Chapter Three

In which Captain Halloran’s mode of transportation is described

Joseph Halloran was the captain of a stereotype, but one he loved. The Skysnailwas an epic creation. The hull of iron, coated with a shimmering layer of Helionavitas, was covered with snaking cables and pipes. Several of these cables ran into the hearts of two huge, steel wheels, one on either side of the vessel. These wheels would spin slowly, making about one rotation every 24 hours, giving the ship its name. While the movement of the energy turbines was snail’s pace, the ship itself could approach supersonic speeds on sunny days. Joseph loved the irony of a metal snail moving almost as fast as sound. The Snail had four sails that opened like fans. They decreased in height and breadth from the back of the ship to the front, and glimmered violet and blue thanks to the Helionavitas threaded into the canvas. At night, the whole vessel glowed. Any mission requiring a level of stealth had to be carried out with the sails lowered and the hull covered with black, oiled canvas. One drawback in exchange for limitless fuel and a constant supply of hot water.

The Skysnail

Every morning, Captain Halloran would order the two largest sails to be fanned out, charging the heavy mechanisms that would drive the vessel on its voyage that day. When maximum capacity was reached, the two large sails would be closed and withdrawn into the hull, and the two smaller ones opened. They provided a constant refilling of the power cells without the drag caused by the wider sails. The streamlined hull cut through the air, surging across the swell of clouds, following the warm currents that helped maintain altitude.

Captain Halloran would stand at the nose of his magnificent craft, flying goggles on and coat pulled tight against the chill of the mountain-top air. Julian often complained about the cold in the cabin, so Joseph imagined him a heavy, fur-lined jacket and some thermal underwear. Julian was grateful, but wished that the underwear didn’t have to be so pink.

Julians Pyjamas


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