Mission: Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
Brem looked up at the engines and whistled. He had known power before but the one which was powering the train had more grunt. A mass of pistens and cogs moving to their steady beat. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, it almost felt like home.
"Hey you!" a voice called "Stop standing there and get on with your job!"
It took a moment before he realised he was being shouted at, it had been a long time since he had been called 'hey you'. Brem threw an irritated look at the person yelling at him. "Just looking," he yelled over the noise of the engines.
"Looking at what?" The man, dressed in a blue overall with a heavy apron over that, stepped closer. "You're not Michael."
"No," Brem said, carefully thinking what to say next. "I'm just a passenger. But I love engines. This is a fine machine you have here."
"Dangerous to be here, for passengers. Train personel only," the man said.
Brem nodded. "I understand that." He pointed at the internal pistons. "Someone could lose a hand to that!"
"Don't I know it. Lost an apprentice that way; Hand ripped off, and he bled to death." Brem nodded gravely. Engineering was dangerous.
"Do you mind if I take a look at the condensors? I heard these trains use the top of the line condensors. Quite an exciting technology."
The man beamed. "Sure!" he said, as he led Brem away from the main engine, back into the locomotive carriage. "The steam gets expelled there," the man explained, "and then is captured in those pipes," more pointing. "Ends up in this reservoir, which leads back to...," as they walked through a door, "the reservoir. We don't need to re-fill half as much as the mark 2 series."
As Brem looked around the reservoir room, he noticed a leg sticking out from behind a large barrel.
He went closer and fortunately the leg had an owner. A young lad in surprisingly clean clothes was lying on the floor leaning on the barrel.
"Hey. Wake up." Brem called and gently kicked the leg.
Laurence yawned as his mind slowly became aware of the reality. His eyes were squint but as soon as he could see Brem's scarred face, he yelped and they widened.
"I-I have a good reason to be here! I didn't take anything" Laure said, spotting another man in the room.
The train engineer reacted irritated. "Yes, yes, that's what they all say," he grumbled. "Out with you!" He made to grab the boy by the arm to pull him up, but Brem put his hand on the man's chest to stop him. For all his rough appearance, and his pirating ways, Brem had a soft spot for innocence. And this boy, this young man, looked like he had been through a lot. Besides, what would make a boy flee to the noisiest part of the train to seek refuge?
"It's alright," he said to the other engineer. "He's with me." He winked at the boy, or tried to, as it looked rather weird for a man with an eyepatch. He just hoped the boy would play along.
Laurence did get the hint.
"Yes", he said in a faltering voice and stood up tidying his shirt a little. "I knew he would be here and I had something to tell him" Laure said, trying with his look to get brem to go somewhere else with him.
Brem nodded. "Alright then, let's go to the carriage," he said as he motioned for Laurence to exit the locomotive. Then Brem shook hands with the train's engineer. "Fascinating," he said. "Might be back to talk some more." And with that he followed the young man.
Once they had left the front of the train and were heading back through the corridors, Brem asked: "Have somewhere to stay, boy?" He scratched at the edge of his eyepatch.
Laure shrugged. There was nothing about Brem that looked safe or welcoming.
"Well, if you need a meal, or something, go find the Peacock carriage and tell them Brem sent you." He doubted the boy was good for anything else, but he added anyway: "There might even be a job for you. Running errand, doing shopping."
With a final nod, Brem left the boy and went his own way.