Chapter 7: Going West
Timeline: Late Afternoon some day well into the journey
Jack couldn't believe how long this new project was taking him. Between constantly keeping the pressure of the ships engines from going sky high. 'I need to discuss with the captain about getting new pressure valves...' Plus trying to perfect his new formula for the Fire Bomb he was more secluded than he liked to be. He needed a breather, so he put it all down and went outside, it was a particularly sunny day out. 'Spring is here...' He took a deep breath.
The deck was busy with deckhands running all over the place. Faizel was running an emergency drill and wanted to see how fast the crew could ready the two small clockwork lifeboats that were hidden on the sides of the deck, covered in tarpaulin. Kichi the monkey was chattering and running along, until Mei picked him up and took him to the aft deck. One smaller boat was in the hold, and a group of deckhands, under direction of Jefferson, were hauling it up to the deck through the hole. Faizel was holding a pocket watch and looked stern. The captain was on the aft deck, Mei now beside her, looking on intently. Her folded arms were hiding her hands balled into tight fists.
Running his hand through his hair we went over to inspect the lifeboats. His jaw dropped at the condition of them. "Captain! Come see this now!" He shouted. further inspections showed gears loose and springs undone. "This is a deathboat!" Jacks glass eye nearly cracked and he ran quickly to get his tools.
Daenelia jumped over the railing unto the deck below. She nearly slipped as she rushed to the lifeboat, but it was Faizel who was there first. "Who is responsible for this?" he yelled. The deckhands all stopped in their tracks. "Someone forgot their duties and I intend to find out!" He pulled Nate Winters close, by grabbing his shirt. "Are you in charge of lifeboat maintenance?"
"Eh, no, well," Nate began. "It was always Ed's duty, or at least, he always..."
"It was never the handyman's job to check the state of the boats!" Faizel roared in Nate's face. "That is on the duty roster for deckhands! And what are you, mister Winters?"
"A deck...," Nate whispered, but at that moment Jefferson stepped in.
"That's quite enough, boatswain," the first mate said to Faizel in a quiet tone. "I am sure the life boats just escaped the total refit that was done in Seaport. We haven't been out of port that long. It's no wonder the boats weren't checked."
Jefferson inspected the boats, as Jack came running back with his toolbox. "Hm, this is strange," he said as he looked at the bottom of the boat. "What do you make of that, master O'Leary?" He squinted at Jack, waiting for an answer.
O'Leary shook his head. "I wish I could say I had a decent answer." He trieds to remember. "I have seen some shadowy figure around where the lifeboats were being refit." He took out his tools and began his work. "Possible saboteur?" Jack twisted his fingers around his mustache then bent down into the boat. "Who or whatever it was did a might fine job..." He grumbled.
Jefferson nodded. "I will talk to the captain about that," he said, as he clapped Jack on the shoulder. "Good work, master O'Leary."
Daenelia had made her way over to the life boats, but had stood behind Jefferson as he talked to Jack. "The only shadowy figures I can remember are those blasted brothers of that Cult," she hissed at Jefferson and Jack. "They worship machines though... Why would they break them?"
Jefferson took the captain by the arm and began to lead her away. But Daenelia pulled free and walked back to Jack. "Try to remember, Jack!" she pleaded with him. "Was there anything else you remember?"
He rubbed his head. "I doubt it was that machine cult....But when I was operating a machine shop there was this one gentleman, no it was a woman. She laid out a huge payment and plans for a very powerful weapon using Tesla Coils." He sighed. "She wanted me to make the worlds first lightning gun."
He went back to work as he continued. "As she left she said that there would people watching and waiting, she left the plans on my bench. Assuming that my interest would peak and I would build the blasted thing."
"Lightning gun?" Daenelia was intrigued. "Impossible!" Jefferson spluttered. "Captain, I will take a look at these plans. Maybe I can find a clue."
"That's what I told her! But the woman wouldn't listen...The plans are in a hidden compartment at the bottom of my small trunk."
Jack went back to work. "If this is her work, I'll giver her a Lightning Gun...." As Jack was working on fixing the boats, Jefferson led the Captain away, and whispered in her ear. Daenelia nodded.
"Good plan," she said, "I look forward to your report on that." And she pulled herself lose to walk back to the poopdeck.
Faizel squinted his eyes at the crew standing around. "What are you hanging around for? Get back to work!" he shouted.
First Mate Jefferson walked back to the young engineer. "Mister O'Leary, Jack... Can you bring me the plans later? I would like to go over them with you. See if anything in the design tells us something about this mysterious woman."