Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones (Iron Angel)

The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones (Iron Angel)
Robert Roman

The Triple Alliance, led by Kaiser Otto II, struck without warning. The combination of Prussian military might, Austrian clockwork, and Ottoman funding cut through the unprepared Entente powers like a chainsaw through Brie; hamstringing Britain, pinning Russia, and very nearly destroying France. The year is 1908, and the Entente is almost defunct. One base in the south of France is all that remains in Entente hands. All that remains to defend freedom are three Engineers.

One is an ingenue.

One is crippled.

One is dead.


The roar of her Engines loud in her ears, Cap examined the wreckage of her wings. The right had been sheared off completely; only a portion of the leather remained. Sabotage had done for the other wing, the corroded leather strap still smoked faintly. The fabric was still attached, but the wing had been torn and broken in too many places to effect repairs.

The corroded leather told Cap a tale of betrayal, one she had unwittingly been complicit in. She had been so careful to check each and every part the Sephardic bastard had machined for her, to test each and every batch of alloy he mixed. She had known David Abrams lusted after her work from the moment he saw the partial designs. She had known, and kept the secret of how the parts fit together from him for just that reason. She thought she’d been so clever in keeping the secret of her Engines.

She had been. She just hadn’t been near as careful or as clever with her wings. They were, after all, just cut down versions of Orville’s design. She’d shared them with David, much as she’d shared herself with him; as a consolation for not sharing her Engines or the mix of fuel that powered them. Now, it seemed, that attempted kindness had come back to destroy her.

Suspicious, she checked her parachute. It took a full minute of careful digging for her to find the shattered glass vial within the tightly packed cloth. Her fingers burned from touching the cloth, her face burned with shame, and most of all her heart blazed with impotent fury at the man who had killed her.

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