Ship Log of the Aeolus May 7th, 9pm
Traveling North by Northeast, wind at 9 knots
Picked up survivors of the Airship The Defender. Now traveling from land. Dragnet searching for wreckage of the airship will soon fill the area with official ships best to be avoided. Crew not satisfied with the rescue of men sent to hunt us, but there are certain codes as a sailor that one must follow. Save those who are wrecked in the hope that someday someone might save you. Have ordered Blaze to check the guns in case of meeting a navy or coast guard vessel.
Uncertain of my position on the ship, whether I was a prisoner or a guest, I was nervous to leave the room I spent the night in. A man brought me food, and told me to rest and gain my strength, which I took to mean that I was not to leave my room. It was not until today that I finally gathered the nerve to leave and see about the others.
In looking for my comrades I was able to take a look around the ship that I now found myself on. I passed by members of the pirate crew, but as no one said anything, nor stopped me, I grew bolder. It was clear that I was not to be confined to my room. As I looked around I wondered what the boy had thought we might do to the ship that the pirates had not done already. There were rips in the upholstery, what looked like gun shot holes in other places, and graffiti everywhere. Underneath this damage it looked as though the ship had once been an well appointed pleasure yacht, as I had first thought it to be when I saw it from our small boat.
I found my comrades in what looked as though it was the mess hall. All of them rose to greet me, even Captain Bilke. They soon had food and coffee in front of me, and were asking me about my absence from the table the day before. I said I had not been feeling well from over exposure. It was too embarrassing to admit that I had been too frightened to come from my room. Instead I allowed myself to be fussed over by the crew, which was not so bad of a feeling, even if they did make comments about reporters not belonging on ships again. The pirate crew never approached us that day but I was well aware that there was always someone from the crew there, keeping an eye on us. Since we had been sent to capture them, I could hardly blame them for not trusting us.
At suppertime we were directed to line up with the rest of the crew for the cook to ladle us out our portion of the rations. It was clear that special treatment was over. Not that it was great hardship. The crew ate well, and so long as you did not consider that you were eating the product of theft, it was easy to gorge oneself. To my surprise Captain Neriena also ate in the mess hall, of the same rations. It was clear that this ship was a more democratic one than The Defender had been. I suppose I might have guessed this of a crew that would allow a women to be a captain and a boy to be the gunner. I have yet to see either demonstrate the role of either role however, and I do wonder if they are only officers in name alone.
Clipping from the Chicago Eagle
Six men of the crew of the airship The Defender have been recovered from an overturned boat from the Atlantic. The crewmen had been clinging to the overturned lifeboat for over twenty-four hours, and had been at sea since the storm that The Defender was lost in. The men were in weak condition and it is not certain if they will live yet.
One man was able to speak to authorities but what he stated brings little new information. High winds caused the balloon to rip, he stated, causing the ship to fall from the sky. When she hit the ocean he assures us there was the greatest effort to launch boats possible, but he cannot be certain what became of them, as they were separated in the storm. He does say that he does not think their chances high considering the state of the ocean at the time of the wreck.
Among those saved is the reporter stationed on the airship from the Times, our own reporter, Emmet King remains missing however.Among those missing is also the captain of the ship, Chicago native Captain Bilke. Though no word has been heard of them, it is to be hoped that the other life boats come to shore in their own time, and all will be found in a state of good health.
To Christopher King
How terrible it is to have one’s hopes dashed in the space of only a few short hours. As the news came accross the wires and then out into the streets “survivors found” I caught my breath and I do not think I breathed again until those hopes were crushed. Hope escaped me once again. I am happy to tell you that in my uncertainty I did not tell the children of my hopes. I would have hated to have to tell them that their father was still as lost as he was this morning. Keeping a happy face on for the children is getting more difficult now that I am not certain how long we will be left to question what happened to Mett.
I thank you for your offer to allow the children to stay with you for several days while I attempt to get our family finances in order. Bills are beginning to come due and I have not seen any pay from the newspaper since the airship was lost. I fear we may lose the apartment. I can sell some of the furniture, but it will be less painful if they children are not forced to watch. Mett’s absence is already difficult enough of a change for them, without them also seeing us sell things that they have known all of their lives.
I know that we both pray for good tidings,
This morning at breakfast Captain Neriena stood up before all of us, and told us that she had an announcement to make. Those of us who are not members of her crew at first paid her little mind as we assumed her announcement related to members of her crew. She soon drew our attention however, stating that what she had to say related especially to us. With that we became nervous. We might have been rescued by them, but they were still pirates. It did not escape the minds of any of us that they might have changed their minds and we might well be returned to the sea. Perhaps with even less than we had started with. The word marooned came to my mind.
Instead it was announced that a source on shore had sent them an important telegraph. A boat with survivors had been found, though the source had not written who were among their number. It was good news indeed. None of us was more relieved than Captain Bilke, who despite the sinking of The Defender still seems to think of every man on her as his charge.
The boy who was always with Captain Neriena came up to us after the meal was over. For the first time he introduced himself, calling himself Blaze. I asked him if that was his last name, but he simply said it was his name, and would say no more than that. Soon after that I heard another crewmember being called Catfish, and it occurred to me that it might be well for a pirate not to be honest about his name.
Blaze told us that we will be landing somewhere in Canada soon, for refueling and restocking of supplies. He would not say where in Canada, though Captain Bilke asked. He made it clear that we were expected to keep to our rooms for the entire time that we were on the ground, and that guards would be posted outside of our doors, to make certain that we honored that. He said we need not try to communicate with any of the men of the airfield that came aboard as they all were being paid well not to notice anything. In any case, we were to be landing at an airfield that had no proper purpose, and the men we would be dealing with would be smugglers. They would care very little for our safety if they found that Captain Neriena had brought civilians into their hidden port of call.
I had not been aware that there were hidden airfields used by smugglers, but once their existence was mentioned to me, I wondered that I had not thought of them. It was only natural that smugglers should want their goods to be somewhere other than the major ports of call. Captain Bilke asked if this meant that we should consider ourselves prisoners, but Blaze said that was not what he intended. He assured us it was for our protection that we should not leave our rooms. I suspected it was just as much for the protection of the ship’s relationship with the smugglers.
We have been told that we may write letters to loved ones to let them know that we are alive and safe, but that our letters will be read first, to ensure that we do not reveal anything about who we are with or where we are. This is an unexpected mark of kindness that I did not expect. I am certain the crew knows that they are endangering themselves by allowing this, and I think of them better now.