Angels Just Below Heaven
"Seven minutes to international airspace."
Blanketed within the heater-generated warmth of the Führergondel, the ship's crew undertook their normal departure protocols with a kind of hushed commotion. Technical checklists and charts were filled out as short remarks floated through the space, delivered from one officer to another in their native German. Operational equipment clicked and hummed all around them, regulating the ship's mechanical and navigational controls as the crew completed preparations for the Transatlantic voyage. At the front of the bridge, the helm was manned by the capable hands of Captain Kristoph Marx, a strong, stubborn, and handsome young man who has taken tremendous pride in the completion of nearly 100 successful Transatlantic crossings. Beside him, looking on at the operations in silent calculation, was someone only ever referred to as "Herr Kommandant" on voyages. He was an elderly and drowsy-eyed man, yet he spoke and carried himself with the pride and power of someone far younger than him. Herr Kommandant had spent a fair portion of his adult life in command of the Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei; he knew the controls and quirks of almost the entire airship fleet like the back of his bony hand, and many would say that he was the only one with enough sensibility to curb the stubborn nature of Captain Marx.
"Steady on there, Herr Kapitän, steady on there."
Somewhere behind, fading into the distance, were the diamond lights that illuminated the fascinating titanium spires of Manhattan Island like an extraterrestrial ocean liner, one that floated upon a sea of industrial centers and dark, smoky, ashen wasteland- flanked by exquisite, rollicking Holiday parties held in deluxe estates of the Long Island elite. Somewhere ahead, the frigid and churning North Atlantic tide beckoned, coaxing the 240 travelers towards the open horizon. And somewhere in between, where the blackened waves of salted icewater lapped gently against the desolate beaches- above the dead forestry, vacant summer retreats, and festive glow emanating from Yuletide décor that brightened the modest neighborhoods of eastern Long Island, the opaque form of an imposing Weimar phantom gracefully stalked across the night sky. She was the latest and greatest of the DZR's Diamond Queens- twice the length of her distant sister Graff Zeppelin II, powered by eight Maybach Vertikalabheben jet pods. Fitted only with popular technology's most top-shelf operations equipment, luxury, and...pleasure amenities, a veritable flying palace adorned with the title of one of the Weimar Republic's most popular and influential presidents. She was the Kanzler Adolf Hitler, the shipping line's best and only Bordell-Klasse Zeppelin- a Bordello of the Air.
From the rear of the Führergondel, First Officer Lindner pushed his way to the bridge and approached the helm. With a stiff salute, he gave his report to the old commander.
"Departure checklists complete, Herr Kommandant."
"Sehr gut," her replied, "Any discrepancies you wish to report?"
"Nein, Her Kommandant. All operational equipment is functional, and we have not received any complaints from Hospitality. Since the delay is passed, the cabin crew will conduct a total functionality scan on the female models and reauthorize them for selective activation. The ship's pleasure units should be fully operational by breakfast service tomorrow."
Her Kommandant shook his head gently.
"I am not entirely concerned with that, Officer Lindner. I am an airship man- I care more for the Kanzler herself over the...services she provides. Just make certain they wake up alright, we must remember that these are still real women we are dealing with."
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