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   Chapter 47 No.47

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5458

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

Unlike the patchwork and much abused Wind Breaker, the patrol ship was sleek and pristine as it emerged from the darkness. A grid of green lights was affixed to each side of its prow, and a line of fléchette guns and grapplers similar to those used by the wailers was mounted to the forward railing. The only thing the Wind Breaker had on it was size, as the craft was barely a third as large and manned by only three people.

"Attention!" announced one of the crewmembers, bellowing through a megaphone. "This section of Fugtown is restricted. If you have business here, be prepared to present your authorization. Otherwise return to the docks."

"Oh, I've got business all right, " Captain Mack called out as best as he could through his mask. "I'm supposed to be getting this crate repaired. Only problem is, the damn thing started to drift on me. Got way off course. I'd be glad to take a tow, if you're offering."

"If you are in distress, why didn't you sound your distress whistle?"

"Been busted for even longer than the turbines."

The crew of the patrol ship conferred. Captain Mack didn't show a flicker of concern. The same could not be said for Wink. From the moment the fug folk had come into view he had been trying to hide behind the captain. After a brief discussion, one crewman manned a grappler, and another stepped to a gun.

"There is a courtyard a quarter of a mile east of here. Guide your ship there, power down, and drop anchor. Once we confirm that you are immobile, we will leave a man with you and send for a dedicated tow ship. In the future, report for repair before your ship is so severely di

ng a few feet, he seemed utterly shocked.

"You okay, Gunner?" Lil whispered as she and Nita helped him to his feet.

"Easy, easy, " he said insistently.

"Oh, calm down. It was barely a fall. I jumped twice as far as you, and you don't see me getting all twitchy."

"But you aren't strapped with firearms and explosives."

"Good point."

"Quit fooling around back there, " Coop said. "Let's get moving before they notice us down here."

The group moved as swiftly and silently as they could, heading due north. Once they were out of the dim halo of light cast by the ships, they found themselves stumbling in inky blackness. Only the remote glow of a second ship far in the distance broke up the tapestry of midnight purple around them. The heavy, dense fumes seemed to deaden sound as well, swiftly muting the noise of the ships and leaving them with nothing but their own footsteps and labored breaths. When she felt they were far enough to escape notice, Nita pulled her trusty gas lamp from her belt and sparked it to life. The group huddled around the circle of light.

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