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   Chapter 15 No.15

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 4385

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"I'm Amanita Graus. The captain said I should assist you."

"Are you? With what exactly?" he asked, tapping a gauge before muttering to himself, "Lousy thing's busted again."

"With whatever you need me to do, I suppose, " Nita said. "He wasn't very explicit. He told me I would be working with you, and that he would be back to take the wheel soon."

"Well, that's good to hear. This bucket handles like a plow, " he said. He pulled hard at one of the levers, conjuring a worrisome grind from one of the fans overhead. "I swear, I don't know how he gets it to do his bidding."

"I do it by treating her like a lady, Gunner, " the captain said. He was stepping up from below decks, the freshly lit cigar clenched firmly in his teeth and streaming ash in the stiff breeze. "That means you need to treat her with care and finesse. Keep that in mind when you're showing Ms. Graus the ropes. And make sure she meets the whole crew."

"Aye, Captain, " Gunner said, with a crisp salute. He stepped aside and turned to Nita. "Now, you're to be my assistant, are you?"

"I suppose."

"Well then, per the captain's orders, I'll give you the bare-bones rundown. No sense doing more than that right now. You're a Calderan I see. Am I correct in assuming you've never served on an airship before?"

"This is the

ng to the lower decks.

On what he indicated was deck two, they found the nearest thing to an open space she'd seen so far. It was a room with four picnic-style benches bolted to the floor. Each could, if pressed, seat three people on a side, and one had a cushion and white linen covering applied to the top, both of which had faded stains the color of rust. At the far end of the room was a half wall revealing a small kitchen stuffed to capacity. Its walls were hung with well-secured cutlery, their blades gleaming in the glow of the cooking fire. The air was muggy with steam and heavy with spice. A woman stood hunched over the far counter, but the steam and low light made it difficult to see any detail.

Gunner slipped the goggles from his face. "This is our galley and sickbay. Butch! I've got the latest newcomer. Mack wants her introduced around, as usual."

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