The Battle of Charmelle: The Vhaen Project | 10

Within the hour soldiers were replaced by mechanics and engineers of a variety of shapes and sizes. Hundreds of hands worked all at once to repair and recreate the integrity of the hull and engine. So far, as Amelia could gather, the repair crew had not been into the living quarters areas of the ship. She peered from a vent in the siding to watch them closely. It was becoming apparent, at the rate they were repairing the ship they would find her. But how to get out now? She was surrounded by low class orderlies and two dozen technical officers.

 

Well…there was always that.

 

She twitched her nose in thought. There seemed no other way.

 

She came crawling from her hiding space leaving the radio behind. Standing to her feet she could hardly resist the urge to stretch. Too many hours on the hard floor and running adrenaline had left her stiff. But as it was for her, the stiffness in her joints left quickly and painlessly obeyed. This would be about speed and accuracy.

 

The woman, pistol in hand, made her way to the engine rooms with quick steps. Avoiding working crew was not easy; yet, for half a moment, she paused watching a group meticulously clean a section of the engine within an inch of it’s life.

 

“It’s never going to look that way again.” She thought to herself as she came to a large stack of boxes. The case was now, to scale them, and reach the air ducts above them all, and clear the ship without anyone noticing. She readied herself to make the jump when a woman came around the corner looking greatly confused.

 

“Um, excuse me, Lieutenant…do you happen to know the way to the…main deck?” She was young, and completely oblivious to who she was even talking to but the pin on Amelia’s lapel was certainly one of rank. She stood waiting for an answer and Amelia sort of gave a glance around.

 

‘Sure…it’s up that way to the right.”

 

“Oh thank you, Mam! I’m new and I really can’t make heads or tails of ships.”

 

An idea occurred to Amelia in a flash. “Actually, did you say the main deck? That’s a completely different route, my apologies. Come this way, I’ll show you.”

 

Indifferently, and still grateful, the young woman followed Amelia without a second thought down a back hallway and into the area where the quarters were located.

 

“My, this ship has seen better days.”

 

“Well, looks like these fellows are fixing it up right aren’t they? Right in through here.”

The young woman nodded and turned into the room Amelia held open for her. The door shut behind them quietly and not a sound emanated from it.

 

After a few minutes Amelia emerged wearing the uniform so common to the military. Short black jacket with red piping and adornments and silver metallic accents. Amelia pulled the cap briskly over her head and took a deep breath wiping her hands on her new pristinely pressed pants. She turned and locked the door with her personal master key and pressed it close to her skin in her shirt.

 

Making her way back to the engine room the pethera of workers glanced at her and never even blinked.

 

“Ay! Missy, take these plans to Captain Michaels. You know, the fellow who follows the general everywhere.” The large man handed her a set of blueprints and looked back to his task. Amelia took it with a measure of confidence and nodded to him.

 

“Sure. Back out this way right?”

 

The large man nodded. “Just out that way and to the left.”

 

With a quick nod the captain’s wife went out the way she had been instructed. The cold evening air struck her face with a briskness she had not expected. Hurrying down the steps, she huddled into the thin jacket the young woman had worn. Amelia pressed into the doorway of the nearest building. Hanging in the stoop were thick fur lined jackets, to which she helped herself. The sun was just beginning to set, and the shadows were growing long. It would likely snow, and the longer both she and the ship remained in this place, the closer they came to being uncovered or worse.

 

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