The challenge was to write a scene where the woman saves the man in 400 words or less. Possibly due to the influence of the great web comic, Girl Genius, I was in a comic book/steam punk frame of mind. This 401 word scene is the result.
Girl Saves Boy
by Bettie Sharpe
“I don’t care that she’s the daughter of a Duke; she’s no lady.” Sir Charles Harsington frowned as he watched Lady Regina Borealis shout obscenity-laden orders at her crew. “Look at her—she’s shameless. She stomps around in those tall boots with her pistols and her pantaloons, heedless of the way such masculine attire reveals her limbs. She has the swagger of a pirate, and manners to match.”
“And she has the fastest airship in the sky.” Chamberlain interrupted.
“There must be another for hire.” Harsington squinted into the setting sun and surveyed the airfield’s motley assortment of listing dirigibles.
“The Teutonian Ambassador will kill to regain those blueprints. We must leave soon; our options are limited.”
“Thought I recognized that stiff-legged walk,” the aviatrix called as she strode toward them. She wore an airman’s gray leathers from the crown of her flightcap to the tip of her steel-toed boots. She’d a bullwhip, a revolver, and two-dozen spare rounds attached to the belt slung across her lush hips; and strapped to her back was a sort of steel-plated rucksack with a holstered hose protruding from one side.
She stuck out her hand and said, “How’re you doing, Charlie? Still got that stick up your ass?”
“You two are acquainted?” Chamberlain gaped.
“Sure,” Reggie answered with easy humor. “We were engaged, once.”
“Lady Regina, we’re in dire need of transport home—”
Chamberlain’s attempt at charm was interrupted by a violent explosion, which heralded the approach of a smoke-spewing armored velocimotive bearing twenty Teutonian mercenaries. Harsington and Chamberlain immediately opened fire with their sidearms, but bullets did little to slow the steel-plated monster.
“Stop shooting, it’s not working!” Reggie stepped between them, unholstered the hose from her rucksack, and lowered her tinted goggles. “Charlie, I will handle this.”
“I won’t let a woman fight my battles!”
“Nobody asked you. Now, close your eyes and think of Angland. This’ll be over before you know it.” She braced her feet in a wide-legged stance, pointed the nozzle at the approaching velocimotive, and applied the trigger.
When the spots cleared from Harsington’s vision, there was nothing left of the velocimotive but a charred stain on the tarmac. “You killed them!”
She shrugged. “Why else would I use an Electromagnetic Transversion cannon? Let’s board the ship.”
She smiled and Harsington remembered why he’d loved her. “From now on, call me Captain.”