But first he needs to gain the respect of his crew. Not easy to do when you’re the youngest captain in the fleet and completely untested.
When a stowaway appears on Damiano’s maiden voyage, his perfect dream quickly starts to crumble around him. Damiano knows it’ll take a miracle to right things again, and he might end up falling back to Earth before he ever gets the chance to fly...
...Damiano heard snickering from a few men on the side of the path as he approached, but these noises were quickly silenced once he passed them. He’d have to work on that, though he couldn’t afford for it to take too long. His men needed to respect him, despite the display his mother had made in front of many of the people she knew. It would take effort to gain their respect from the beginning. After all, he was an untested captain. They didn’t yet know how he’d perform under the pressures of the sky. But he was his father’s son and the sole male heir to his parent’s estate. He deserved this title in life and would have it. Damn those who would try to stop him to the depths of the dark blue sea off their good country’s rocky coast.
“Hello, Captain,” a man, presumably his first mate by the shiny patch he wore on his coat, greeted him.
Damiano squared his shoulders and took the man’s hand firmly in his own before he had a chance to offer it. “Good to meet you. I, as you know, am your captain, Damiano Linderhurst. And you are?”
While the man didn’t look as impressed by Damiano’s declaration of his name and rank as Damiano believed he should have, he gave Damiano’s hand a firm shake. Full lips split into a wide grin. “They call me Bran. I’ll be your first mate. And this here is a fine ship, the best in the fleet. I be proud to serve on her with you, sir.”
He preened a bit under the man’s assessment of the vessel. He’d lobbied hard to get this one ship, the fastest airship available. It’d taken more gold than he cared to admit but he was her captain and the Victoria was his for as long as the good queen graced him with the beauty’s care. “Very well,” he said, dropping Bran’s hand. “Are the men all aboard and ready to go?”
Bran nodded and led the way up the unsteady wooden ramp to the deck. “Aye, sir. All thirty-six souls well and accounted for.”
“Good,” Damiano declared, setting foot on the Victoria for the first time. She was a good, steady vessel, the likes of which a man of his caliber deserved. He went to her bow and looked over the streets of London and its people. Home would be a faraway memory for the next year, and though his heart was filled with anticipation for his first voyage, he knew he’d miss the familiar streets and friendly faces of his home. No matter, he was a captain of his very own airship now. He was an adult and adult men did not become homesick. At least not in his mind...