The Battle of Charmelle: The Vhaen Project | 6

The remaining ships dispersed as soon as quickly as they had appeared. Obviously, the goal at hand was not about the crew, it was to capture the figurehead of their enemies…and their jump technology along with it. Cedric ran to the nearest pile of rubble. With the training he had survived he made quick work of freeing trapped workers. All the while, a crew mate was begging for a moment.

“Captain!” Attica broke in as he pulled a piece of the hangar door from a mound. “I have to tell you some-”

“What are you doing out here! go help those folks!”

“Yes, of course. But Amelia–”

“What about Amelia?” He paused only for a moment.

It took only moments to procure the map, and Katherine came bearing it and a dozen others with her.

“Captain, to me…Your charts.”

Leaving the pause and conversation on temporary hold for the moment, the captain joined his host at the table and leered over the document with narrow eyes. “Is this the closest Order port?”

“I believe so Captain.” She would nod.

The crew buzzed around the charts and maps. Audra and Seamus stood over a plan for small gliders with determination in their faces,“If we fabricate a small glider we might be able to make it to this outpost…use surpris–.”

“Captain.” Attica broke in.

He turned his eyes up from the glider plans in an annoyed manner, “I’m a bit busy, Attica.”

“Sir, the Isabella–”

“Is gone, yes.” he paused,  “Amelia!” he leaned back from the table looking for his wife.

Attica’s head slipped to one side in aggravation. “Sir–I’m trying to tell you.” A barrage of voices battered them all at once.

“I think this is the best route to get you to the Port, Captain Whittaker.” Katherine added pointing on a map.

Mr. Fox ceased his movement and looked around their gathering. “Amelia?”

The passenger, Amelia Ruth, not knowing who was calling which Amelia popped her head from behind a tent door.”Here! I’m here, Mr. Fox!”

“Ok, we have one…”

Cedric sat up a little straighter now privy to the conversation and darker tones filling his face.. “Where’s my wife?”

Attica put her hands down forcefully in front of the captain.“The Isabella was manned, Sir.”

 

~*~

 

In that moment, Amelia was focused on only one thing. The large white cast iron tub was full to the brim of steamingly hot water.

 

“He told me to wait until the sip was fixed…and I did…and now…hot bath.”

 

The newly repaired floors were unfinished, but that didn’t bother her in the least. Steam hung thickly in the air, clinging to the interior of the room. The new clean towels donated by the archeologists smelled heavenly as did the soap.

 

Sinking in up to her chin made every ache a pain disappear. The cold melted away and she smiled in genuine delight for the first time in a month. Outside the door Attica knocked and said something…but the water blocked up her ears. Besides, it was lovely in this warm little room.

After a time, and the pruning of fingers and toes, Amelia made her way from the bath into the warmth of towels and clean clothes that had been steaming with her in the bath. She had dressed in clean clothes and was just beginning to towel off her hair when something of a great commotion began outside. She turned to listen, not concerned, but curious and made her way to a room with a window.

 

The padding of her bare feet on the cold wooden floor was all she could hear for a moment as the sound seemingly stopped. She peered out breath fogging up the double paned glass. The students and scientists were running in a panic. Amelia’s eyebrows furrowed and she turned to exit the Isabella quickly to find out what was going on.

 

Then the resounding thunder of artillery shells on the hangar door began. She staggered, tripping over the parts of furniture that was now violently bouncing with the percussion. Then all at once, the ship screamed with the sound of splintering boards and curling steel. Amelia fell upon her back, and cried out in fright. The ship took it’s invasion gracelessly and lurched as the interior contents were jostled along with her sole passenger.

 

The ship moved erratically, vibrating with the skidding along the hangar floor. Amelia grappled for a handhold, seeking any shelter she could from falling tools and debris. Then the free fall. All at once she realized what was going on. They were being stolen.

 

It was only a few seconds before the free fall ended, and Amelia, and all the effects around her came crashing back to the floor. Her instincts kicked in almost immediately but she had no knowledge of whether or not they had been boarded. Her thoughts ran wild.

 

They carried her quickly to an end table that had once been in her bedroom. From the top drawer she pulled a large heavy pistol and loaded it. This she placed into her belt and crept to a gridless radio. From here, the wife of the captain swallowed hard and cleared a small space, bringing the cords and radio into the hiding place she had chosen. So much of the ship was in disarray.

 

“Again with the mess…” She thought to herself as she pulled the small black box onto her lap and shimmied debris over the hiding hole she had made.

The radio, she had built it herself with the help of Wyatt…it functioned on a short range frequency that the military had yet to acquire…and it came in handy from time to time. Gently, tentatively, she tapped her S.O.S. into the microphone hoping to all the stars in the sky that the hangar and it’s inhabitants still existed.

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