Payload

Avatar Author: Jim Stitzel I dabble a little in a lot of things -- writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I'm a full-time code-wrangler and a part-time farmer with 40 acres, a lot of animals, and far, far too much to do. Read Bio

The weapons bay is a shambles. Steamer trunks are strewn about the floor. Many are broken, lids gaping wide. Most of the trunks are empty, the ordnance they once carried having long been delivered to their respective targets. A few, however, remain packed and secured, containing elongated devices that look less like bombs and more like ceramic decanters filled with liquid death.

In one corner of the bay, one such trunk lies shattered, packing materials scattered on the floor. The bombs it once held are now piled haphazardly beside it. It is a small wonder that none have exploded.

The seals inside the bombs have dried and become brittle, and one now weeps a blue-grey fluid onto the floor. It is a form of enriched Nightmare, quickened by means of an alchemical process that none are alive now to remember. It is dense, non-evaporative, highly toxic — and deeply unstable after so long in storage. Sooner or later, it will detonate, but for now it just puddles, waiting for a catalyst.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

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Comments (13 so far!)

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  1. Avatar HSAR

    A post-apocalyptic feel with steampunk elements. Or is it a steampunk feel with post-apocalyptic elements?

    Either way, it’s blended with trademark flair and a keen eye for sufficiency of detail.

  2. Ahfl_icon THX 0477

    Well that sounds like a bad situation. Nicely described so all the fantastical elements are easily understood without feeling too preachy.

  3. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    @HSAR — Post-apocalyptic steampunk. I’m not sure it’s something I’ve ever really seen before.

    @THX — That’s good. I never want to be ‘preachy.’ :)

  4. Avatar Princess Binky Lemontwist (LoA)

    Pure amazing. Blended my two favorite subjects together. Niw I’m all curious as to where and when this fits in the extremely twisted universe we have. XD

  5. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Fits in or possibly next to. Hard to say at this point. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  6. Avatar Eloquent Mess {(LoA)}

    Ooh… Color me fascinated.

  7. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    I have a follow-up to this story started in my drafts. This may be a good week to finish it.

  8. Avatar Princess Binky Lemontwist (LoA)

    Yes it would be a good week. I’m sick and stuck at home. I need engaging reading material!

  9. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Count on it, then. I may even try to get it written tomorrow. :-)

  10. Avatar Reaver19

    Dude the detail in this story was friggin’ fantastic! I could actually see the aircraft in which these containers of LIQUID DEATH were carried. To or from a mission, maybe successful maybe not. Who knows but the fantastical Mr. Stitzel!!!

  11. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Both successful and not, methinks, considering that all hands have been lost — and yet the airship still sails.

  12. Avatar HSAR

    Congratulations on being featured!

  13. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Thanks! I love the fickle nature of Ficly and how stories can rise from the ashes of history to attain new life. It’s actually kinda nice that this series is getting some visibility again, since I’ve really enjoyed writing one with no active characters, just the dead husk of a world.

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