Rob Does Words
Treating fiction poorly since 2019


It was strange watching it happen. Even after weeks and weeks of knowing it would happen, hours of CG video footage showing it hypothetically happening, watching it in real time was just weird.

Some of us, the older ones, remember when the building itself was built and hearing the owners wax poetic about how it would be used in this exact way. But we also remember that never actually happening, and when the building was slowly overtaken by the homeless and other vagrants, we assumed that it would be forever a myth that it could be used for what it was originally built for.

But, now, 30 years later, after a massive push to clear the building, selling the building space to needy businesses and cleaning up the city itself, the government announced that zeppelins would be arriving three times a week to the top of the building.

My name is Nathan. I am 60 years old and I am one of the doormen at Zeppelin 01, the tallest building in the city.

My job isn't hard. However, there are issues with the set up of everything. Least of all is the apparent willingness of the owners to sell space to people of ill intent. People that everyone knows to not be very nice.

But, as I said, that's the least of it. What actually worries me is the eagerness everyone who works here has to not have zeppelins arrive here. To the point where I have heard actual, serious conversations about how they will deal with the ships when they arrive.

The ship itself was massive. The company which operated it apparently subscribed to the principle of go big or go home. The people who weren't happy about the ships coming in were openly working on what to do next. I did my duty and reported them to the building owners, but they were torn, as some of them shared their views. Ultimately the need to protect their investment won out and some people were arrested. Personally, I was just excited for the airship to arrive.

The day it did arrive wasn't the best day for air travel; much less air travel that relied on wind and air currents. When it happened, the zeppelin emerged out of a huge bank of clouds that sat low over the harbour. One photo that came out of this event, which was later proven to be doctored, showed the ship sitting in front of the clouds, flanked by two forks of lightning. But, doctored or not, the photo did capture how many people felt about this event.

He sat on the roof of Zeppelin 01, watching with barely suppressed excitement at the scene around him. The zeppelin was circling above him, maybe a hundred yards or so higher, lining up with the hook that would pull the ship in when the captain launched the anchor line. It was his job to ensure the anchor line and hook were attached properly.

He could hear his supervisor and the captain trading numbers and bearings and all the stuff he didn't really know a lot about yet. He watched the blinking red light where the line would shoot from and keyed his radio twice to let the others know he had his eyes on it. He heard the same code back three times, letting him know others also had eyes on the line.

Without fanfare, the light flashed green and there was a distinct poof from the small explosive launcher and the line was heading right for the roof of the building. It was heading away from him, and he clicked his radio to indicate this. He watched one of his colleagues pick the rope and run to the hook in the centre and in a small moment of anticlimax, it was caught.

It took another two hours to get the ship properly aligned with the pole. Two hours where nothing really happened. Some people reported someone taking shots at the ship, but these were ultimately baseless. Either that or someone just let it slide.

In fairness to the original plan, the ship sitting against the setting sun looked incredible; the orange streaks of light making it glow.

The captain walked off the gangplank to immense applause both on the roof and in front of the massive video screens at ground level. He waved to everyone and had a few words and laughs with some of the more important people who were up there for the event. And then it was time for the party.

The top two floors of the building had been decorated for the event and the entire crew was starting on their first round of drinks since leaving London a week earlier. They were more than happy, especially after a few drinks, to discuss with anyone, mostly journalists, what happened in the journey to America.

The celebration didn't make it down to the ground, though, and once people realised this, the crowd dispersed slowly. Some people hung around, choosing to instead create their own party in the bars at the foot of the building.

A small percentage of these people, resentful of the lack of public involvement in this event decided to start an impromptu protest of the jubilation happening 150 stories above their heads.

They weren't the only ones. A small group of those who were against the zeppelin, plus who had escaped the arrest frenzy a few days earlier, had set themselves up in a hotel across from Zeppelin 01.

They didn't really have a plan, which meant they had no real idea of what they were doing. What they did have, however, was a rocket launcher and two rockets to go with it.

When the dust cleared, the zeppelin was on fire, slowly falling down the side of the majestic old building. The top levels of the building were a smoking ruin and all those who were inside were either dead or seriously injured.

Looking back on it now, knowing what I know, the whole thing had to be a set up. Watching the people involved, or alleged to be involved afterwards made it obvious that zeppelins or anything like that would ruin the plans the businesses who had bought up the buildings office spaces, but importantly, had nothing to do with the airship trade itself.

I've taken it upon myself to expose all this, but its hard and it could end up with me dead. But I have to. Because there’s no one else left.