Perks of Collecting Scraps
Vale hit the ground and rolled, ignoring a loud crack that came from her injured leg. She stumbled to her feet to find the AI several feet away, its body shaking as it tried to crawl towards her. Sparks flew out of it angrily.
One engine had stalled, flames and smoke emanating from it. Sky stood a foot away, working on the second engine.
Vale looked down at her metal arm. Blood trickled down from the large rip in her skin making the metal slick as crimson streaks gave it a deadly sheen. The AI growled as it swiped towards her. Vale shoved her sword arm into the AI’s metal hand, pinning it into the ground. She sucked in a painful breath as the AI tried to free its hand. Soaking in the electrical sparks, Vale watched as the AI’s strength began to fade as she drained the electricity from its body.
She screamed, her knees buckling under the pain of the electricity that ripped over her arm and wrapped around her. But she continued until the AI went still.
Vale collapsed, exhausted. Her whole body ached. She felt two strong arms turn her over. Vale’s eyes flickered open and she found two twin oceans, looking down at her. Sky cupped her face, his eyes full of concern.
“Did you... are the engines...” Her mouth was dry, her voice horse from screaming. Sky nodded fiercely. His fingers shook as he ran his fingers gently down her cheeks. “I’m okay Sky,” she whispered.
He looked down at her, his mouth in a hard line, clearly not believing. Vale moved to get up, but stopped when several parts of her body protested. Her metal arm too heavy, her injured leg screaming in pain. She smiled, doing her best not to look completely helpless. “I may need a little help,” she admitted.
Sky picked her up in his arms, cradling her against his chest. He moved to a ladder and motioned for her to climb onto his back. Vale forced her arm and leg to cooperate as she wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
Sky began to climb. Vale had to force herself to keep her eyes open, to stay focused as he moved. She could feel her mind growing fuzzy. They climbed until they reached the duct. Vale climbed off his back and onto a platform right below it. Can you move through the duct by yourself?
Vale nodded but was betrayed when her legs buckled under her. Sky swooped her up in his arms and sat her down gently on the platform. Sky scrambled through his bag and began to put several pieces together. He wrapped a wire around Vale’s waist and put the other end around his. Placing a small sheet of metal with gears at each corner into the duct, Sky climbed up and pulled Vale in after him, placing her on the grate. “What is this?”
A pully. Perks of always collecting scraps. Lay down. Vale collapsed onto the pully and felt herself being tugged through the duct. Her eyes fluttered closed and soon, she floated into unconsciousness.
Vale woke with a start as she felt someone shake her. Sky sat above her, his eyes serious, finger to his lips. She slowly sat up and found herself sitting at the edge of the duct. He motioned to something she couldn’t see above. Vale slowly leaned her head out to find dozens of AI’s pacing along small decks between them and the main deck where their skymaran waited.
Can you move? Sky asked.
Vale took in several deep breaths thinking. “Yes. I won’t be able to climb the whole way. I have an idea. But I need you to make something for me.”