Monochrome Monday Excerpt

36. Mark-1 eyeball The Dragon Lady^

Kayleigh turned her seat back to the forward position, then stood up and used the bulbous curved viewing port for its designed purpose; to see forward, up and down in the Etheric Plane. Radar and Sonar were not an option in the Etheric Plane; the mark-1 eyeball was the best, and only, form of surveillance.

Like the standard issue goggles all Phantom Service personnel wore, the light filtering glass sifted out most of the abundant purplish-greyish light, allowing only specific frequencies of red and blue to pass through it, sharping the contrast of the grey dominated realm, improving clarity.

Kayleigh pointed down saying, “A little faster Paxton; I want to be on top of the larger one when it finally decides on the form it wants to take.”

Paxton nodded and increased the bug-eyed ship’s forward speed gaining on the rapidly moving cloud formations below.

Kayleigh pulled the brass telescope from the slot it occupied on the bulkhead. She focused on the larger cloud saying, “The big one is forming… fuck… it’s a Gryphon. Damn those things are almost as bad as a Dragon; just as agile, but without the bad breath.”

“Message transmitted twice, balloon retracting,” Melody called from her station on the bridge.

Paxton mumbled something under his breath as Kayleigh studied the creature through the spyglass. The dark white cloud the creature emerged from dissipated and fell behind the mythological incarnation.

Just like its fabled counterpart the beast had the furry body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the feathered head and wings of an eagle with talons instead of front paws.

“Who comes up with these things? Why can’t it be something less… unreal,” Paxton muttered under his breath.

Kayleigh replied to Paxton’s muttering, “He’s not going to be an easy one. I see several plasma burns on his side and back; he’s been in a fight before; and survived.”

As Kayleigh watched through the handheld scope, she added, “They are slowing down; the smaller Phantoms are breaking off.”

The four other clouds fell away, descending under the cover of the now circling bird-lion. Kayleigh returned the telescope to its proper place and yelled back toward Kangee, “Tell the Marines to disembark and happy hunting!”

“Balloon secure,” Radioman Signa shouted from her station.

“Ground clock started,” Dillan added to the loud voices.

Kangee relayed Kayleigh’s orders down the voice pipe. Kayleigh took over from Paxton and pointed the ship toward the ground. She felt the unnatural atmospheric resistance increase when the loading bay door opened. She feathered the wings slightly and increased power to the magnetic inducers that kept the ship aloft in the Etheric Plane to allow the Marines time to distance themselves from the Dragon Lady; before Kayleigh aimed herself, and her ship toward the slowly circling Gryphon.