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   Chapter 45 No.45

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5165

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

Chapter 13

Nita stood at the prow of the airship, recovering from the past few hours of work, as the sun set two days later. It would have been nice to suggest that much of the preceding forty-eight hours had been spent sketching out a detailed and nuanced plan. Such was not the case. The entirety of their brilliant plan came in the form of the captain announcing, "We'll drop down when we're scheduled for repair, hit them fast, take anything it looks like they don't want us to take, and if anyone tries to stop us, we'll discourage that." The rest of the time had been spent preparing the ship for the worst.

For Coop and Lil, that meant scouring the ship and the local supply houses for all of the wood and envelope material they could get their hands on, first to repair and then to reinforce the gondola hull. They slopped a layer of tar onto the envelope to provide a measure of self-sealing, then stitched on an extra layer of material in the most vulnerable spots. Glinda had made a few trips to Keystone's market district to stock up on medical supplies in expectation of casualties. The captain spent his time testing various repairs and literally keeping Wink on a short leash. Now that the little scoundrel's secret had been discovered, it quickly became clear that he was far more intelligent than anyone had suspected. Whether it was out of genuine shame or simple self-preservation, the aye-aye had proved himself quite willing to render whatever aid he could.

With the rest of the crew otherwise occupied, that left the mo

to a steep dive, plunging quickly down into the fug. It flushed through the ship, forcing itself through cracks between boards and belching through hatches and halls. A wave of purple fumes rushed over them, instantly stinging their eyes and chilling their skin. Nita looked closer to the porthole, her heart beginning to pound. There was nothing but darkness. Even after the dense surface of the fug was above them, there was nothing to see. The captain must have selected a route that would keep them far from any of their facilities and structures.

"I've had to stay with the ship once or twice during repair runs, " Gunner said. "It's a shortest-straw sort of situation. They only allow ships to come down for handing over goods, picking up goods, and getting repairs. All three are handled by the Fugtown Lower Docks, over on the other side of town. We're not supposed to be here. There will be patrols."

"What happens if they see us?"

"Then the shooting starts early."

"How does the captain plan to avoid them?"

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