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   Chapter 36 No.36

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5452

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"What I'm mostly curious about is how this crew came together. I know how Lil and Coop joined, but what about you, Gunner?"

"It isn't a terribly interesting tale, I'm afraid. I met the captain while the Wind Breaker was just another patrol ship. This was ten years ago, back when Westrim and Circa were just signing a peace treaty after all of those skirmishes. The governing council decided a few joint patrols needed to be put together to show we could work together. Little did I know the vastly divergent ideas of proper training held by the Circa Naval Academy and… does Westrim even have a training curriculum?"

"We do things the proper way, " Coop said. "Conscription and apprentice… tion."

"And I can only marvel at the airmen it has produced. I was their armory officer, then as now, and the only fully college-trained member of the crew. Which means—"

"Which means he knows how to read books writ by folks who know how to do things, while the rest of us actually know how to do them, " Lil said.

"Delude yourself as you will. To my great surprise, while the rest of the crew at the time was a damnable collection of misfits and imbeciles, the captain is remarkably skilled. Once that storm cost us most of our crew, he found himself this new pair of misfits and imbeciles, but at least they turned out to be quick learners. Not that they could have earned a degree as I have."

"I might not have a degree, Gunner, but at least I can still count to five on one hand, " Coop said, wiggling the fingers of both complete hands.

"Which is fortunate for you, since you can't count to five without your hand."

ge of sorts that served as the base for a bustling community. The buildings were tall and narrow, like the mountains themselves, and smoke and steam belched out of chimneys along the skyline. At the edges of the town where the mountain peaks began to rise up again, the buildings followed. They formed towering and precarious vertical neighborhoods, with long cables ferrying wood and brass cable-trams high over the city, while funiculars were carved into the steepest mountains to carry trains of similar cars down to the main city.

The air around the city was filled with airships. Some were not much larger than the two-man contraptions that had attacked them, while others were practically flying cities, multiple envelopes holding them aloft while dozens of workers scurried across their decks. Mooring towers that were considerably better made than the makeshift contraptions of the Lagomoore Islands rose in regular rows along the very tops of the mountain peaks, extending far beyond the edges of the city, and more occupied long elevated piers that jutted out over the sea.

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