‘If there’s something they ain’t saying,’ Rayna said as she came back into the pilot’s cockpit, ‘They’re planning on taking it to the grave. I say we open the cargo hold and let them do just that.’
‘What have you learned?’ the Swordsman asked, and she sat into the cushioned seat beside his, stretching in it. ‘Nothing much,’ she shrugged. ‘Some name-callers desperately wants to see you, it seems. Me, not so much. Man was planning on selling me as a slave, probably.’
‘I see,’ he said, and that was all.
‘Quite the popular guy, aren’t ya?’ she said, grinning. ‘Don’t you worry mate, I’m not looking to pry, or anything. A man’s past is his own business, that’s what paps used to tell me.’
The Swordsman thought that this was strangely hypocritical, but kept that to himself. He just looked straight out into the desert that the airship was zooming over. ‘How long more until Hong Kong?’ he asked, looking at Rayna.
She shrugged. ‘How fast is this ship going? Could be anywhere between two to five days, depending,’ she said. ‘We learned this once back in physics ed – something to do with the planet’s magnetic field fluctuations, that kinda thing. It makes the airship’s speed, y’know, inconsistent.’
He nodded at this. That was supposed to be the end of their brief conversation, but then on the screen displaying the terrain map, he caught something appearing right on the edge of it.
‘Do you see that?’ he asked, pointing.
‘See it just fine, Stubs,’ Rayna said. ‘Seems to be almost a hundred miles out of the way, though. Curiosity getting the better of you?’
And then it happened: the airship’s fuel dropped below the critical level, and the autopilot dictated that the ship must do an emergency landing and wait to be refueled. As the lights dimmed all around them, the Swordsman and Rayna only looked up and around in confusion.
The HMS Clarent’s high-pitched whine slowed down, and soon it found itself resting against the soft sand of the desert floor once more, the morning sun just peeking up over the horizon.