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   Chapter 28 No.28

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5496

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Let me just do temporary ones then. I'll remove them when we're closer to shore."

"Absolutely not. They'll know."

"I assure you I can do it in a way that won't show."

"Doesn't matter. They know everything that happens out here. They probably know we're here jawing about it, " Coop said.

"That's silly. How could they?" Nita asked.

"Doesn't much matter how they know. They just know, and I'm not gambling that this is the time they aren't paying attention."

"This has gone from a bizarrely restrictive business arrangement to pure superstition."

"I don't mind a bit of superstition if it keeps my ship and its crew safe. And I'll thank you not to question any more of my orders, " he grumbled, with the hint of a threat in his voice.

"Well… I…" Nita grasped at scraps of ideas. "At least let me look at the damage a bit more. If I get a feel for the way the system is laid out, maybe I can find a way to reroute some pressure to the remaining turbines."

The captain gave her a hard look, then turned to Gunner. "Gunner, show Ms. Graus everything she asks to see, and make it clear to her exactly what she can and can't do." He turned back to Nita again. "I'm giving you an awful lot of rope, Ms. Graus. Enough to hang yourself and the lot of us. So do us all a favor and don't go tying any nooses."


In minutes, Nita had changed back into her work suit. It may still have been wet, but she'd rather be damp and have all of her tools handy than dry and trying to get real work done in a dress. Now that she wasn't constantly avoiding streams of dangerous steam, tracing out the operation of the boiler was at least

ng down. Best to replace it."

"What good would that do?"

"It would fix the winches."

"That wouldn't do me any good. I need the turbines working."

"You are a member of this crew now. It doesn't matter what is good for you, only what is good for the ship. You claim to be able to fix the whole boiler, let's see you do some work."

She nodded, more interested in getting back to her own task but not really able to argue with him. The procedure was the work of moments, something she'd done a thousand times back at the steamworks. When she was through, Gunner inspected it.

"Passable work, " he said. "That's about all you can do in here then."

"According to the rules, anyway. These thick pipes here lead to the turbines, I think. They run up to the next floor. I'm going to try to trace them out again. Maybe there is something I missed."

"Suit yourself, but leave your tools so I can be sure you aren't doing anything you shouldn't. Perhaps you enjoy spending your time staring at pipes, but I've got a few hours of my own to look at that fléchette gun from the wailer."

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