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   Chapter 59 No.59

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5741

Updated: 2018-01-19 19:02


"Ms. Graus, the starboard lift pump is hit. That thing is hooked to all of the envelope chambers. I need you to cut off the flow, or we're going to fall right into the jaws of that monster."

Nita looked up to the malfunctioning machinery, swallowed hard, and took to the rigging.

Captain Mack swung the ship around. "As long as we're tipping down, might as well let them have it with both barrels. Stand by, all crew. Big jolt coming."

She had just reached the broken pump when the order came. It left her with barely the time to hold on tight to the rigging before the guns fired, forcing the already forward-pitched ship to tilt drastically. Anything not tied down, including the crew, tumbled forward. Nita was almost shaken free but managed to keep her grip. She looked down and saw two new green plumes coming from the dreadnought but still no sign that it was on the verge of destruction. Shaking her head, she tried to focus on her work. On the deck of the ship, dealing with the pump would have been a simple task. There were a few manual valves that needed to be closed. Here in the rigging of a ship at battle, it seemed impossible. She could only reach three of the five necessary valves. There was no telling how she would close the others, but she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

"It looks like they won't be able to target us as well if we are directly above them! I'm taking us over! If we have to come down, maybe we can tear them up on the way!"

Nita finished the three accessible valves and then eyed the remaining ones. There were no two ways about it. She'd never be able to reach them from the rigging. Without a second thought she climbed out onto the broken pump itself,

way to help the Wind Breaker get away. Stumbling to her feet, she rushed for the nearest hatch to the lower decks.

#

"We lost Nita!" Coop said.

"Is she dead?" Captain Mack asked.

"I don't know. She might have ended up on the dreadnought."

"Then she's dead either way. Looks like she got that leak fixed before she went, but we lost a lot of gas. We're going to have to bleed some altitude, and we can't stay up here or those harpoons will get us. I'm taking us aside."

He guided the rapidly descending Wind Breaker to port, swinging down behind the main envelope, then out and away. Gunner scrambled to reach the sack of weapons that had been thrown about the deck by the attacks. It had become lodged in the mounting of one of envelope struts. He fished out a blunderbuss and took aim at one of the propellers as they swept past. Pulling the trigger unleashed a cloud of pellets. At this range the bulk of the blast met its target, causing the motor to vent steam and sputter to a stop. Though there were no fewer than eleven other propellers still functioning, it was heartening to know that the ship wasn't indestructible.

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