he waited until the room was full enough that no one would notice if he entered the room. When he decided it was full, he walked up to the counter, handed the waitress a food ration, received a piece of toast bread and he walked straight out. As he ate his bread he walked around The Zeppelin, he tried to block out the sounds of the people talking with the loud crunch of the toast.

They've made a lot of changes since my last job here, he though to himself.

 

After walking around The Zeppelin, he arrived back at his room, his plan was to wait until The Zeppelin station nine and three quarters and made its way to the warehouse, that was when The Zeppelin was emptiest.

After two days, The Zeppelin was nearing the station, he pulled out his briefcase and took out his pistol two shots just in case, he thought. He pushed down the cover of his briefcase until it clicked, he hid the gun in his pocket and slid the briefcase underneath the bed.

After scouting The Zeppelin, he decided to hide in Storage Cell A until The Zeppelin left the station.

Enzo expected someone to go through the Storage Cell before they took off but no one went through, he knew there were only three people left on The Zeppelin, the Captain, who would be in the Captains Quarters, his target who could be anywhere and another mechanic who would be in the bathrooms generally, Enzo left the storage cell and began looking for his target.

After an hour of looking around, he found his target asleep in the ballroom. The only problem was the rusty sliding door in between them. Enzo pulled up his sleeves and tried to slide the door as quietly as possible. The door squeaked every inch it moved, the door was half way open and the kid was still asleep, snoring even. At the last few inches,the door made an extremely loud squeak which caused the kid to wake up and fall off his chair. Enzo clenched his fist in anger but regained his poker face and pulled down his fedora when the kid peeked over the table. Enzo put his hand in his pocket end began pulling out his pistol. 

"What are you d-" the kid began saying, but as soon as he saw the gun he jumped over the table behind him and ran through the door, Enzo began chasing after him and realised he could have just walked around the ballroom and gone through the open door. Enzo saw the kid run into a bathroom and heard him talk to someone, probably the other mechanic. Enzo ran around the outside of the bathroom and put his ear against the wall. After a couple of minutes, they began discussing a plan. 

They were going to lure Enzo into a room and have the mechanic knock him out, the main point was their safe words, his target had to say 'Umbrella' and the other mechanic had to say 'Lamp'.

 

Enzo went to the room in the plan and waited for the mechanic, as he waited he debated whether he had to kill the other mechanic, he was not a target, and he had not seen Enzo's face, he had no reason at all to kill him. So he decided to pull out an soaked rag from his other pocket and waited.

Two minutes later, the other mechanic entered the room, Enzo slid behind him, held his arms together his left arm and covered his mouth with the rag using the other arm. The mechanic struggled but eventually passed out and Enzo dragged him behind the door, Enzo stood beside the body next to the door. A while later, he heard someone take a step into the room on the other side of the door.

"Umbrella," the kid said nervously.

"Lamp," Enzo said trying to imitate the other mechanic.

The kid seemed to accept the reply and walked into the room. Enzo leant forward to take a step, the floor creaked and the kid turned around, he looked at the mechanic on the floor and began to panic, Enzo took a step forward and put his hand on the door as the kid went through his pockets well this is it, he thought.

 He slammed the door and to his surprise, a bunch of pipes fall on the kids head and he fell unconscious, although is surprised him, it made his job easier for him. He steps forward and he pulled out his gun but before he could shoot, he heard the door open behind him, he turned around, but it was too late, all he saw was a red hammer swinging towards him. It only hit his chest but it was enough to knock him out.

The Stowaway

Bianca did not have a home, although she really wanted one she was the only person who had to enter the cave alone because her parents had to stay on the surface, she was supposed to stay with another family but they abandoned her when they were running low on money. All she had left from her parents was a scarf her mother had given her and a pocket watch from her father.

Bianca slowly opened the window of a random house in the slums, she sneaked into the house through the window and looked around, after making sure no one was in the house with her, she began looking for food. Eventually she found a corncob on the counter, she reached her arm out to take it but before she grabbed it she hesitated, well if they can leave it out like this, the probably don't need it as much as I do, she decided, so she took it and put it into her backpack. As she looked for more food, she heard a door open in the house, she rushed back to the same window she entered the house from. She grabbed the top rim of the window, pulled herself up like you would on a chin-up bar and pushed her legs through the window and ran away from the house.

When she thought she was far enough, she stopped to open her backpack, she took out the corncob, slung the bag on her shoulder and began walking as she ate the corn. As she walked, she came upon a wall covered in posters
mostly of people complaining about the rich but one stood out, it was a poster about a 'food thief'  she ripped it off the wall and tore it apart. 

"I've been here too long, I've got to take The Zeppelin to the next section of the cave," she thought to herself.

She finished off the corncob, stuffing her cheeks with kernels. She looked around her making sure no one was there, having seen no one she tossed it behind her, over her shoulder. Seconds after tossing it, she heard a loud shattering noise, presumably a window, hearing this made Bianca's shoulders tense and eyes widen.

"Hey!" shouted someone in the direction that she threw the cob, Bianca bit her lower lip and ran away.
Bianca was at the edge of the slums near a Zeppelin station, she had to take The Zeppelin once every seven to eight months to the next station because that is usually the amount of time before they notice something's up. By the time she got back to a station, they would have already forgotten about last time.

Bianca looked through her backpack and took out a couple of items : A scarf, a cap and a pocket watch. She wrapped her neck and the bottom half of her face with the scarf and used the cap to cover the rest of her face other than her eyes, she could still see where she was going. She looked at the pocket watch and put it back into her bag.

Bianca looked at the queue and and decided to hide behind a couple boarding The Zeppelin. When the conductor let the couple through, Bianca followed swiftly behind them, but the conductor noticed.

"HEY!" He shouted.

He tried to follow her but the people in the queue started complaining shouting 'Hurry up!' repeatedly. With this distraction, Bianca ran into The Zeppelin.

Bianca's usual plan was to hide in Storage Cell B and take food from the crates but Storage Cell B was locked, so she had to steal bread from the kitchen and and stayed in Storage Cell C. A trip from one station to the next usually took about two days, during which Bianca planned to spend behind two storage crates in the corner of the Cell.

Bianca was asleep until she was awoken by the sound of the Storage Cell door opening, she peeked over the crates and saw a boy about her age, she moved back and accidentally kicked her backpack, the the boy must have heard it since he turned around to face her direction and started walking towards her, she looked at her supplies to see what she could use to escape, the only thing she could do was to throw a piece of bread at him, so she did.

The distraction seemed to work so she grabbed her backpack, jumped over the crate in front of her and made her way to the door, she thought she had made it but just before she got out, the boy grabbed her wrist.

There was a moment of silence as the two just looked at each other. The boy was blonde, covered in stains and had a tool belt with wrenches and rags.

"You're a mechanic!" she exclaimed.

"What were you b-" Bianca did not want to answer his questions so she just kept talking over him.

"Just let me pass through, I'll owe you one!" she said as she looked for a way out "Are we near station nine?"

"We've already passed the station, The Zeppelin is heading to the warehouse, it won't go back for a week." As he said this, his grip loosened, but she also realised what he was saying.

I slept past the station! She thought, annoyed with herself.

"Ugh...no!" she said tugging her arm away with as much force she could use without hurting her arm.

The boy seemed to say something but Bianca was busy thinking of what to do. After running for a while, she locked herself in an empty cabin room and planned to wait there until they arrived at the warehouse. She laid down on the bed and rummaged through her bag for food but then she realised her pocket watch was gone.

"NO!" she screamed into a pillow.

Bianca laid in the bed for a long time, until she heard a conversation next door in the bathroom, she put her ear against the wall, after listening for a while, she gathered that the boy she met in the Storage Cell was being attacked by some man, and he and a friend plan to knock him out. A while later they left the bathroom to execute their plan. Bianca had no reason to help them,she herself was hiding from them.

Later on, she heard a commotion in the room the kid walked into, at that point, Bianca decided that she had to know what was happening, she got out of the room and grabbed a red hammer she found leaning against the wall.

Bianca slowly inched towards the door, she put her hand on the door knob. When she opened the door, she saw a man in a trench coat and fedora holding a gun, the man begins to turn around as Bianca starts to swing, she hit the man and he fell over clutching his chest, she looked around the room and saw the massacre, she drags the boy and his friend out of the room, as she drags the boy, she noticed something in his pocket and she pulled it out, it was her pocket watch. Bianca smiled and put it into her pocket, shut the door and jammed it with a chair from one of the cabins.

Bianca grabbed her bag and waited at the entrance of The Zeppelin, the moment it arrived at the warehouse, she ran.

She did not know what happened afterwards.
Whether any of them died, or if she helped at all.
All she knew was that, that man in a trench coat had a lot of money.
She threw the brown leather wallet into the air and caught it on the fall,
It was time to buy herself house.

 


© Copyright 2019 Nicholas Smith. All rights reserved.

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