Google+ The Bluestocking Firefly: On board the Waratah
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Monday, September 19, 2011

On board the Waratah

Links to the rest of this story may be found here.


Fifty metres into the ship, the passageway split in three and the party came to a halt as Amy consulted her notes.

“We entered the
Waratah at her stern, on the central deck,” she said. Pointing left without looking up, she continued, “Crew quarters are portside — all five decks, more or less. Straight on and down one deck is the engine room. The flight deck is below the engine room. Two decks above us is the bridge deck.” She squinted through her visor at the rough map of the ship, trying to read through a smudge. “Looks like the medical bay and the labs are starboard. On this deck is medical, the mess, the gym…” She lowered the notepad and looked at Grayson. “Where do you fancy starting?”

“I want to take a crack at those engines,” Taz said, rubbing his hands together. “This beaut’s got streamlined engines and I want to see how they’ve run the leaders from the engine room up to her nacelles. They’re half the size of our engines but the
Waratah's twice the size of the Sophia. Either this ship was a slow-ass tugboat, or those babes packed some serious punch.” He looked pleadingly at his captain.

“Get out of here,” Grayson said. “Benji, go with him.”

Taz grinned. “Straight on and down one deck, Doc? Great. Call you if we need anything.” He clapped Amy on the shoulder so hard she was knocked off-balance and strode off down the passageway, Benji trotting behind.

“Don’t turn anything on!” Grayson shouted, muttering as he turned back to Amy, “You might blow us all up.”

She gave him a mischievous smile. “Got the spooks, Grayson?”

“Hate empty ships,” he replied. “This one’s about as empty as I’ve ever seen.”

Amy shrugged. “She’s just a ship. She can’t help it if her crew left.”

“About that — what did happen to the crew of the
Waratah?”

“The records aren’t very clear about that. Did you want to go to the bridge deck, medical, the flight deck…?”

He stood at the cross-section, hands on his hips, and turned in a circle. “Eh,” he said at last. “I’m itching to get my hands on whatever’s down on the flight deck, but it’ll wait.”

“Straight on and up, then,” Amy said, tucking her notepad back into its pocket.

Blue and orange plaques on the bulkheads pointed them down a passageway that dead-ended at a pair of doors labelled ‘Bridge Access’. Grayson stabbed the glowing blue button beside the doors and visibly jumped when they hissed to the side. Amy giggled.

“This is nice,” she said, stepping inside.

“What is it?” Grayson asked suspiciously, still standing in the corridor.

“It’s a lift, Grayson,” she replied, giving him a look. “Get in. It won’t bite.”

He stepped gingerly over the threshold, moving quickly inside as Amy pushed another button to close the doors. “It might fall.”

“Yes, and you might fall off a ladder.” She frowned at him, pressed flat against the bulkhead opposite. “I’d have thought that you’d be fascinated. No one’s been able to duplicate this kind of lift technology since the Empire fell. All we’ve got are those damned pulley-system rattle-boxes, and you won’t see me getting in one of those.” She turned her attention to the panel by the door, adding over her shoulder, “I’d rather hitch a ride in a hopper to the top floor of the Commissionate than risk a rattle-box.” She flicked a switch and stumbled backwards as the lift hummed to life, the bulkheads glowing blue.

Welcome to the ERV Waratah,” said a pleasant, disembodied male voice.

“What the hell is that?” Grayson demanded.

This is Welcome Programme November One. We regret a personal representative of the crew was unable to greet you upon your arrival. We hope that this does not inconvenience your stay upon the Waratah. Upon arrival upon the bridge, your party will be greeted by Captain Alexander. Should you require assistance before this time or later during your stay, this programme may be reactivated by keying WPN1 at any of the access panels located conveniently throughout the ship. We welcome you again to the ERV Waratah, and hope that your stay is both an informative and a restful one.

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