Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
Location: Peacock's quarters
Herring Finn left the captain with slightly higher spirits than when they had arrived on the train, which was not saying a great deal. The elphin approached the Chief Engineer. He hadn't really discussed his broken arm with Brem since they stormed the Church of the Machine.
"Brem," he began, "I don't know if you heard but the captain just made me Master Gunner and she wants me to go and find us more weapons. I could really use another arm," he slapped his empty shoulder with his remaining mechanical arm, "is there any chance you might be able to find some kind of workshop on this whale of a train and rig something up?"
Brem gave Herring one of his rare grins. "I was already working on something," he said as he tapped the side of his bald head. "Up here." He picked up a piece of paper and started drawing schematics, freehand and not too neatly.
"Now, I have studied how you use your arms," he said. "Professinal interested, one could say. I can recreate something that would work as well." He looked almost wistfully at Finn's remaining arm. "I'll never get it as good as that one though."
Finn's face fell a little. "Then do what you can," he said.
Brem frowned. "I need... something to start with," he said. "I wish we had saved your arm, rather than throwing it away."
The two men stood silently for a while. At that moment the first matewalked in, carrying an object covered in cloth. It was about the length of a leg. Brem spied a golden toe sticking out at one end. He quickly added some facts together; Bridget Perry's lost leg, taken by the captain ...
Herring's maths was a little behind the Chief Engineer's but he soon picked up Brem's chain of thought from his expressions and the way his calculating eyes kept darted from the captain to himself.
"Oh no!" he told Brem, "you're bloody well not strapping a little rich girl's leg to my shoulder!"
Brem gave an evil and amused grin, as he watched where Faizel was going. It should not be too difficult to suss out where he'd hide it. Everyone except the Perrys knew the captain had the leg, and there weren't many places to hide things.
"Finn," he said in a low voice. "It's the leg or be one-armed for the journey."
"The captain won't mind," Brem added, reassuring Finn. Of course the captain would mind. But Daenelia was also easily distracted and if presented with a master gunner who had two arms again, in a way, she'd soon be over the loss of the leg. Besides, loot was to be shared, she always claimed. It was just a matter of taking the leg and making use of it.
"The captain's opinion wasn't my primary concern," Finn muttered sarcastically. "Show me what you have in mind," he added in an attempt to be reasonable. Brem was probably right, this was likely to be his best chance at getting a replacement limb in their current circumstances, but he didn't have to be happy about it.
Brem produced a piece of paper and rapidly started sketching out a rudimentaty plan based on what he knew about the leg. Bridget had not let him near it, but after the captain 'aquired' it, Brem had been able to spend some time studying the springs, coils and parts. He quickly switched to cog-speak, the language engineers use and that no one else understands properly. Finn started to frown and was getting bored, but the sketch showed him it would not look too strange. As far as he understood, he'd had an arm, with strength and dexterity, but without a fully funntional hand. In fact, Brem insisted he needed to keep the booted end of the leg.
Just as Finn wanted to give his opinion when Brem asked him, a knock on the door announced a visitor. Almost every pirate drew some sort of weapon...