The Lost City of Faar | Chapter 13 of 37

Author: D.J. MacHale | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 29349 Views | Add a Review

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JOURNAL #6

CLORAL

Oh, man, I gotta apologize to you guys. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging like that. It’s just that things are happening fast now and I haven’t had many chances to write. That last journal was getting pretty long and I wanted to send it before something happened to it, or to me. I wasn’t thinking. Sorry.

I’m writing this new journal from a place where I finally feel safe. At least for now, anyway. I won’t tell you where it is yet because the events that led me here were pretty wild. I’d rather recount things as they happened and not jump ahead. It’s easier that way. But I’ll tease you a little by saying you’re not going to believe where I am. Now let’s get back to where I left you hanging.

When Magorran hit Grallion, I felt it rather than saw it. The impact sent a giant shockwave throughout the habitat that knocked most people off their feet, including me and Uncle Press. The habitat shuddered and shook and a horrible grinding sound filled the air as the two giant ships collided. I couldn’t see it, but I could imagine the destruction that was happening at the point of impact. I could only hope that it wouldn’t be so devastating as to send both habitats to the bottom.

Moments before the collision the aquaneers had thrown off most of the lines that secured Grallion, so that when the habitats hit, we would be pushed back instead of holding firm. If not for that move, there would have been way more damage. Also, the pilot of Grallion threw the engines into full reverse, which helped to soften the blow. Still, that wasn’t enough to avoid the crash. Even after the collision, Magorran kept coming. The big habitat was powerful and moving fast. It pushed Grallion across the surface of the ocean like a toy. A really big toy. The only way to stop it was to stop Magorran.

Once we realized we weren’t going to sink, Uncle Press helped me to my feet. There was a strong vibration from the force of the charging habitat and it was difficult to stand. Up till now I never even felt like I was on a ship. Now I felt like I was on the Titanic, and it was banging against the iceberg.

But there was one other thought that made me even more nervous. When something this huge and bad happened it could only mean one thing: Saint Dane was in the house. The look on Uncle Press’s face told me he was thinking the same thing. This accident was classic Saint Dane. I could almost hear the wheels turning in Uncle Press’s head as he calculated what the crash might mean to Grallion, to Cloral, to Halla, and to us. Finally he announced, “We’re on the wrong habitat.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

He wasn’t. Uncle Press took off running toward the impact point. This was insane. The safest place to be was far away from where the two habitats had collided. But being safe wasn’t usually high on Uncle Press’s To Do list. He was headed right for the most dangerous place on board, and I was right after him. We ran past several vators who were fleeing from the bow to a safer part of the habitat. There was a name for those guys. Smart. We weren’t being smart; we were headed toward disaster.

The closer we got to the bow, the more damage there was. The deck had buckled and split. I could look down through jagged tears and see below to the pipes and struts that held Grallion together. It got tricky dodging around these open fissures. One wrong step and we could have fallen a few stories into the guts of Grallion. It was like running over a rickety old footbridge where the bottom could fall out at any moment. Still, Uncle Press wouldn’t stop.

When we got near the bow, we saw the full extent of the devastation. Each of the two habitats were crushed where they impacted. It was a twisted mess of beams, girders, and decking. This no longer looked like a habitat. It looked like a vast, floating junkyard.

“Now what?” I asked.

Uncle Press pointed to several aquaneers who were leaping on board Magorran. They were led by Wu Yenza, the chief aquaneer. It was a daring jump because even though the decks of the two habitats were only a few feet apart, they were both still moving and grinding against each other.

“Follow them,” said Uncle Press, which was the last thing I wanted to hear. But he didn’t give me time to think. He ran to the edge of the deck, hesitated only a second, then leaped from Grallion onto Magorran.

“Let’s go, Bobby!” he yelled.

Imagine standing on an ice floe as it hurtled down a river and you had to jump onto another ice floe that was going just as fast. That’s pretty much what this felt like. The gap between the two decks was only a few feet, but it felt like a mile. I looked down. Big mistake. I could see through four stories down of twisted wreckage to the frothing white water. Falling would really, really hurt.

“It’s cake, Bobby!” shouted Uncle Press. “C’mon!”

Cake. Yeah, right. I inched as close as I could to the edge without getting dizzy. The deck lurched under my feet. This was definitely not cake! I waited until Grallion settled, took a breath—and jumped.

I cleared the chasm by a good five feet. Okay, maybe it was cake.

“Now what?” I asked, trying to sound as if I were more in control of myself than I really was.

“The pilot house,” answered Uncle Press. “Let’s find out who’s driving this bus.”

The pilot house where the habitat was controlled wasn’t far from which we boarded. Like the pilot house on Grallion, this was an enclosed structure where the pilot, the first mate, and a few other aquaneers would send the commands that controlled the habitat. Whatever the problem was with Magorran, the logical place to start looking for it was the pilot house.

We took off running, but it wasn’t any easier over here than it was on Grallion. This deck was torn up from the impact as well. The whole habitat shuddered and heaved as it bounced against Grallion. It was like trying to run across a minefield during an earthquake.

The goal was to stop Magorran. I feared that when we got to the pilot house, we’d find none other than Saint Dane standing at the wheel wearing an aquaneer uniform and an evil, leering smile. But that would have been too easy. Saint Dane may have been responsible for this, but he wouldn’t have done something as obvious as piloting the habitat himself. No, Saint Dane didn’t work that way. He was a manipulator. This was an epic disaster that was worthy of him, but the cause of it would be far more diabolical. This was only the beginning. It wasn’t just about two habitats colliding. There had to be something grander at stake. So as much as I feared seeing Saint Dane at the wheel, it was his overall scheme that I feared more.

Before we got to the pilot house, the habitat suddenly stopped shuddering. The aquaneers who boarded ahead of us must have reached the controls and shut down the engines. There was a strange calm. The horrible cracking sound of the two habitats grinding against each other stopped. The drone of the engines stopped. The rush of the water crashing between the two wrecked habitats stopped. The aquaneers must have slowed Magorran because after one last loud, twisting crunch, I saw Grallion pull away. The two habitats were once again separate.

As Grallion drifted away, I saw the extent of the damage, and it was pretty nasty. The entire bow end of the farm barge looked like a car after a head-on collision. Decking was bent and cracked. Geysers of water shot from burst pipes. Pieces of beams and struts floated in the water. The dock area was destroyed along with most of the small boats that were kept there. In a word, it was mangled. I’m sure that Magorran looked the same, though I couldn’t tell because I was standing on it. The big question now was, why had the aquaneers on Magorran lost control? If our aquaneers could stop it so easily, what prevented the Magorran crew from doing the same?

Uncle Press and I reached the pilot house that was about a hundred yards back from the damaged bow. I was glad to see the collision hadn’t destroyed it. It was a solid structure that was probably built that way in case something hairy like this happened. This was the first good news we saw. Magorran could still be controlled from here. The question was, why did it go out of control in the first place? The moment we opened the door, we had the answer. There were two aquaneers from Grallion at the controls. Yenza was at the wheel, the other worked the array of toggle switches for the many water-powered engines that controlled the habitat.

The aquaneer crew from Magorran was there as well. There was the pilot, the first mate, and three other aquaneers. I recognized their rank because they wore the same uniforms as the crew from Grallion. But there was one big difference between this crew and our crew.

These guys were all dead.

It was a creepy scene for obvious reasons, but it was made all the more so because the crew looked so . . . natural. It wasn’t like there was a violent fight or anything. Just the opposite. The pilot sat in his chair, still looking forward with sightless eyes. The first mate was hunched over a map with a pen still in his hand as if he were in the middle of plotting a course, probably to rendezvous with Grallion. The other aquaneers were sitting on the deck near their stations as if they had simply fallen asleep. But these guys were definitely not asleep. Their eyes were wide open. There was something else. Uncle Press saw it first and pointed it out to me. Each of the poor dead aquaneers had a trace of something on the corners of their mouths. It was dry now, but it looked to have been a trickle of green liquid that had dribbled out of the corners of their mouths and crusted there.

They were dead all right. The mystery of the collision was solved. These guys died at their posts under full power. But the idea of five guys suddenly dying was tough to comprehend. It was then that I was hit with a thought that was even more horrific than the sight in front of me. It was like an alarm rang in my head. I reached out to Uncle Press, grabbed his sleeve and pulled him out of the pilot house.

“This wasn’t a sudden crash,” I croaked out through my dry mouth. “I mean, we saw it coming, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“So if we saw it coming, how come nobody else on board Magorran did?”

Before I got all the words out, I saw in Uncle Press’s face that he knew exactly where I was going with this. The crash happened because the pilot and his crew were dead. But somebody else on Magorran should have seen the crash coming and tried to stop it. That is, if anybody else on Magorran were alive to see it. The horrible realization hit Uncle Press just as it hit me. If nobody else tried to stop the crash, did that mean more people were dead? We both did a quick scan around and saw the same thing—nothing. There was no movement. No life. The sickening truth was setting in. There was a very good chance that everybody on Magorran had met the same fate as its crew.

This may have become a ship of the dead.

I turned away from Uncle Press and puked.

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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