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   Chapter 29 No.29

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5315

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Oh?" she remarked, steadily dropping her tool sash, tool belt, and monkey-toe wrench to the floor. "I'm surprised the all-seeing fug folk will allow you to tinker with that?"

"It isn't part of the ship. They couldn't care less what we do with salvage."

Gunner stood outside the door, waiting patiently for her to join him in the hall.

"Why do I feel more like a prisoner with each passing moment?" she asked.

"Because you are new on the ship and the captain doesn't know if he can trust you."

He tried to shut the door to the boiler room, but Wink scooted out just before it shut tight. The little beast glared with its beady red eye, first at Gunner, then at Nita.

"You know, for all I've heard about this thing being the ship's inspector, I haven't seen it do very much inspection at all. All it seems to do is sleep in the boiler room or stare at me."

"He must be doing his rounds or we'd have shaken to pieces during those maneuvers, but as inspectors go, he's not the best I've seen. I wouldn't let the captain hear me say that, though. He loves that thing."

"I wonder why."

"I never cared enough to ask. See you at mealtime, and don't do anything foolish."

Nita nodded and set off toward the nearest ladder to find where the turbine feed pipes let out. Wink hopped along behind her, not taking his eye off her. It was the work of hours to trace out the maddening network of pipes again and again, trying to tease out an understanding of their layout. She stopped for meals twice, and once to sleep, but she was determined to find some way to keep to their s

a bit. Nita carefully worked her way to the railing, held tight, and looked to the horizon. After her embarrassing first reaction to the view off the deck, and twice more nearly repeating it, Nita decided the churning her stomach did every time she remembered how high she was would have to be overcome, sooner rather than later. The number of times her pipe investigations had taken her to the deck gave her ample opportunities to immerse herself in the frightening view. Sure enough, each time it lost a bit of its bite. The pitch and shift of the ship still turned her stomach, but at least now she barely felt a flutter when she looked to the sky and sea. She watched the green specks against the sea slowly grow larger, the tiny chain of forgotten islands she'd only seen on a map until today. The sun was setting, painting the sky a rich gold and sparkling against the churning waves. Now that the gastric repercussions of the view had been put to rest, the beauty of it struck her with its full force, and it was nearly enough to take her breath away.

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