It took Ch’Voga a moment to realize what woke him. He climbed out of his hammock and went up on deck. Moving from utter darkness to full daylight disoriented him. He took a moment on the ladder to put on his goggles. A bulbous shadow fell upon him.
“Good morning, Mr. Dunbar,” he greeted the boat’s machine-man first mate.
“Afternoon Laddie.” Ch’Voga didn’t know the man well enough to know if this was a greeting or a correction.
“May I ask why or would that be a stupid question?”
“Depends on who yer askin’. Yer askin’ me, then aye, tis stupid. Yer askin’ the metal monster over there, might be a bit more apposite.”
Ch’Voga climbed up on the deck to see what a man who was more iron than man would refer to as a ‘metal monster.’
On a rocky outcropping stood a four-legged machine nearly the same size as the catamaran. Ch’Voga was no expert but judging by the holes of various size it had facing them, he surmised it to be a military vehicle of some sort.
“Where is the Captain?”
“Out there which yer matey, gettin’ yer answer.” The first mate left him then to his own devices. He was back again when Kurga and Captain Jacques returned. “What’s the word, Cap’n?”
“We follow the Legionnaire.”
“Right, dump our extra baggage and go back fer Captain Prudy.”
“Non, mon ami. Prudence… n'a plus besoin de notre aide.”
“Is something wrong?” Ch’Voga asked. Kurga would not meet his eye. Jacques came close.
“You .. étiez engagé…were betrothed to Prudence once, c’est exact?”
“We were arranged to be married, yes,” he whispered.
“Did she have family?” Ch’Voga shook his head. “This Legionnaire, he found Prudy’s boat. Les buveurs, the Monotooth, they… He found this. Perhaps it is best if you have it.” He placed Prudence’s gold arm cuff in Ch’Voga’s trembling hands and went to help his crew.