Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Baroness' Birthday

For those of you who don't know, The Baroness, Grand Matriarch of the Lohlephel clan, the main protagonists of my next trilogy of Science-Fiction books is loosely based on my long-suffering wife. This is a story that I wrote for her Birthday - She has kindly agreed to let me share it with you.

See if you can figure out who her husband, The Baron, is based on (I'm not going to give you any clues, but I'm trying to get Gary Oldman to play me... Erm, I mean him... in the upcoming film.)


The Baroness was cornered like a hedgehog.  In all of her years as captain of the airship, The Granthar’s Hammer, she had prided herself on always having a fool-proof escape plan. Not this time though, trapped in the claustrophobic corridor between a supply closet and the hangar bay, she eyed the scarlet steel behemoth in front of her warily. Its thick shoulder armour scraping gouges out of the plasterwork as it shuffled left and right to match her attempts to slip around it. “Get out of my way you idiot!”

Its ironclad head slowly rotated from side to side.

She sighed, “So help me, I will take a can opener to you if you do not get the hell out of my way right now.”

A deep, modulated laugh came from its external speakers and one of its gargantuan hands unfolded menacingly towards her, its flexing index finger indicating that it wanted her to follow it. She took a step back and shrugged out of its way. “I have a patrol to fly. We had a report of Spider activity in the Northern Province and you know how upset Hadleigh gets when I keep him waiting.”

It waved its finger at her admonishingly and gestured to her to follow it again.

Her head dropped to her chest as she exhaled, “Alright, if we have to go through this pitiful charade every time.” She grabbed hold of its finger and climbed up its thick leg armour, “The least you can do is give me a lift.”

It bowed deeply as she clung onto the knot of thick cables that surrounded its torso. It turned and set off at a run through the corridors. By the time it reached the wide open space of the hangar it was travelling at high speed. Its tree-trunk legs pounding into the marble floor like pistons and the Baroness was just managing to keep a grip on it with her thighs, hands and teeth. They passed by the bulk of the Hammer like a blood-red blur. She just had time to shrug at Hadleigh, the pilot, as they sped around the corner and back out of the cavernous room, the steel treads of the giant’s feet struggling to maintain grip on the polished surface. 

“Slow down you bloody imbecile, you’re going to-“ her warning was punctuated by a crash as an unfortunate maintenance construct wandered around the corner, only to be dashed to pieces by a quarter of a ton of kneecap travelling at fifty miles per hour, “- Hit somebody.” She mumbled. They continued along the corridor until they reached the atrium that signified the entrance to the Roost’s living quarters and without warning, the giant leaped thirty feet into the air, its gorilla like hands grabbing the edge of the second floor parapet and effortlessly lifting the pair of them over and onto the sumptuously decorated floor that held the Baroness’ private quarters. Its huge frame crouched as it made to once more accelerate along the corridor.

“Stop!” cried the Baroness, “Let me down, I can walk from here thank you very much.” She slid from her perch at the monster’s waist and massaged the feeling back into her legs. Looking at the crushed handprints in the stonework of the balcony, she shook her head at the featureless face towering above her. “Lead on.”

It stomped, gently but resolutely towards her chambers and stopped at the security door, it’s face on a level with that of the Stalys terminal, the artificial intelligence that controlled the Roost’s systems. There was a decidedly canine growl from the giant’s speakers and the door slid open. It then stood aside as the Baroness entered the room.

“Don’t let your daughter see you do that, she’s got enough of an attitude problem as it is without her developing an abusive relationship with the constructs.” She took off her uniform jacket and threw it on the bed, “So, what did you want? As if it wasn’t obvious.”

The huge figure clutched its hands to its chest as if it had been shot through the heart, “You wound me My Lady.” It laughed as its hands moved to each side of its head and twisted. With a click and a hiss of escaping pressure the helmet was lifted to reveal the smiling, bearded face of Baron Massimo Lohlephel. “Happy Birthday, my sweet, my ghostly tune of the first jackdaw of autumn, my babbling laughter of a woodland stream, I would like to present you with…” The spade-like gauntlets of his armoured suit slapped against his thighs. “With… I have it here somewhere…” He furiously looked around the room, “I’m sure I… Ah!” One of his suit arms went limp as he removed his real arm from it to search the inside of the suit. “Exit!” He commanded and the suit split open from neck to groin. He stepped out of it and climbed down onto the ground, holding out a flat box in front of him, which he presented reverently to the Baroness.

“Oh it’s lovely Massimo,” She gasped, holding up the Egyptian inspired necklace up to the light which skittered along its thick, gold rope. “If I may ask one question though, you old goat?”

“Anything my love, you have but to ask.”

“Do you not usually wear clothes under your power-armour?”

“Not today my sweet, no…”

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