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   Chapter 27 No.27

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 4643

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


The captain stood at the wheel, and the entirety of the crew gathered around him. Coop seemed none the worse for wear. He hadn't even felt it necessary to change out of his torn and bloodied clothes. The slice through the sleeve of both his coat and shirt revealed a lightly stained bandage. Butch was muttering something unrecognizable, clucking over her patient it seemed, as he filled the breaks in her ranting with scolded assurances.

"I know, Butch. Don't lift nothing heavy with that arm for a few days. And drink lots. I'll do that too, " Coop said, like a schoolboy enduring a long good-bye from a fretting mother. "Oh, look, Nita's here. We can get started."

"I'm sorry, am I late?"

The captain pulled a pocket watch from his vest pocket.

"Not quite late, Ms. Graus, but not early, " he said, clicking it shut.

"Look at you, all dressed up in your finery, " Lil said. "That's more what I'm used to from you Calderan folk."

"My only other clothes are still wet."

"You gotta let me try that on once. How come nobody ever brings a dress like that to trade?" Lil said.

"Because we don't never get no girls doing the trading, " Coop said.

"I know that. You think I don't know that? It was one of them… what do you call it? Rectory-ical questions."

"What's church got to do with it?" Coop asked, scratching his head with his good hand.

"I think you meant rh

h on that hole up there. All this presents a problem for you though, Ms. Graus."

"Why?"

"Getting down into the fug to talk to the fuggers isn't the sort of thing you do all willy-nilly. It has to be planned weeks in advance. Before I even leave on a Caldera run, I make sure to set one up. It is scheduled for four days from now. With three busted turbines, we ain't gonna make it, and this resupply trip is going to cost us another, or just shy of one."

"How long will it take to reschedule it?"

"Can't imagine it will be less than four weeks. Most likely you'll either be back in Caldera by then, or else you'll be with us for another month waiting for it."

"No, " Nita said, anxiety in her voice, "that won't do. My mother—"

"I know it, ma'am, but it can't be helped."

"It can be helped. Just let me fix the pipes."

Captain Mack turned to Gunner.

"I told her, Captain. No repairs on the boiler."

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