Tales From the Nordic Troll - #3: Shanghai'd (part 2)
Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lewis managed to break free for a moment and attacked the two men holding his mother. He managed to get in two good hits before the third man grabbed him and threw him roughly to the ground. He then picked Lewis up, hitting him across the back of the head, and dragging him, struggling, behind the two men dragging his mother toward a nearby doorway.


The crew of the Nordic Troll continued with the repairs to their ship: Aldous Gavigan and his sister Loomie worked in the engine room to refill the coolant reservoirs in both engines. In the mess compartment, Gerrin had cut away the patch and the insulation from the bulkhead around a hole in the ship’s hull and was welding a small plate over the hole while Jamie Reilly stood by with a fire extinguisher.

After two hours Aldous reattached the coolant reservoir plate over the reservoir on the port engine. Stepping to the intercom box, he pushed the “talk” button and announced to the rest of the crew “Okay, everyone, that’s it. The engines are ready to test.”

Gerrin and Reilly had just finished returning the welding equipment to the ship’s hazmat locker when Aldous made his announcement. Gerrin stepped to the intercom and replied “Loomie, get to the cockpit, contact port control and tell them we’ll be doing an engine test in ten minutes.”

“Roger that” Loomie answered.

* * * * *

Anna and Lewis continued their search for a ride home. None of the ships parked outside the salvage yard were going where they needed to go, so they decided to catch a shuttle out to the mud factory. The “shuttle” was a long wagon with five rows of benches pulled by six horses. Anna paid for their passage with what money she had and she and Lewis took their seats in the middle of the wagon. As the wagon left the “station” and headed slowly toward Canton, the two of them discussed their situation.

Lewis wasn’t settled with leaving. “We don’t have to leave” he protested. “They had a bad day, that’s all.”

Anna looked at him. “How many more ‘bad days’ are they going to have?”

“We had bad days at home, too.”

“No.” Anna shook her head. “Verbena was just a place we got stuck in for a time. Persephone’s home, that’s where we’re going”.

“We had a home on the ship” Lewis commented.

Anna sighed “Things don’t always work out the way we want them to.” as the wagon continued to its destination.

* * * * *

Back on the Nordic Troll Gerrin had joined Loomie in the cockpit. “Tower says we’re good for an engine test” Loomie informed him.

“Okay, let’s do it” Gerrin responded.

Loomie reached for the handset. “Everybody, we’ll be doing an engine test in a second. Just a quick up and down, one hundred feet for two minutes”. She hung the handset back on the intercom box.

“Whenever you’re ready” Gerrin told her.

Loomie flipped several switches and the Troll’s engines came to life. Taking the control stick, she pulled at a lever on the panel. On the ship’s hull the thrust diverters tilted downward and the ship lifted off the ground as the engines revved up. Loomie elevated the ship to one hundred feet and hovered there. Gazing at the gages, she reached for the handset. “Everything looks good up here, Aldous. How’s it down there?”

Aldous’s voice could be heard over the din of the engines. “We’re good! She’ll fly just fine from here on! Go ahead and set down.”

Loomie eased the ship back to the ground and powered down the engines. Satisfied, Gerrin took the handset. “Okay, people, we got done what we needed to do, so anything else you want to do, go ahead and get it done.” Replacing the handset, he asked Loomie “Any word back from Anna and Lewis, yet?”

Loomie shook her head. “Nothing yet.”

Gerrin said thoughtfully “ I suppose it’s just going to take a little longer than they thought to find a ride home.”

Loomie said sadly “I just wish you could’ve talked them into staying.”

“Anna’s gotta do what Anna’s gotta do. She has her kid to look after. I wouldn’t have minded having them around awhile longer, but things haven’t exactly been safe for them here.”

“Things would’ve ironed out. They usually do.”

“They have to do what’s right by them. No one can decide that for them” Gerrin turned to leave. “Put us back on land power for now. Since we’re here ‘till morning, I’ll see about finding us some work.”

“Yeah” Loomie sighed. “Still…” she left the sentence unfinished.

* * * * *

Anna and Lewis arrived at the Canton transfer station and proceeded through town to the spaceport on the other side. The town itself was a collection of underground structures, visible only by the earthen entrances with wooden doors protruding from the ground. Bamboo reeds covered the ground, making it hard to tell where the ground ended and the “buildings” began. Lewis commented “See? We could be living like this instead of the ship.”

“No, Lewis. I know you found it exciting and all, but it’s too dangerous. I’m not going to tell you again.”

They approached the spaceport, a large open field at the edge of a hill. The control tower was a small building on top of the hill. Anna stood there for a moment, deciding whether to climb the hill to the tower or go directly to the ships. She decided on the ships. “Let’s start with this one” she pointed to the nearest ship.

Two hours later they had covered the five ships on the field with no luck. “Five ships and only one of them going anywhere close to where we need to go” Anna sighed as they started back toward the town.

“Maybe we should just go ahead and take it and get another ride from there” Lewis suggested.

“We may have to” Anna admitted.

As they made their way through town they realized they were being followed. They had noticed a man following them the first time they had passed through town: the same man was still there. They continued to walk through town as two more men approached from the front. “Hey, lady, where you going?” one spoke.

“Just passing through” Anna replied coolly.

“Want to hang out for awhile?”

“Back off” Lewis snapped.

The man behind them laughed “Oh, ho, ho! He’s an ornery one! Bet we’ll get some work outta him.” He grabbed Lewis.

Anna lashed out at Lewis’s attacker. “Rang ta ziji dai yihuier! (Leave him alone!)” she yelled, swinging at his face.

The two men in front grabbed Anna, pinning her arms behind her. “Worry about yourself, missy” the third one rasped. “You’re going to work.” They started to drag Anna, kicking and struggling, back the way they had just come. Lewis managed to break free for a moment and attacked the two men holding his mother. He managed to get in two good hits before the third man grabbed him and threw him roughly to the ground. He then picked Lewis up, hitting him across the back of the head, and dragging him, struggling, behind the two men dragging his mother toward a nearby doorway.

..........To Be Continued.



You must log in to post comments.



Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 4)
“People”, Gerrin continued, “we got things set in motion, we got a plan that’ll work, but we’re not going out there alone. Now, are you in or are you out?” - - - - The assembled farmers looked at each other. Five raised their hands. “I’m in”, they proclaimed one at a time. - - - - “What about the rest of you?” Gerrin demanded. - - - - The rest sat there, silent. - - - - Gerrin eyed them contemptuously. “Envy the country that has heroes, huh?” he growled. As he turned and stormed toward the door he added “Pity the land that needs ‘em”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 3)
The leader whipped out his gun and aimed toward Reilly. “Where’s my men?” He snapped. - - - Reilly looked around him. “Swallowed by darkness?” he offered. - - - “Gettin’ smart, huh?” The leader cocked the hammer on his weapon. “Well, I still got you now, don’t I?” - - - “Only two problems”. Reilly raised his hands holding the rope he’d been bound with. “I’m untied”. - - - The leader stiffened and cocked his head. “What’s the other one?” - - - Reilly gestured. “They’re here”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 2)
“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“ . . . . “Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”. . . . . “Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”. . . . . “Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 1)
“Don’t worry, captain”, McGarrity called back, gesturing to the man beside him. “I think this gentleman might have something a little more in line with your crew’s particular set of skills”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 6)
Both ships were close enough to be clearly seen in the pilot’s window. “Might be a good time to turn”, Reilly commented nervously.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 5)
Bullets bounced off the hood and sides of the truck as Gerrin sped toward the far end of the building. Wilkins, perched on her stomach in the bed, maneuvered a small 10-liter plastic barrel with a fuse in the end toward the lowered cargo gate in back of the bed. Pulling out a lighter, she lit the fuse as Gerrin, firing from the driver’s seat, suddenly swerved away from the building.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - # 8: Business as Usual (part 4)
Whump! - - -
Reilly fought to keep from uttering a sound as the fist of one of Reznor’s men struck him in the stomach again. Reilly raised his eyes toward his captor and sneered “Trying to torture me or tease me?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 3)
Jacko slowly withdrew his hand from the box, producing a cigar, his eyes never leaving Gerrin’s. Placing the cigar in his mouth, he reached down and picked up a small, gaudy-looking lighter, which he also made a show of displaying for his unwelcome visitors. Producing a flame under the cigar, he puffed several times. Finally satisfied, Jacko leaned back in his chair and remarked to Gerrin “You don’t take instructions well, do you?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 2)
He felt something that could have been an electro-mechanical door bolt just as he became aware of a growing hum beneath the deck plates: a ship’s engines starting up. Okay, Reilly thought, this could be a problem…

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 1)
Reilly struggled ferociously to break free. As he jerked and pulled against his attackers, he felt the sharp prick of a needle entering his neck. Reilly’s muscles began to feel numb and heavy. The hallway started to spin. Through a growing fog he could hear the contact admonish him loudly “It’ll only be worse if you fight it”. . . . . .

Reilly’s arms grew heavier. His eyes started to cloud over. "Tah mah duh hwoon dahn (Mother humping son of a bitch)", he slurred angrily. "Huogai daomei (You deserve whatever’s coming to you)”. . . . . . .

“It ain’t me”, the contact apologized. “It’s just good business”.