How are they driving?
Mission: Chapter 5: Into the Fire
The door to the engine room slammed open as Brem stormed back in, a wave of heat washed over him in a race to escape before the door was closed again. His minions were shovelling coal for the most part but a few, upon seeing his return tried to make themselves look busy, sweat and soot seemed to coat everyone and most of the crew were working in only their trousers.
"Listen up you lot!" he called out, his voice echoed above the crash and wiz of the mechanics at work, "There's a ship out there with the old style rotors keeping it up it seems, but it has metal plates stuck over its hull. The plates are thick and would be way t' heavy to keep it up, ideas?"
Dottie had somehow found herself down in the engine room, rather than up on the deck. Not that she was hiding, but she had just had this feeling to go to the safest place she could think of. And now Brem was yelling.
"Maybe they are hiding bigger steampipes under the plate?" a nameless coal shoveler yelled back.
"Don't be stupid!" Brem yelled "The pipes wouldn't do anything!"
Brem started pacing back and forth throwing ideas out there and then trashing them again straight away. "They have to have some sort of massive engine or some new fuel sort."
The mechanics and workers were running back and forth trying to get the maximum out of the engines, knowing they needed speed and manouvrability. Dottie jumped out of the way as an engineer swung a pipe in the direction of her head. "Brem!" she yelled as she tried to get the chief engineer's attention. He ignored her until she stood right in front of him. "I think the ship may be falling apart," she said , thinking of the attack they just endured.
"Hm?" Brem looked up at the ceiling, as if half expecting it to cave in. "Nonsense. The Steamhawke is a tough old girl. She can take a beating and still outrun the fastest ship in the Seven Skies." He turned to cuff Erm around the ears. "Mind your head, boy! Fix that pipe before it bursts and burns your hair off!"
Dottie looked at the engines' cogs and wheels spinning, coughing and creaking, and hoped that Brem was right about the ship's strength. She felt a gentle push on her back, as Brem pushed her out of the way, so he could resume pacing back and forth, trying to think with the activities going on around him.
"... new fuel..." he repeated to himself. "Or is there room for a bigger engine... or more than one?"
Brem looked around at his crew, all of them hard at work with one thing or another and he smiled to himself, "Listen up you lot!" he called out. Everyone stopped working and turned to look at him, "Don't stop! Keep going but listen, do any of you remember hearing of the quad engine ship they were testing a few years back?"
Nobody answered him so he continued, "Well, apparently they tested a four engines running side by side to try and get more power out of the ship. The only problem was with all four engines going they couldn't turn at all, too much oomph and not enough bang if you catch my drift..."
"I remember hearing about that!" Dottie piped up, "Didn't it explode and take half of the scientists with it?"
"Yeah" Brem replied, "But what if they are using less than four in their ship? Maybe only two?"
"Side by side?" Dottie asked. "Would the ship have room for two engines? Would they be next to each other? How would they...?" But Brem cut her off as he bellowed to Erm: "Find me the schematics of the type of ship we're facing! I need to find out if they can have two engines... or two engine rooms..."
Erm ran to Brem's little office nook, where a desk and a chair were covered in papers, empty used coffee mugs and soot. He soon found the papers Brem asked for. Erm knew several types of ships, passionate as he was about anything that sailed the skies. He had taken a good look at the Sky Tiger, admiring its old design. It was most like a Barquo, but modified. Erm did not have time to fantasize about modifying Barquos, as he grabbed the papers and brought them to Brem.
"A Barquo?" Brem sneered. "These are very old schematics, but it should do. Now let's see..." He flattened the crumpled papers on the wall, fumbling for some tacks to stick them up to better study them.