Read the free story Jimmy Leary Returns to the Sky
The Age of Invention
America, 1880 – Ever since airship combat altered the course of the American Civil War, ending with the Confederacy a separate country, many former military airmen released from service and at loose ends have turned to air piracy. Air pirates have become the scourge of the southwest, raiding air shipping, trains, and even stagecoaches. Foremost among these is the pirate captain who, taking his name from a famous Irish highwayman, styles himself “Captain Gallagher.” Gallagher is sometimes known as “The Robin Hood of the Air,” though truth to tell it’s seldom enough he gives any of his ill-gotten gains to the poor.
As well as spinning tales of earthbound outlaws and gunslingers, the popular dime novels, story papers, and pulp magazines delight in stories of the sky pirates, and many romanticize Gallagher and his like – though just as many paint them as evil desperados.
Gallagher is sometimes known as “The Robin Hood of the Air.”
The Age of Invention ~ Fire Aloft
Shipping magnate Thom Maguire, fed up with losing money and goods to Gallagher and his ilk, hires former Confederate Air Admiral Garrett Prescott to hunt down the pirates. Accompanied by Maguire’s chief troubleshooter, former Pinkerton agent Justine Arthurs, Prescott sets out with a fleet of airships to bring down the pirates. His prime target: Bisbee, Arizona.
Nestled in the Mule Mountains, the town of Bisbee in the Arizona Territory has become a haven for the air pirates, much as Tortuga or New Providence had been for the sea pirates of previous centuries. Originally a mining town, Bisbee’s mines continue to be prosperous, but unscrupulous merchants there also act as fences for the air pirates’ stolen goods. Like their seagoing predecessors, the crews of the aerial buccaneers, or “aerobucks,” generally sign articles of agreement and live by a certain code. They don’t prey on each other, or on the merchants and businesses of Bisbee. There is no law in Bisbee, but as Captain Gallagher says, “Sure, and we won’t be relievin’ ourselves at our own dinner table.”
Tolerance is the order of the day, and no one asks where you came from or how you got here.
The Age of Invention ~ Aerobuck society
Aerobuck society is fairly egalitarian, and reflects the immigrant composition of the two countries. There are male and female pirates, blacks, whites, Mexicans, Irish, French, German, and even a few pirates of Asian descent. Though some aerobucks may retain the prejudices of their backgrounds, they are well advised to keep such thoughts to themselves when in Bisbee. Tolerance is the order of the day, and no one asks where you came from or how you got here. Only Native American pirates are extremely rare, as there are still tensions between the natives and the interlopers, and the U.S. Army and Aero Corps are still technically involved in what they call the “Indian Wars,” though the fighting today is sporadic.
Now several airships and one massive dreadnought under the command of the Butcher of Pine Mountain are bearing down on Bisbee, and the aerobucks are about to face the first real concerted effort to eradicate sky piracy in the western territories.
Join the adventure in FIRE ALOFT, a tale of sky pirates and pirate hunters in The Age of Invention.