Shot to the Truth
Deryn sprinted down the corridor, grabbing the gut hatch and peeked out about what the commotion was. What she saw totally blew her mind.
"Barking spiders," Deryn mumbled in awe as she saw a clanker machine swoop overhead and shoot a row of bullets into the whale's spine. Deryn dropped down the hatch as the aeroplane zoomed overhead almost beheading her.
"Barking persistent are they! Once on the glacier and now on the border of China? What are the clankers now; watchdogs?" Deryn exclaimed, checking first to see if the aeroplane was gone, then pulling herself out onto the spine. She whistled with the scene that met her eyes; there were huge masses of dead bodies strewn all over the Leviathan, both beastie and human. The sight brought tears to Deryn's eyes to see the airship so helpless with the clankers swooping again and again destroying more and more of it each time.
"Bum-rags!" Deryn shouted at them tears springing up in her eyes to see the clankers so intent about destroying the Leviathan without a second thought. Now Mr. Sharp no dawdling! her mind mumbled at her and Deryn sighed remembering that she was no medic and that shouting at the clankers wouldn't change anything. What she really needed to do is to get to the bow and see if there were any fléchette bats left, she was already very late for her duty. Deryn raced along the spine to the bow, and saw that Newkirk and Rigby were one step ahead of her tossing the feed to the leftover beasties.
"Mr. Sharp! Where were you, soldier? We've already thrown out the feed once without you. Explain yourself!" barked Mr. Rigby.
Deryn scowled and spit out, "Tending to the clankers, sir. They wanted a little talk with me, captain's orders after all!"
Mr. Rigby raised an eyebrow and asked curiously, "What did they want?"
Deryn glared at Mr. Rigby and replied, "None of your buissness, sir. Just a little talk is all it was." And grabbed a bag of flétchettes and started tossing them out at the bats. Mr. Rigby shrugged and threw out some more shrapnel's out to the bats. After a while a searchlight swept out calling the bats to its light, trying to gather the leftover beasties together.
"Duck!" shouted Newkirk as an aeroplane passed close overhead firing bullets everywhere over the rippling membrane.
"Maybe he isn't such a sod after all," thought Deryn as she dropped onto the beasties spine as the aeroplane continued to shoot its bullets. Suddenly, Deryn felt sharp pain explode in her side.
"I'm hit," thought Deryn as she lay on the membrane grinding her teeth with pain from the bullet that hit her side. Her mind slipped in and out of consciousness as Deryn fought against the pain trying to rise as soon as the bullets petered off but collapsing with the pain the bullet caused.
"Mr. Sharp, are you fine?" Mr. Newkirk's voice asked worriedly.
"No, obviously I'm not, but I'm not going to let Newkirk see me as a ninny. I'm not that hurt," Her mind spoke and Deryn rose with her teeth set against the pain and replied, "As fine as I'll ever be, Mr. Newkirk."
"Oh, and for a second I thought you were just dawdling down there, you ninny," laughed Newkirk. Deryn gave a wry smile and grimaced from a new wave of pain that coursed through her side. Her vision swam from time to time but other than that she could walk.
"Mr. Sharp, I'm glad to see you're fine. Now clip on and let's see if there are any bats left in the lower caves," Mr. Rigby's voice stated, and Deryn saw his body swimming into view with the clip outstretched, waiting for her to clip on.
"Aye, very much obliged to, sir," Deryn mumbled and clipped on walking along a bit lightheaded. Suddenly the Leviathan gave a violent lurch to the starboard side and Deryn stumbled about almost giving out if not for Newkirk's arm.
"Mr. Sharp, are you really fine?" Newkirk worried, "You look as pale as a ghost!" The bullet wound gave another throb and she felt dizziness set in but Deryn wasn't going to give up that easily. She heaved herself back on her feet, staggered a bit, but gained her footing.
"Just a wee bit airsick, Mr. Newkirk, but other than that, never better," Deryn mumbled to the bum-rag whispering to herself that there would be revenge for that later.
"Airsick? You, Mr. Sharp? First time I ever heard you get-" but the rest of Newkirk's retort was lost as the ship lurched even more this time and both lost their footing, flying off the Leviathan. The last thing Deryn remembered was that she was falling, falling, falling into nothingness.
END OF CHAPTER 2