Chapter 6: Desperate Times
Location: Ships Hold
"Lets see If I had binidem to the lacetrait that should stabilize the viscosity". Jack mumbled scientific jargon to himself. "Now lets see..." BOOM. Jack was coughing from the smoke that his new experiment called the fire bomb released. "Boy I'm glad I choose an empty hold, Chops would have killed me". He laughed to himself. "Too much ribidium". He thought. Checking the surrounding areas to ensure no one saw him, he wanted this new weapon to be perfect before he pitched it. "I hope this works I was chased halfway round the world for the formula". He mumbled.
The sound of a bomb going off made Daenelia sit up straight. She stared at the door of her cabin, wondering if this was the war dogs training, the handyman doing 'repair work', or an attack on the ship. She frowned as she shuffled some papers about. Then her curiousity got the better of her and she stormed out the door, trying to listen for the next BOOM.
"Captain!" Dottie was standing halfway up the stairs with a look of alarm on her face. "Are we under attack?" The former first mate was stroking the gun she had hanging on her hip. Daenelia looked at her with a grim expression.
"Don't be daft," she told Dottie. Then she pushed past her and ran down the stairs, as the next BOOM sounded. Smoke started to rise up, from the hold. Not the side of the engines, she thought with relief.
When she entered the hold she saw Jack standing there, with boxes, vials, coils of rope and the scent of burning in the air. "What is going on here?" she asked.
Jack was knocked back a little as the captain entered questioning his set up. "Well isn't this funny here i thought the empty hold would contain the sound but it apparently amplified it". "Captain this is what I call the firebomb, this mixture inside the glass bottle when exposed to air will instantly ignite our enemy ships, better yet it vaporize quickly so no one can trace the formula". he described the liquid inside the glass container. "The formula has been inscribed into the back of my watch in a puzzle only I know of." He showed the captain the confusing lettering. "Captain ma'am I'm still finalizing this, but I believe this can be a great advantage, just let me finish this and let me pitch it the the crew?" He asked. "If they don't believe in it then i will cease with these experiments."
Daenelia was reeling. The smell in the hold was awful, like burning fur, but different. She blinked at the glass bottle and then at the man holding it. Why must there always be people who wanted to use her ship as a laboratory? She coughed and tried to think about what Jack proposed. "A firebomb, eh?" she said. The more she thought about it, the better it sounded. Then another thought struck her.
"What if it blows up the Steamhawke? Hm? It sounds like a dangerous weapon. And though I have utmost trust in my crew," she stopped and took a deep breath before coughing again. "Though... *cough cough* They aren't the most well schooled or careful people." She rubbed her eyes. "Isn't this firebomb dangerous in the hands of people who don't know how to handle it?"
"That's why I was making these in such small vials so if it did combust I could handle it." He took sometime to be able to answer the Captains next question. "I'm not entirely sure about this myself either." Both he and the Captain had a doubting look."I'm still testing this, I believe I have come up with a mixture that will react with only certain materials. Wood, sailing canvas ect." He smirked, he had the utmost respect for the whole crew and would always be honest with his commander. "Ya know those ignorant royal navy people tried to kill me for this a few times, I knew they couldn't handle it. Your the first to make me question if I could handle it?".
Daenelia nodded slowly. No matter how confident Jack sounded, she still saw the Steamhawke go down in flames in her mind's eye. But she had little alchemical knowledge. She knew how weapons worked and when to use them. She narrowed her eyes as she tried to decide whether she should trust Jack to develop such a dangerous weapon. And who she could trust to learn how to use it.
"Jack," she said in a deliberate tone of voice. "I think a firebomb, if it works correctly, could be a powerful weapon to have on board. I need your promise you won't blow up the ship." She took a deep breath and continued. "But you need to train some of the war dogs to handle this. And probably a few gunners as well. I don't know if any of them have experience with alchemical weapons..."
She sighed. "Better ask for volunteers and interview them," she mumbled to herself. She looked straight at the young engineer. "I want you and Master Brem to make sure this project of yours is conducted as safe as possible. And that it doesn't interfere with your normal work."
The smoke had cleared a bit. "Do you know anyone who you could teach how to use the firebomb, once it's ready? And when do you think youy'd be able to test it, to show the crew?"
"I just need to make a few more adjustments. Though I can only make a few at a time, there's a particular element needed to make the mixture combustible. Boysenberidium is whats needed to make it work, but it's so rare here. I only made a handful of firebombs because of it." He proceeded to show Daenelia a map of the place where he first found the element in the first place. He saw the nervousness in her eyes, and questioned his own capabilities he was intelligent but maybe not enough to understand his own invention.
"Captain I promise I will not blow up the ship. If an accident occurs on my part I'll man up and you and the crew may put me to death.I keep my experiments in a fireproof safe, is anything goes up the safe will contain it". He weighed a heavy promise on himself but was determined to keep his shipmates safe.