Through the Lock

The last time we saw our vivaciously bearded heroes, the Inventor put his new mechanical exoskeleton to good use, repairing the Mystic Wave’s main mast after it was damaged by the giant eel in that skirmish. With the help of the rest of the other heroes, the Inventor was able to fuse the remaining stump with the bottom of the broken mast just before they were sucked into the first uprising’s loch…


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The Mystic Wave crashes through the waters of the rushing loch, being drug further and further into the waters far beyond the waters of its world. Captain Crimson stands resolute at the captain’s wheel, spinning the wheel back-and-forth rapidly, fighting the strong current bent on pulling the ship to and fro, a manic look in his eyes


The Inventor’s mech digs its “spurs” into the deck, and grabs hold of the mast with its grips. The other crew members find whatever solid object they can. 


Intermittent fingers of rocks rise out of the rushing water, totems of stone intent on harming the Wave. The Barkeep grabs hold of the railing wondering if there would be any period of calm on the calamitous voyage. The Scribe sits with his back to the mast, holding onto one of the mast lines. The Marksman, ever-balanced, stands boldly looking out over the prow. The Mystic Wave crashes into one of the shorter of the rocky up-shoots, the heavily armored prow of the ship crushing the rock as the ship’s momentum carries itself steady on. 


“I armored the prow for situations such as this,” brags the Inventor as the ship slams into another stalagmitous rock, “but I wouldn’t recommend intentionally hitting them,” he adds nervously as larger towers of stone jut out of the water.


“Aye Inventor, I not mean to be slammin’ into these formations,” barks Crimson back, “But the ship is too big. I’d be side-swiping those big ones if I weren’t hitting the little ones.”


Up ahead, a wall of large rocks stands menacingly, blocking the progress of the Mystic Wave. The Gunslinger, seeing a crevasse in the rock larger than the others (about the size of a longboat) through which the majority of the water flowed through, grabs a line on the main mast and begins climbing, setting his boots to the mast. The Gunslinger quickly ascends to the crow’s nest, setting his bionic eye upon the impending obstacle.


“Load the big ‘un,” called the Gunslinger, “Scribe, help the Marksman and Hero aim that thang at left-of-center towards the larger split! Captain keep your course. Barkeep and Distiller, keep them rounds a-comin.’” 


“Aye I like the way you think ‘slinger,” replies Crimson, catching on to the Gunslinger’s plan.


The heroes scramble across the deck, rushing to help clear the path for the Mystic Wave. The Barkeep and the Distiller together carry the load for the foregun. The projectile weighed heavy on the pair like a giant cone-shaped piece of marble. The projectile was about three to four feet in length, with a twisting pattern on the base of the bullet. This helps aid in accuracy, as the twists match the barrel’s rifling.


“Scribe, rotate the gun 35 degrees to the right, and raise the barrel about 10 degrees,” commands the Gunslinger, his bionic eye predicting the trajectory of the foregun’s projectiles. 


The Scribe, familiar with mathematical concepts, quickly estimates the directional changes and coaches the Marksman and the Hero, who are spinning the controls of the foregun. 


“Hero, spin your wheel about 3 and a quarter turns. Marksman four full spins” mutters the Scribe. The Marksman and Hero feverishly obey the Scribe’s instruction, cognizant of the approaching stone wall. 


“FIRE!” hollers the Gunslinger and the command is echoed by Captain Crimson and the Scribe. 


The gun fires, echoing a mighty blast through the loch, the sound bouncing back and forth between the walls, deafening the crew. The bullet, however, flew straight and true smashing into the rock wall, collapsing a significant portion, however, a majority


“We’ll need a little more room than that,” yells Crimson, angling the ship towards another one of the rocky up-shoots.”


The Barkeep and the Distiller, scramble back into the hold to grab another projectile, stumbling at the prow of the ship crashes through several smaller rocks as the ship speeds ahead.


“Wait, I have an idea!” cries the Inventor as he climbs out of his exoskeleton and runs after them.


“Could you hold ‘er a little more steady, I’m tryin’ to aim up here,” yells the Gunslinger.


Captain Crimson rolls his eyes and mutters under his breath, continuing to wrestle the ship’s wildly spinning wheel. The Marksman and Hero struggle to maintain their footing.


“Thank youuuu,” hollers the Gunslinger, “Scribe, work the gun around to 2:00 and put it at uhhhhh 4-degree vertical angle.”


The Scribe quickly begins disseminating instructions to the Marksman and Hero. The wall of rock up-shoots quickly approaches.


The Inventor, Barkeep, and Distiller reemerge from the hold, carrying another shell this time with a red-tipped projectile. They quickly load the round. After the gun is loaded, the Gunslinger makes a few final calculations. This would be their last chance or the Wave would crash into the jagged rock that remained. The wall was now only maybe 50 yards away.


“Hurry men, we still need room to fire the gun,” advises the Investor, “Firing at point-blank range could be disastrous for the ship!”


The Gunslinger makes his final calculation, whispers a prayer, and yells…


 “FIRE”


This time there were no echos of the command, just the Scribe pressing the button which releases the firing pin, which slams into the primer, which ignites the charge, pushing the projectile through the barrel and spiraling through the air.


As the projectile makes contact with the rocky wall, the shell explodes with an ear-splitting concussion. The Mystic Wave is pushed backward by the explosion. A massive avalanche of rock crashes into the water as the rock wall collapses into the water. The loch now rushes forward, unfettered by the restricting rock wall now scattered along the banks of the loch. 


“Raise the paddlewheel!” cheers Captain Crimson, cognizant that the loch could be slightly more shallow with the sunken rocks.


The Mystic Wave gently continues down the loch into a sea as smooth as glass...

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