Clear For Action
by Dan L.
An "Art Time With Nick Tockert" Story Prompt:
in his red cloak and
hat, stalked the bridge of his ship Evermore. His
face stern and
weathered by the duties of a life spent protecting those he long ago
His loyalty to a Monarch and Country so far in the past that even he
remember but little of those halcyon, bygone days. His crew, long ago
trusting to their Captain’s honor and duty, were diligent in their
desiring to serve under his leadership come hell or high water.
were their foes, no matter how powerful or elusive they may be. His
ground was the wide, world sea. His crew sought only to serve by his
fight, and mayhap to die, in service to a Royalty that had long since
into legend. Nevertheless, loyal were his crew—to a man—and no hardship
deterred them from the pursuit of the duties that limned their lives in
contrasts between long spells of boredom, and short, sharp episodes of
them could remember a time when their Captain was not there, inspiring
fulfill their ancient and solemn oaths. Some of the crew were old
years. Others were but newly-fledged recruits joined at far-flung
ports. All were pledged to defend the honor and pageantry and
sovereignty of a
long-forgotten realm, ages ago passed into legend. One which even their
only dimly remembered.
of untold ages writ subtle lines into his otherwise unmarked visage.
and long and long ago sworn an oath to serve and protect a sovereign
country that had vanished into the ageless mists of time. Yet, so long
lived, he would honor that oath. The years hung heavy upon him, even as
appeared untouched by them. Perhaps only Vanderdecken,
himself, would understand the entirety of the red-clad Captain’s
the port bow,” the lookout called from the tall mast which held the
“No flag,” he added in a hoarse shout down to the decks. Could this be
the captain’s enemies? Using a long brass telescope, the captain peered
the far-away ship on the horizon. His steely, grey-green eyes studied
distant craft. Within moments, the captain frowned in distaste.
spotted, Sid,” the captain shouted aloft to the ever-vigilant lookout.
all sail!” He instructed the crew. “Stand by for action!” He added. As
to his blue-clad second in command, he said, “anything can happen in
thirty minutes. Make the cannons ready. Have all crew issued double
while we speed to an intercept with those daemons. I want everyone well
and well fed while we chase them down. By the time we reach them, it’ll
be nothing, or Hell itself unleashed. Only time will tell If these
fiends sail under the Green Circle flag of our enemies. If they be
will give them as good as we’ve got. If they are innocent traders,
soon enough. It behooves us to make ready to repel boarders—if
replied his second in command. “If this be battle, we will be ready.”
© 2023 Dan L. Hollifield
Artwork © 2023 Nick Tockert
Bio: Dan L. Hollifield is the
Senior Editor and Publisher of Aphelion Webzine. Best known for his
Mare Inebrium spaceport bar shared universe and his Adventures Of Tom
Darby stories, he is also a music composer, artist, and raconteur.
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