Book V Chapter 3: Minor Delays
Unknown Area, Aensdoun
The zeppelin landed with a great lurch that shook everyone inside, sending researchers stumbling and reaching for walls, furniture, and colleagues to keep steady with.
As the engines powered down and the doors were opened, people scurried to and fro to check the safety of the landing area, gather equipment, count heads and rouse sleeping crew.
Excited by the proceedings, several lapsworgn bounced at their handlers' heels, eager to get outside and see what all the fuss was about.
"All expedition members, please remain onboard until you are cleared to exit the zeppelin. I repeat, all expedition members, please remain onboard until you are cleared to exit the zeppelin," a loudspeaker attached to the walls droned.
Seated in a lounge chair by a window, Gabe fidgeted as he looked outside.
He wasn't certain what he expected Aensdoun to look like, but the brushland they seemed to have parked in was slightly disappointing-- not the beautiful, rolling green valleys and forests with distant mountains he was hoping for, at least not here.
As he gazed outward, he took note of small creatures moving throughout the landscape. In one of the few nearby trees, a furry creature clung to a branch, seeming to stare back at him. Farther below, tiny, colorful reptiles scurried through the brush, chasing after insects and other morsels they could get their teeth into.
Gabe suddenly resented being held in the cabin, even if only for a few minutes before they could venture outside. As far as anyone knew, no one had had a chance to catalogue the wildlife of Aensdoun because of its hostile inhabitants.
Perhaps he would have the honor of bringing to light hundreds of new species the developed world had never seen-- and even if not, he had the rare opportunity to see the mysterious continent firsthand.
Without warning, a loud thud shook the zeppelin, causing it to lurch onto its side for a moment; the cabin erupted in shrieks and horrified gasps.
"Dreamwaker's mercy, what was that?!" "The entire zeppelin just tilted!" "What sort of beast could have done such a--"
"Everyone quiet down!"
To everyone's surprise, it was the typically soft-spoken Felld whose voice rose above the chaos. In the background, ferocious snarls and shrieks were accentuated with the sharp report of gunfire.
"Much better, thank you.
Our people are clearing the perimeter of all dangerous creatures-- once they've finished," a man's scream cut into Felld's sentence, "we will make our way outside and find a place to set up camp."
Everyone exchanged fearful glances; Gabriel rose an eyebrow.
"What are you going to do with the corpse?"
"You may study and dissect it once the creature is dispatched, of course. Without a doubt, there shall be many more live ones to observe," Felld smiled.
Chewing upon his lip, Gabriel was torn between fear for his life and overwhelming excitement for the research to come.
Despite himself, he managed a confident smile in return.
Outside of the zeppelin, the mysterious beast bellowed in pain before crashing into the dirt, its fall shaking the earth beneath it.
Next Chapter: Book V Chapter IV
Category: Book V | Story