The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 85: Sailing off the Edge of the World
After we've traveled for some time, we watch the Nighthawk make a swooping dive down and to the right. Then the crew of the Eagle takes down the ship's vertical sails, and advance its horizontal booms. Eric's Vibes detect an asymmetry of psychic forces. The Nighthawk recovers from its dive, and comes back up, crossing our path. Now both ships are descending.
Eric asks Chekhov if he has detected a change in the interface. The bust reports that the interface "is becoming much less distinct."
The Nighthawk is now well ahead of the other two ships, as she glides heavily onto the ocean. The Eagle descends more gracefully, and also comes to rest on the Open Sea. The Tindomë begins a descent of its own. The Nighthawk circles around the meet its sister ship again. Even before we touch down, there are sailors swarming over the hull, and along the masts.
We hover along side the possibly damaged ship. Captain Lestron steps to the railing, and assures us that everything is shipshape. Things are indeed looking better. Mandorak whips up a little ectoplastic skiff, sits down in it, and Bavör gives him a little push that brings him alongside the other ship. A ladder is let down. Mannie climbs up and onto the deck.
There he is met by a young woman in uniform, and a large man with a whistle. After ascertaining that Mannie is there in lieu of the captain, he is announced as "Tindomë, acting," and the large man plays a few notes on the whistle.
The woman introduces herself. "I am Lt. Mara. If you will follow me?" He does, and is soon met by Alastarn of the Eagle. The latter invites him to join them in the Ready Room." I take it your interface has failed you?"
"It faded out more quickly than we expected, on the starboard side. But repairs should be completed in two bells." Our engineer is offered rum, and tea. He accepts the rum. Alastarn checks that Lestron can sail on without any problems. He admits that he consumed more of his "sharp water" than he had expected. One seaman acquired a few burns.
Mannie offers the use of Eïr to augment the skills of "Doc." This is accepted. A question arises about our skiff. Mannie explains that he made it out of water and air. They are impressed. The Nighthawk sends its own skiff for Eïr. Mannie assures them that they will be expected.
The two captains roll out their charts on the table, and determine where they think the ships are. Mandorak mentally reports this back to Finwë and Eric. Eric unrolls his own chart, and reports where he thinks we are. The two correspond gratifyingly well. They point out where the edge of the "interface" is. It turns out that they take "soundings" of the strength of the interface as part of their navigation. The Nighthawk's inadvertent dive happened because the interface on the starboard side fell off more precipitously than expected. It was not like that a few weeks earlier, when a previous ship had passed through this area.
Mandorak asks for his promised tour of the ship. They show him around. He asks for a closer look at the "sharp water." He is shown a series of clay pots with copper tubing, and instantly realizes that this is a series of acid-powered batteries. His tour guide explains their safety precautions for dealing with acid, explosions, corrosion… It is easy to deduce that there was an acid spill on the Nighthawk, since someone got burned.
Eïr mentally consults with Mannie, and learns that the injury is probably an acid burn. Eric scans through Lorelei's medicine book, and gleans enough to suggest which potions will be best for these burns. It takes long enough to make those that she packs their ingredients and expects to make the materials once she arrives on the other ship. She is ready to go when Teller lets Middan on board, which disappoints him for some reason. (Middan had probably hoped for a few minutes to look around our ship.)
When Eric reports to Mannie, Mannie tells him to invite Middan on a tour of the Tindomë later. This cheers the young man up significantly. He hands Eïr into the captain's gig, followed by Eric (translator) and Jocko (packhorse). They cross to the Nighthawk, and Middan ushers them into Doc's presence. The medical person explains about the burns, and the sharp water. Eïr likens it to dragon's breath. The two of them start mulling over the best ointment for these burns. Eïr goes to look at the burn victim, while Eric starts grinding up ingredients.
Eïr lays her hands on the victim, and produces an immediate and impressive improvement. Eric fails to answer any questions about his preparation, and apologetically explains that he is just following these written instructions. Eïr is at least able to assure the doctor that none of the ingredients is poisonous. (Lorelei marked those with a skull and crossed bones, and Eïr does not see any such markings here.) The doctor and she discuss doctoring and medicine until Eric brings over the newly compounded ointment.
The doctor finds a small, isolated burn, wipes away his ointment, and puts on Eïr's. Following the written directions, they do not cover the wound. The doctor keeps trying to learn whatever medical knowledge our little healer has.
Eventually, Mannie returns to the Tindomë, pulled in his little craft by Bay. Even later, Middan brings back our medical entourage. Mannie politely offers Middan a tour of the ship, while the two ordinary seamen sample our refreshments. Middan is impressed and confused by our engine room, as Mandorak and Bavör take turns 'explaining' the different features and their interaction.
The two dwarves lament that we had to make the ship out of wood rather than stone. Middan unwisely comments that wood is better, because it is "warmer" than stone, which is the essence of "earth." Mannie giggles helplessly while Bay holds it together well enough to explain that some stone has a deep and subtle, but very strong warmth. On the Observation Deck, Mannie takes a perverse delight in explaining that our window is made of solid air, not of glass. Middan chatters away, working out his understanding of what must be happening. Mannie gives him a simple lens, and a variable density cylinder of solidified air. Middan is grateful and fascinated.
He is still examining his new toys as he is led back to his companions and his gig.
We sail west, with the sun on the horizon on our right hand, headed for Darkholme. Eïr crosses to care for her patient from time to time. The new ointment demonstrates its effectiveness. The doctor is willing to replace his unguents with this new one, but it will require washing the old stuff off with alcohol. He wants his patient to get at least another hour's sleep before, effectively, burning him again. (At least the numbing effect of his original medication will still be strong.)
Eïr offers to perform another healing on the following day.
Updated: Jan 25, 2008
©2002, 2007 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.