Captain Antonin Pendergast’s airship hovered over a region of Lancastershire relatively unknown to all but those few who inhabited it. Lush fields of green had only just begun to fade to autumn, and the lake had yet to show any ice. The latter was not, as some would surmise, Pendergast’s target, or the focus of his attention. Rather, the captain studied a pile of hay almost directly below. It was there that, with any luck and not a small amount of skill, Pendergast would land.
Chancey held out a parachute to the captain. “Sir, are you sure you won’t reconsider?”
Pendergast waved the safety device away. “You can’t always count on a parachute working, my boy. If I’m going to hit the ground from 13,000 feet, I want to make sure I can walk away afterward.”
Contrary to his name, Chancey was anything but a risk taker. Even if he had been inclined to life’s more dangerous pursuits, however, Pendergast’s secretary would have been hard pressed to understand as the captain wrenched the airship door open, pulled goggles over his eyes, and stepped off the deck into the nothingness of open air.