He walked through the wood and metal skeletons of the airship yard. Rows of dirigibles in various states of repair or construction, workmen shouting for tools or commanding parts be placed. A welder sent bright sparks of metal into the air as his blade cut down into a beam.
Evan brushed the hot sparks from his skin as he turned down the next row. That’s where he saw her, where he fell in love. She was almost finished with her outer framing the gas bag lay empty and lifeless within.
He moved closer careful to stay out of the workers' way. Nothing should delay his first command. It is his turn to defend his country and were her medals for heroism proudly on his chest. He, Evan Alexander Khale was chosen to captain this airship long before the military recruited him into the dirigible corps.
A mechanic paused his task and pulled a dirty cloth from his back pocket. He recognized the man in uniform and quickly wiped the sweat from his brow. He stuffed the cloth back into his coverall pocket and walked over to the man his hand extended. “It’s an honor to meet you Captain Khale. Are you here for inspection, sir?”
Evan shook the man’s hand, too late in realizing he’d worn white gloves now speckled with soot and grease. “No, inspection. I just wanted to see her progress.”
The worker’s chest puffed up as his thumbs locked around the straps of his coveralls and gazed up at the structure. “She’s a full week ahead of schedule, Captain. A fine bird she is, all the latest technologies.”
He grinned and pulled a flask from his boot. After he took a deep swig, the mechanic offered it to Evan.
Evan took a swig, the homemade corn whiskey was stronger than he expected. The amber liquid caused him to sputter and cough for a moment.
The mechanic gave Evan a sharp pat on the back. “Apologies, Captain. I shoulda warned ya the brew could curl a dog’s whiskers.”
Evan nodded. “That I believe, workman.” Recovered, he righted himself and watched them fill the gas bag. The dirigible began to hover as far as the mooring lines would allow.
The supervisor called for all hands to aid in securing the gondola to her frame. The mechanic grinned and tipped his cap. “Better get back at it. Don’t worry none, we’ll have this beauty ready on time. She’s gonna soar, wait and see.”
Evan gave him a reserved grin back and looked at his girl. Indeed she would soar like an eagle, and he at her wheel.