(continued from above)
High above Dag, Muckles was fashioning a length of fabric threads torn from the hem of her dress, which she still wore under the poncho. "Ah just
wanna get to my man quicker 'sall, it ain't that Ah wanna desert her," she grumbled. "But there's enough of us, cain't we send someone to him while
we're waitin'? Cecilia'd be back afore the … flush."
"No, we can't," said Ben. "We’re stayin' right here until this is done." Wild had estimated that the winding chute was probably 35 to 40 meters
long, and said there were five grated valves. "Is there some sorta clay, or something we can wrap 'round it so it don't bust?" Ben asked her.
"It shouldn't bust," said Wild, "it's shatterproof. Any wrapping would make it too fat to get through the grates. It'll be hard enough fishing it
through the grates. Yes, that looks long enough." She took the shredded fabric rope from Muckles and tested the knots. "If they hold, they'll get
it to her. If we just drop it, it might never make it down."
The process was tedious. Dag could hear the tinging and pinging, a bit of scraping and some cursing as the earcom was lowered down the spiral chute.
Accompanying these rhythmic sounds were occasional harrumphs and growls, twice someone said, "Here, let me try," but mostly there were pauses. An
hour and fifteen minutes had passed by the time she saw the earcom, dancing at the end of a red and blue rag rope emerge from aloft.
"I see it now!" she called up. "It's clear of the chute!" She sounded cheerful, but of course no one could see her rubbing her neck, which was
screaming with pain from looking up for too long.
"How much more you need fer it to reach ya?" Ben called down.
"I'd say, ten meters," said Dag. Above she heard, "Crap," and then there was more silence as Muckles ripped off yet another four circumferences of
fabric from her hem. Slowly, painfully slowly, the earcom dangled above Dag in fits and starts, until finally she could reach up and almost touch it.
The problem now was that it was in the dead center of the chamber, and she was standing on the edge, perched above the water. She'd have to wade
through the steaming, caustic liquid to get to it. "Can you swing it a little? I'm over to the side," she called up. She saw it shiver a bit.
"Zat good?" called Ben.
"No, I'll have to walk – er, hop on one foot -- into the, uh, the surf here, to get it," called Dag, and before Wild could shout "Wait!" she had
done so. The water was above the sole of her boot, and the sturdy material of which it was made began to disintegrate, but Dag didn't notice that,
she was too focused on the earcom and its insertion.
"Adam?" she said. She heard crackling, and silence, and then "—ag?! buzz buzz
me, lass?!" She smiled. "Yes, I can hear you somewhat," she
said. "It's good, too."
"I miss ---" he said. "We ----- a perilous ad ------- this aft--------, tho--- beams, I buzz buzz
Wild who was firing --------- started to
---- the Fighter. We were ---- that Fighter, Dag, buzz
---- says it was you who detou--------thank ------ bye."
"What?" Dag chuckled. "I only got part of that, Adam. But I miss you, too. Do you want to hear about my leg?"
---- leg, --- toxic ----" and then the signal was gone. Dag shouted up, "I can't hear him! There's too much static!" A few seconds
later, there was a high-pitched feedback whine, and then Adam's voice was loud and clear in her ear. "Wait, what were you saying?" she said. "Can you
hear me now?"
"Aye, now I hear ye, lass, my own love. Dag, I want ye should know how much ye mean to me."
"Yes? Now? Why, what's happened? Are you safe?"
"Aye, we're safe, all safe. The droids and the Fighter didna make it, but every beating heart got back to Ship. Thanks for what you did."
"You mean stealing Sslar? Or failing to stop the beam-shots?" Dag laughed. In her mind the epic had not gone so well. "Or falling into a trap
because I'm too brash and move too fast for my own good?"
She heard a smile in Adam's voice. "All of it," he said, in barely more than a whisper. She heard him gulp. "I'll never forget a minute of it.
"Adam? Why do you – what's wrong? Have you been drinking?" Dag asked kindly. "We'll be back on Ship soon, possibly tomorrow, and then we can have
a fresh look at things. We were just going to drop off Sslar, and come right back. You and I can pick up where we left off. We'll rebuild." There
was a long pause again. "Adam?"
"They didna tell you, then?"
"Tell me what?" she asked, and the smile fled from her face. "What?! What's happened? What's wrong? Is it neno? BIAD and Tibbs? Are they
"I don't know," said Adam, "but I think so. Margo says they're all three off the Starwolf. Muckles can see where they are, and there's been no sign
so far of struggle for Tibbs. BIAD is with them as far as we know, but Mutt just took off toward the planet. I'm not sure who's in it, but its
coordinates are set for the Starwolf. Oh, Dag," he then cried, "I canna believe this! Those girls! Moriah lied, and then we were under fire!! Ye
shouldna gone after the beam source, Dag! Ye shouldna
"Adam, I'm not dead," said Dag, "I'm just stuck in a drainage system. I have to wait for the main flush, and then I'll be out of here." Suddenly she
felt a shooting pain in her foot and looked down. The water had risen, and now the layers of her boot were eaten away to a bare film. She screamed.
"Adam! My boot!" Adam then heard some scuffling noises, a splash, and Dag's voice now coming from a distance. "Adam! Can you still hear me? I've
lost the earcom, the water splash
– Oh!! It's melting my AaAARRGGHHH!! No!! Aahyyy---" and a deafening roaring sound ensued.
"Oh my Creator, no," gasped Adam, his face white as a ghost. "They didna tell her." He sat shocked-still, alone in the security unit, and hot tears
stung his cheeks. He could only imagine – wish – that it was he being boiled alive and not his beloved Dag as he listened to the sounds of
underwater turbulence. He closed his eyes. "I
didna tell her. Oh Dag, oh, I'll always love ye, lass," he whispered to himself and the air.
"Always. Only you, my lovely Dag, until we meet again."
As he let the radio fall from his hand, Adam felt his heart break.
edit on 22-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)
edit on 22-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)