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   Chapter 48 No.48

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5595

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


"Who's got the compass?" she asked.

"Right here, " Coop said. He pulled it out. "We're headed in the right direction."

"Are we sure? I can't see anything. This place is pitch black. I don't know how he could possibly navigate down here."

"Trust me when I tell you, the cap'n could make the whole trip to Caldera and back with his eyes closed. He wouldn't be the cap'n otherwise."

"Well, let's keep moving north then, " Nita said. "Everyone keep your eyes peeled for something it looks like they don't want us to break into."

#

"I thought that anchor would never dig in, " Captain Mack called out, regaining his footing after the sudden stop.

"Stand clear, " the patrolman ordered. "We will send over two grapplers. Secure them and I will send a chaperone aboard."

The patrolman manning the grappling-hook launcher fired off a hook, then loaded and fired another. Captain Mack made sure they were hooked onto something sturdy, and the patrol ship winched out the slack and hauled the gondolas close enough to bridge the gap with a gangplank. One of the scrawny men scurried across. He was dressed similarly to the others in a gray vaguely military uniform, including a long jacket and a cap with a short brim. Armed with a long rifle, he held it at the ready, as though he were venturing into enemy territory. Mack offered him a hand to help him down to the deck, but the patrolman sneered at it with smug disdain.

"We shall return with a tow. There will of course be a fee involved, " the superior officer announced from the patrol ship as he pulled back the gangplank and his subordinate aboard the Wind Breaker unhooked the grapplers.

"Can't imag

ny of them had seen of what the fug had left behind, and it troubled them in a profound way. When a war sweeps through a place it leaves the city in ruins, broken and unlivable. Such was not the case here. Though many of the buildings were beginning to suffer from lack of maintenance, some looked perfect. If she'd not known the truth, Nita could have imagined a bustling community making its home here just days ago. A sense that all of the people had simply vanished, leaving their world behind, lingered.

Nita took in what she could see of their surroundings. They were walking along the edge of what had probably been the main road of the area. Unlike the artful architecture of her own home, the buildings were boxy and utilitarian. Some were multistory homes, but as they moved on, most were stout and sprawling structures, factories perhaps, or warehouses. They'd been built simply and efficiently from masonry, but everything had an unnaturally dark tint. The fact that everything, from the shingles to the iron fences, and even the withered trees, had the same tint suggested that the fug was to blame.

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