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   Chapter 37 It's dangerous

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 12802

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03


"How good are we on your extra lift gas, Aldrick?" Daniel asked.

"That is all still fine, Mr. Zacharias, " the inventor said after tapping a glass vial that was contained in a Polychlon mantel. Daniel had seen him do that often but had no idea what to look for.

They had reached the second spot which was an option. It was as deserted as the islands, and they had proceeded to spot number three, which was a tremendous rock formation that rose up from the sea to astounding heights.

"Good. We're going to need that perhaps, " Daniel said. "Are you okay, Aldrick? You've been here for a while already again."

"I can manage, Mr. Zacharias, " the inventor said, but Daniel called Tomlin and asked if he could take over. There was something in the way Aldrick was moving his feet Daniel did not like.

As Aldrick was lying down, the high rocks were coming into view. The skipper's calculation had been perfect: they were approaching the rock formation with the sun in their back, so the pirates, if they were there, would not see them until the last moment.

Tension on board rose, again, as they scanned the area. But as with the previous two places, there were no pirates.

"This is not going to work, " Aldrick said as he massaged his sore feet. "There are a million places where they can hide!" Abnezer and Phorlis tended to agree with him.

"Only thousands, " Daniel grumbled, "and we're going to search each one of them until we find the rats." That earnt him some unfriendly looks, but he didn't care. "You can get off right here if you want. Just swim that way for a week, or hitch a ride on a Fringy, and you'll be fine."

The crew had been flying for six days already, and slowly there were situations developing and things happening that started to chew on people's nerves.

"People, come on. We have searched half the spots now, " Tomlin said, "three more and we call it off, okay? You all knew this was going to be tough. It is tough. Deal with it, or, as Daniel said, get out now."

There were grumbles, but nobody wanted out.

The skipper told the sailor men what course to take and the sails were set. Tomlin added lift to the balloons to take them over the pointy rocks, and the flight went on.

"We're off to the coast now, " the skipper said. "We're going there as it is an option, although a strange one. It's close by."

Close by proved to be relative. It was already approaching dusk as they sailed along the coastline. Daniel sat on the side of the airship that looked out over the ocean, the colours of the setting sun was setting the water on fire. He thought of Rhonda and of the strange short visit of Ombra Hozteng.

"Daniel?"

He turned his head towards Abnezer who looked out over the bow."Yes?"

"I see boats."

Daniel got up and stood next to Abnezer. He saw boats too. At least he saw parts of boats. He alerted the crew who readied themselves for battle. Several had Polychlon sticks with hooks. Aldrick held one also, as his sword had ceased to be. The inventor did keep to the back of the airship, as Daniel had told him. The man was precious in flying the airship, he should be kept away from fighting as much as possible.

Daniel took his special suitcase from under a bench. Tomlin stood next to him, his eyes glistening as Daniel opened the box.

"Oh my God, " said Tomlin. "You took that with you? Did they know?"

"I think they knew, " said Daniel as he hooked several of the appliances to his belt and handed some to Tomlin. "I guess they wanted me gone rather than count their bombs and artillery. I just hope the things still work."

Tomlin nodded. He was very aware of the problems the water caused.

"This is the real thing, folks, " Daniel said. "If this isn't, we're going home. Aldrick, take us in low. We'll jump off and then you get the hell o

iky and talked to her. He had told her about Ombra's visit. It seemed to bring power back to the woman.

"She really came to see you? For me?"

"Yes." Daniel told her about the unfortunate short visit and the strange end, but Draiky seemed to miss most of that. For her it was important only that Ombra had done something.

Daniel smiled and let Draiky bask in the surprise. It made him feel good. He went round to see who else they had on board. He found most of his friends, but walked around again in search of Bilk, the alien. Finally he kneeled down with Ulaman and Xandree to ask.

They filled him in about how Bilk had tried to fight himself free and met his end that way. They also told him how a several others of the crew had been killed, just to set an example, to crush morale and anyone's desire to try an escape or revolt.

"This man, Birkle, is very good at breaking people, Daniel, " Ulaman said. "I have yet to see someone who can be as cruel as he is. He actually whipped his ape for not killing someone slowly enough."

Daniel shuddered. It made him feel sick, but also even more glad that he had done all what he had, to save his friends. He looked around the airship and his heart cringed. The state these people were in was awful.

He went back aft and checked with Tomlin and the skipper, who was too stubborn to stay unconscious. The man was already working on where they were and how long it would take them to get back to Skarak.

Abnezer went round and round, making sure people were okay, handing out food and water to drink. Daniel had not thought the wrestler had that in him. At the same time he felt bad about the people they had lost in the fight. He did not have much time to feel these things though...

"Twanngggg..." The sound was accompanied by a shudder that went through the airship, causing many people to get up. That again made the airship sway.

"People, all sit down!" Tomlin yelled. He and Daniel went around the airship to see what could have caused the unnerving sound. Tomlin found the problem in one of the floaters that held the airship in the air: one of the cables that held the thing to the ship had ripped. It was still there, it was just flapping about, out of reach.

They made several attempts to grab the line, but it mocked them, staying out of reach of their fingers. Daniel looked up, estimating the danger. So far the floater was still captured in the net of five cables, but there would be a serious problem if one of the two cables next to the ripped one would go also.

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