Impossibly Wide

“The Captain and I have drilled for this, so bobbing the Marcail is unlikable but not unplanned. Take a deep breath, please.”

It was hard not to do as she was told, so she did take a breath.

“You did this on purpose?”

“The hull is thicker and the raiders are now behind us. And you were in a harness.”

“Sorry.” The wind swirled Partly’s brown hair into her face, and she tucked it behind her ears.

“No matter. You’re still with us and you can help. I need to you reset the [brackets] so we don’t have to stay bobbed. You’ve seen that trapdoor in the galley?”

Partly nodded. She had an idea what he was going to say next.

“I love your smile.” But she was wrong. “Climb down the railing there to the step in the deck. You can now use that as a ledge to slide over to the galley window where you get in. Climb over to that trapdoor—it should be open already. If not, get it open. Sit on the door to latch the four [brackets] back in place. It doesn’t matter the order you do them, but I find it easier to do the bottom ones first. OK?”

What he’d just described sound impossible, Partly nodded anyway because it all made sense.

“I’ve got to go.” And he did. [Partly was alone.]

She aimed her face to the front to blow her hair back, then began climbing down the gunwale railing. At one gap where a bright blue plastic panel and a terracotta red metal one met she spied a raider air-bike keeping pace with the Marcail. Long coils of rope trailed back from the woman riding it. Partly continued down to the step-ledge.

At the step-ledge she hoped to see Captain Munro again, but the swinging rope ladder must have wound down, and, if she was still there, she hung out of view. Partly turned to face out from the gunwale clutching the stanchion behind her and inspecting the leap she’d have to make over to the galley window. When she was first moving around the Marcail, the walkway back to the pilothouse ladder had felt dangerously narrow. She expected to slip at any step and slide through the haphazard gunwale into the air and to the ground far below. Looking at it sideways like this—having to get from the outside to the inside—it now looked impossibly wide.

407 words on day 810