Winds of Aerathiea

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Chapter 19: Rebekah Wakes Up

Rebekah opened her eyes. The sun was beaming through the open window, making everything warm and heady, with almost a bouquet of tropical fruit, she heard what she thought was a macaw in the distance. Her vision was still blurry. A figure got up and was moving around her room. Her room?

“Mother?” It was the first thing Rebekah thought of. The figure chuckled.

“Hardly. Here, drink this.”

Shaking the cobwebs out of her head, Rebekah rose up bounced off the straps still holding her down and instantly regretted it. Finally coming into focus, Megan Pierce was holding a glass of liquid.

Rebekah released the straps and sat up a little slower. Her head began to spin again, but a little slower this time. The stars dancing in her vision, not so bright. Momentarily, they cleared

“What the hell happened?” She asked looking around, especially out the window.

“Doctor Weaver told me to ask you what you remember.”

“It’s fuzzy, but the last thing I think I remember is almost rolling off the bed and then being stuck to it as the ship spun around in a circle… then nothing.”

“Well that’s about all there is to it. I think we all lost consciousness at some point.”

“Where are we? What happened to the storm?” Rebekah worked her way through the queasiness. She stared out the open window. The air was humid but delightful. It reminded her of some tropical paradise her family had visited when she was very little. Singapore? Malaysia? Something like that.

“When we woke up, we were just here.” Megan looked her watch. It was an old windup model that her grandmother had given her when she was five. It was a Minnie Mouse watch and she wore it mostly for sentimental reasons. “It should be about 8:00 pm by my watch. Electricity is out all over the ship and Kyton says until we get some relays and junctions replaced, it’s probably going to stay out for now.

“Then I better start helping.” Rebekah tried to stand up and quickly sit back down.

“Drink this. Doctor Weaver said it would balance your electrolytes or something like that.”

Rebekah addressed the ceiling, “Jules, can you tell my father I am ok?”

“Beka, no one has seen your father, or Ethan, Zak or…Liam.” Megan looked truly heartbroken. “They may not have made it back… plus, no electricity equals no Jules.”

“But you don’t know that, do you? This is a huge ship.”

“Kyton says he has everyone that can be spared looking for them.

“We could very easily start listing and even capsize if Jules isn’t trimming the bladders. We might even lose integrity! I have to help! If there is no electricity, the bladders will begin to degrade!”

Megan replied. “I’m sure Kyton has people on that already, but I’m also sure they will appreciate the help. Just take it easy getting up.”

Suddenly Rebekah looked outside and then looked at Megan’s watch again with a puzzled expression, she said, “What time did you say it was?”

“About 8 pm, why?”

Rebekah opened the door further and stepped out onto the veranda into the bright noonday sunlight. “Then why is the sun directly overhead?” She looked down, “and why are we floating over a tropical rain forest? Where is the storm?”

She craned her head to look aft along the line of the ship, but she could see nothing but fluffy clouds in the bright sunlight. A winding river passed below them. It was hard to tell, but Rebekah felt they were about two thousand feet in the air, but being noon, she could not tell what direction they were heading. The jungle stretched out as far as the eye could see on this side of the ship.

“There is going to be a meeting in the main observation lounge in about an hour. Are you OK?”

“Yeah, I think I’m fine. I need something to eat. I’m going to head down to the mess hall first.”

“Nothing but fruit, veggies and cold cuts.”

“Better than starving.”

“Yeah, tell that to Marcus.” Megan stood up to leave.

Rebekah touched her hand. “Megan…. thanks!”

“Don’t mention it kiddo.” and with that, she walked away aft down the hall.

Rebekah called after her. “Where’s your flashlight?”

“Don’t know. It didn’t work and I just dropped it somewhere a couple of decks up. I couldn’t find it in the dark.”

“What do you mean, it didn’t work?”

“Nothing with batteries is working either. It’s like they were all drained or something.”

“OK, be careful, no telling what got shifted around.”

“You’re telling me?”

Rebekah surveyed the hallway and went back and picked up her tools and found the pry bar she kept there. She pried open the doors on either side of her cabin, just for the extra light. The light from the bright sun poured in through the openings. She walked towards the mess hall, stopping every once in a while to open doors and call out to see if anyone else was hurt or trapped.

The signs of damage were all around her as she walked. Anything that was not made of Aerolon was bent, broken, cracked or peeling. At least the structure of the ship held. That was a huge relief. She never felt prouder of her dad. Damn! He and Liam, and Ethan and Zak? Please be alright! She found herself outside Captain Grumm’s cabin.

The door was wide open. She stepped inside. He had the Presidential suite of course as the actual captain’s quarters had never been built. “Hello?” She called out. But no answer. She went into the adjoining bedroom. There was no one there. Rebekah thought to herself, someone must have moved the captain! I know Gus was supposed to bring him here after surgery to recuperate. Dear God, I hope he didn’t wake up, disoriented and walk out on his own? However, a second search still did not reveal any clue. No one had had a chance to stow the captain’s belongings so everything was in total disarray- like the entire room had literally been turned upside down and shaken.

Rebekah began it pick things up as best she could. In the corner was an old steamer trunk like one might have had on an old steamship a hundred years ago. Its lock had broken and it had toppled over and spilled its contents. Rebekah noticed the books and memorabilia were at least as old as the trunk. A faded picture was poking out from one of the books that she picked up. It was a very old picture of three men, one grizzly older man standing next to a couple of younger and more handsome but rugged men, all wearing arctic style clothing like the old explorers wore.

On the back, it said Nicholas Grumm (left), Jonathan Waite (middle), Neville ____ , Aerathiea Expedition #2, Aug 1897.

She couldn’t make out the last name of the third person. “Hmm,” she said thinking out loud, “I guess Aerathiea was the name of an expedition of some kind. Strange name. She did the mental calculations. “This must have been Artie’s great grandfather… and Liam’s great, great grandfather! I had no idea they went that far back!” She tucked the picture back into the book. Then the title of the book hit her as she started to place it back into the trunk.

Lost Civilizations and the Fools Who Found Them…? Hoaxes and Boondoggles from Atlantis to Shangri-La and all points in between

Rebekah didn’t know why, but the book intrigued her so she tucked it into her backpack to read later, vowing to return it as soon as she could. She had rarely seen a real book, and one so old fascinated her.

Rebekah continued to put things away. There were many other artifacts and trinkets from that era. She quickly surmised the contents belonged to Artie’s great grandfather and he was some kind of explorer. She found an award that was given to Nicholas by the British Historical Society and another one by President William McKinley. There were also newspaper clippings about the Arctic Expedition, some chronicling his achievements and other, not so kind. She finished picking up the contents of the trunk. She tried to upright it, but it was very heavy. I guess I’ll leave this for someone else… she thought to herself. With that, Rebekah left Captain Grumm’s quarters and made her way to the mess hall.

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