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The Last of the Simba

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The Last of the Simba

Post  mwbaaailey on Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:53 pm

It had been a long running battle, and a grueling one. The mercenary contractor airship AS Simba, a small zeppelin-pattern 'flying sloop' out of Capetown, had gone into the interior and up the Congo without incident. After taking on a Cargo consisting of diamonds for an american/british company and quinine and other Belgian colonial-made supplies intended for the various medical difficulties plaguing the small hospital in Capeton, however, the little zeppelin had been tracked and then fallen upon by the Buluwayo, a pirate craft that was known to haunt the Congo and its tributary valleys.

Outgunned seven to one but having an excellent turn of speed due to its diesel-electric powertrain and slim airframe, the Simba's captain, Rafael 'Rafe' Bass, had to decided to make a run for it rather than fight (surrender being a bleak option, since most of the 'Jungle Corsairs,' as they were called, simply sold their captives as slaves or killed them if they were not slave material; Surrender in any case was not an option that Bass was used to exercising). The cargo was valued in the millions - mainly because of the diamonds, a loss that he could ill afford - and his craft had a three-ply veneer hull, as opposed with the more common stiffened canvas in common use (while it could hardly be considered armor in the strict sense, it had already proven its resilience in head-on and running encounters, the shallow angle of the enemy's rounds often causing them to only slightly plow the hull, ultimately glancing off). Add the aft rocket tube, the underslung turret-mounted fore-end tube, and vickers-maxim waist guns, and most pursuers in the past had found the little ship to be more trouble to tangle with than it was worth.

The Buluwayo, however, was a different story than most; it actually had lightweight armor and the cells to lift it, with the engines and ducted fans(unexpectedly) to drive it at Standard Flank Speed, a velocity almost unheard of in such large Native ships - and 28 Maxim repeating deck guns. It had thus been a hard battle, over nearly five hours, from Walinga station on the Congo, over the mountains, to the hoped-for safety of the Traansvaal - right over the Whitwatersraand, in fact.

The miners had then been treated to a rare spectacle as the Simba was holed in the stern, effectively destroying her port prop, damaging her Starboard and severely mauling her engines, such that she was at best barely able to turn at bay. Bass and crew managed to give a good account of themselves, even as the shells from the Buluwayo began blasting through; they managed to hole the Buluwayo in her own stern with two rockets, damaging (though they did not realize it at the time) the Pirate vessel's main engine, and destroying the dorsal vane. The starboard waist gunner blasted away at the control car of the Buluwayo, completely demolishing it's interior despite the armor, until a small one-pounder shell blasted through and silenced his efforts, even as it broke the back of the Simba and set her center cell alight.

From there it was a series of explosions in slow motion as Bass grabbed the remaining Vickers, which had been knocked off of it's mounting, and yelled for the remaining crew to follow him as the stricken zeppelin passed the top of a hammermill tower above one of the Witwatersraand's many mineshafts, and he jumped to the maintenance platform at the top of the tower, his two remaining crewmen barely making it behind him as he dropped the gun and grabbed the second crewman and barely managed to keep him from dragging both of them over the edge.

Bass hauled the man up with the aid of the other crewman, and then they watched as the Simba died, blazing away as her hydrogen, fuel, and wooden hull ignited, the wreck drifting out over the plain, finally blasting itself to flaming bits as the ammunition and dynamite caught. In rage he turned and shook his fist at the Buluwayo as she limped away toward the horizon, just as a patrol zeppelin appeared at the opposite side of the plain. Word arrived a week later that the patrol ship, the Allenby out of Johannesburgh, had run the Pirates to ground after a three-day chase ducking in and out of the mountains, the final duel taking place at midnight.

They never did recover the diamonds; as soon as word of them got out, as it inevitably did, every yahoo within twenty miles was out on the plain scooping up the bonanza, and Bass was forced to report the loss and sue for the government's reimbursement in the matter; it had been mainly a government expedition in the first place, the diamonds being merely added to the cargo, as politically-fired unrest (as well as the Buluwayo) in the area had rendered the Simba the only craft and crew willing to make the trip.

But, such was life in the aerial Jungle...
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Re: The Last of the Simba

Post  The Abi on Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:48 pm

you should make certain this gets to t he main story. Just add it into one of your first posts or something Very Happy
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