Ch.2 Fall of Kar'm- Part 3

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"Sir, you need to go," the guard said as she arrived at the door.

Abeland glanced over at her. He was hunched over an engine that was resting on the worktable, under it a sea of papers. "Still in Kar'm uniform I see."

"Yes. The bombardments are only getting worse," the guard replied.

"I can see that, or more accurately, feel it." Abeland pointed with one of the fine tools in his hands at a chunk of the ceiling on the floor. "I'm nearly done. I have to make sure that the chemical controls here are ready for transport." He sighed and slipped the tools into his pocket. "Can you cut up some of this tarp? We need to wrap this engine so that it can properly endure the journey back to our airship factory. It's the missing piece."

"Really?"

Abeland smiled and nodded. A young voice from the hallway caught his attention. "We're not leaving without that," he pointed at the dimly-lit, metal-headed horse statue in the corner. "There's a pull-switch in the mouth that will start its engine. The reins control the direction, the pedals control the throttle."

"Sir?"

Stepping out of the room, Abeland focused on the yellow-hooded girl running from room to room, panic painted all over her face.

"Christina!" the girl yelled.

"You're the one-armed, yellow-hooded girl. Christina's little protégé."

She froze and stared at him. "I'm Mounira."

"Can I help you? I'm a friend of Christina's."

"I don't recognize you, which means that you're not from Kar'm. And that means you're with them."

"Recognizing me doesn't seem to be your problem," Abeland said raising his eyebrows and softening his expression. "I'm not here to harm you. What's going on?"

Mounira lowered her gaze. "I can't find Christina. She's not outside. I've looked everywhere."

"Maybe she got out another way."

"My gut's telling me that she's still here," Mounira said.

The two of them lurched from side to side as a series of explosions went off nearby.

Looking over at the guard as he sliced through the tarp with a dagger, Abeland bobbed his head back and forth as he weighed the issues at hand. "Are you absolutely sure? Have...," he stared at Mounira, his heart sinking, "have you looked on the lower level?"

Mounira frowned. "Why would I look there?"

Abeland grabbed the doorframe.

Before he could say a word, the guard spoke. "I've got this, sir. We'll meet you outside where we rendez-voused earlier."

"Don't be late," Abeland said. "And don't let anyone touch this stuff. Even if you know they're on our side, I'd rather you put a bullet in them."

The guard nodded.

"Why would I look there?" repeated Mounira angrily, pulling on Abeland's arm.

He looked at her, swallowing hard. "Because that's where she was going the last time I saw her several minutes ago."

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