Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scout's Oath - Chapter 10

< Chapter 9                                                                                                    Chapter 11 >
Lord Garrett's patrol ships have shot a gaping hole in the gas envelope of Martin's Banes airship!

"Nist, get me to Martin's ship!" I cried, rushing to a coil of rope on the Pauline's deck.  "Garrett, call off your patrol ships!"

"How?" Garrett demanded.

"Shout.  Jump up and down.  Wave your arms.  Just do it!" I said, looping one end of the rope through a docking cleat.  "Nist, does the Pauline have enough lift to help Martin land safely?"

"Not at the rate he's losing gas," Nist replied, "but the patrol ships do."

When Nist piloted the Pauline between two patrol ships, they finally noticed us.  Garrett -- waving, jumping, and shouting -- got their attention.  They broke off the attack as Nist dove toward Martin's flailing ship.

"This is as close as I can get right now," Nist called to me. 

We were twenty feet above Martin's deck and ten feet from its railing.  Clutching the rope, I took a running jump from the rail.  A drop of eight hundred feet yawned beneath me, then I crashed onto the deck of the stricken airship.  Crewmen rushed to tie off my end of the rope.

Through all the commotion, I could hear Garrett shouting orders to his ships.  Maybe they had some kind of procedure for aiding damaged ships, something better than what I had done?

Half a minute later, I had my answer.  Patrol ship crewmen began jumping to the deck, each holding the end of a rope.  Lines were tied off and our descent began to slow.  It finally stopped about a hundred feet from the ground.

Martin was kept busy directing all five of the ships during the flight to Pingor.  Only when his ship was docked, did he come talk to me.

"I've got bad news, David," he said.  "Rupor has escaped!"

How did Rupor escape from an airborne airship?  Find out in Chapter 11, coming Friday!