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   Chapter 14 No.14

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 6034

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


Chapter 4

Nita stepped out of the captain's quarters. She felt dizzy, and there was more to it than simply the pitching and swaying of the ship. Now that the impulse and certainty that had driven her to embark on this insane mission had begun to wear off and the captain's words had begun to sink in, doubt reared its ugly head. This ship and its crew couldn't be less like the world she was accustomed to, and while she certainly had been seeking something new, this was a good deal more than she'd had in mind. Nothing in her life had prepared her for this, so she defaulted to what she always did when things seemed out of control: calm down, focus on one thing at a time, and look for someone who knows what's going on. If she was to assist this Gunner fellow, then for now she would simply find him. Easy enough.

She pushed open the doorway to the deck and climbed the stairs. A chilly rush of air slapped her in the face, stinging her eyes enough to compel her to pull her goggles into place. When she could see again, she immediately noticed something very wrong.

The ocean was missing.

Minutes ago they had been just a few dozen feet from the churning blue waves below. Now there was nothing but the gray haze of morning above, below, and all around. The sun was only just beginning to rise in earnest behind them, providing a single point of reference in the form of a fuzzy red blob of light. It was profoundly disorienting, elevating her dizziness into stomach-turning vertigo.

Nita held tight to the nearest railing and tried to push the feeling aside. She scanned the deck for the others. Coop was nowhere to be seen, but Lil was tidying the coiled up moor line. When she noticed Nita, Lil walked confidently across the swaying deck. She wasn't wearing goggles, making do with squin

ightened up and took a few plodding steps up the stairs, trying to judge the roll of the ship and move only when doing so wasn't likely to tip her over the side.

"Hello. You're Gunner?"

"That would be me, " said the man at the controls in a far more crisp and unaccented voice than the others.

He was a few years older than the other crewmembers. If Nita were to hazard a guess, she would place him within a few years of his thirtieth birthday, though on which side wasn't clear. He was an inch or two taller than her, with black hair, a face full of stubble, and a pair of smoky and charred goggles keeping the wind at bay. His hands moved with a bit less confidence across the controls in comparison to his captain, a fact that may have been due in part to his hands. His right hand was missing the middle and ring fingers, and his left was missing the pinky. The injuries must not have been recent, because the brown leather gloves he wore had the corresponding fingers cut away and sewn up. He was of average build, dressed in much the same way as the rest of the crew save for a dedicated gun belt beneath his coat in addition to at least three holsters strapped across his chest and legs.

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