Blood on the deck
Chapter 2: The Map says 'Go Here'
Location: Steamhawke engine room
Timeline: Day 4
The engine room was always full of sounds, activity and soot. Or dust. Or just dirt. It made Daenelia feel a little claustrophobic. She felt she was in the way, all the time. Even when Erm looked at her as if she was going to beat him and throw him over the side the second he bumped into her, she still felt like she did not call the shots here. Master Brem did. That much was clear. He hired the new apprentice without consulting her. He ordered Erm to tell her to shovel coal if she wanted to go faster. Brem was in charge of the heart of her ship. But now, she was here to discuss the state Kanya was in, after having been shot during the Zepper chase.
Daenelia felt for the young girl, and had been much more comfortable around her than around Brem. Kanya was young, and easier to impress than Brem. But she was also full of good ideas and skills that were needed on the ship. Daenelia's thoughts were interrupted by a cough behind her. It was Brem, frowning at her for invading his territory.
"You lost cap'n?" he said as he scratched his neck. Things hadn't been going as smoothly as they could have been since the Zepper chase. The engines had taken too long to heat up, no matter how much coal they shovelled and they went cold a lot sooner after they had stopped.
"No Brem, not now I've found you." she replied in a stern voice, "I've come to let you know that..."
A clang sounded from somewhere on the other side of the engine but before Brem could say anything a voice shouted "Sorry!" to which he just grumbled.
"Ahum" Daenellia said to get Brem's attention again "As I was saying, Kanya was shot during the chase."
"Kanya?" Brem asked for a moment "Ohh! That girl you took on as a shipwright, how is she?"
"She's okay, considering the circumstances. But it's that doctor we picked up... He jumped at the chance to treat her. And I am sure she would have been much worse off if he had not done anything... He is just very ..." Daenelia looked for the right word.
"Creepy?" Brem offered.
Daenelia nodded. "Anyway, I though you'd want to know she won't be much help to you, for a while." Brem nodded. The pair stood silently for a while, as the machines kept making noise.
"Well," said the Captain. "How are your apprentices doing?" Another loud noise came from somewhere, and they both whipped round to see Erm holding his head in both hands and moaning.
Brem chuckled to himself at the comment, "There doing exactly as you'd expect from a bunch of novices, trying to work out who's in charge of who in their own little structure." He moved them nearer to the engines where the noise was loader before saying "don't tell 'em but some of 'em have the makings of half descent engineers."
The pair walked slowly around the engine room for a few moments in near silence, the crew who were in there looking at them both with looks of fear mixed with awe. "Oh by the way cap'n, hope you don't mind the message I sent Erm to you with. It helps to build their character if you'd shout at them if they say it exactly as I tell 'em to."
Daenelia smiled. "I understand. I hope you were not too offended by having been told by Sky about the hanging, from the mast?"
Brem made a grunting sound, but tried to keep his face straight. Bursting out laughing in front of the apprentices would not be a good idea. "You would have had to catch me first, anyway," he remarked.
Daenelia did smile, a mental image of running around after Brem on deck was just funny. "I was wondering," she said after a while, "Kanya had some interesting ideas about the sails. And it did help. Did she say anything about if the engines needed some .. eh.. updating? I know the ship is not very new, and I am sure things could be improved. It's just that I can't ask Kanya now, with her being shot. Did she mention anything to you?"
Brem thought for a moment, "she did say she had some ideas about improving efficiency and after our little chase I think I know what she means. We will need a few parts, shouldn't cost too much if we can find a decent dealer." he glanced at the engine before looking back to the captain and whispered, "she's old and patched together, I think if you scrubbed to hard at some of her parts she may well fall apart." Something pinged at that point and ricocheted off one wall and then another. Brem looked pained by it and said "but she's a fine machine which just needs some tender care" in a much loader voice.
They were by the door at this point, Daenelia looked around and said "Trying to get rid of me by some chance?"
"No cap'n" Brem said with a grin "Just hopin' you were going to look in on the doc and his patients, I wanted to have a word about that flying machine he was on."
The clockwork fighter was still resting on the deck, almost in the same spot that it had landed on. A bit of old canvas had been thrown over it, to tie it down. But no one had really inspected it, and the Captain had not yet talked with the man who landed it. Ivan Yorvlad had claimed he was a doctor, but even the most sickly members of her crew already tried to keep out of his way. Maybe the man's personality had influenced the crew's perception of the flying machine and tried to ignore it. From what Daenelia had seen, it could carry two people at most. One to fly and steer, one to operate a weapon. And even then, it was a tight fit. Daenelia fully understood Brem's interest in the machine, but could tell him very little.
"I will at some point speak to the doctor." The Captain shifted on her feet uneasily, as if even thinking about having to talk to this man was making her uncomfortable. "But you know you can always have a look at it. I trust you will be able to put it back together, if you take it apart."
A thought occured to her. "You know, Ed, ehm, mister Marketh, the handyman? He might also have some ideas. And why not let one of your apprentices also look it over?" Daenelia raised her eyebrows and smiled.
Brem smiled at the mention of his apprentice, "You've met her then I take it?" he asked.
"Well, yes she introduced herself to me when Erm was worried about his position."
"Well he should be, 'noticed her stripping..." Daenelia raised an eyebrow and Brem noticed it "an engine" he continued "in a few minutes, it's not something many people can do without allot of practice."
The fact that he had been in a tavern at the time he first noticed her wasn't something he wanted to say to the captain but he thought he had covered it enough for questions not to be asked.
"You said a handyman? We have one of those who isn't Mcginty?"
Daenelia was mildly shocked that so many of her crew who had things in common hadn't met each other. "Yes, he's currently upgrading some weapons in one of the store rooms, maybe you should go and have a look at what he's done as well."
Brem didn't like the idea of yet another person who wanted to play with the mechanics of the ship but he replied in a stern tone "Maybe I will then."
The Captain nodded and smiled. When she caught Erm staring at her, she quickly pulled a serious face and growled: "Carry on Master Brem."