Cyrano could still feel the ship juddering under his feet, for all that the storm had receded some hours earlier... but the effect didn't show in his face, which remained as smooth and affable as the moment he'd stepped aboard and shook Captain Mad's hand, unruffled as the waters of a calm sea reflecting back the endless dominion of the clouds. He continued to smile, Buddha-like and unflappable, at all about him, even as arguments raged through the ship's mess about the best way to proceed; and he mashed together his morning meal of hard tack and albatross fat, chewing it almost absent-mindedly and swallowing as though he cared more for the form of the act than for hard fact of sustenance.
To the casual onlooker, it might almost seem as if something was missing from him. His eyes betrayed nothing, his hands were steady, his plump cheeks unwavering, his whole corpulent form utterly unmovable, like a mountain set upon the decks of the Ida Leigh. He had touches of silver hair in his wild, unruly, extravagant Afro, subtle hints of lines in his coppery skin, touches of wear on his leather jerkin and on the colourful waistcoast beneath as it stretched to contain his prosperous belly. An old man? Or older, anyway? Perhaps many voyages had inured him to the hardships of airborne life. Yes, perhaps that was it.
Certainly, however much he'd run to fat, there were hints of a strong and stolid frame underneath the softness. His gnomic gaze could be just a front for a fundamental lack of self-knowledge, his whiskers and his patchy beard the side-effects of long, beery stays in aerial ports where the brothels were plentiful and razors and mirrors scarce. Perhaps he was one of those legions of men who'd shipped out year after year, chasing who-knew-what among the clouds and beneath the celestial firmament, unable to name even to himself the object of his desires, the animating spirit that drove him forth to voyage after voyage of thankless toil.
Yes. Perhaps that was it.
Whatever the case, he wasn't shy about putting forth his vote for the new Captain. Had he observed the man he'd chosen? Known him previously, or by reputation? No hint of either option showed on his round, beaming, affable face as he stood, gestured expansively, and declared himself to be Starlequin's man!
The startlement from those around him was clear, but it didn't budge him an inch. Indeed, he seemed not to notice it. "Yes, Starlequin," he affirmed, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the elect without even looking at him. "The choice is clear... and I think I'll find more than a few of you to agree, if you'll take a sounding of your inner workings." This enigmatic pronouncement delivered with all due baritone solemnity, he grinned, dipped his mash of hard tack and albatross fat in a mug of ship's grog, swilled down the oily product and, with a last theatrical gesticulation, sat down at his bench in the ship's mess to continue his morning meal.