|Nathan Zachary and the Mechanic's Mission
Author: Nathaniel Keys PM
In Arixo, can Nathan Zachary and Phred win over a mechanic for the Pandora and make a profit? Or will the corpses of their fallen aircaft rust in the dust of the cruel desert? Find out in the sequel to Nathan Zachary and the Panicky PencilNeck.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Words: 1,005 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-19-06 - id: 3113522
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Nathan Zachary stepped out of the autogyro, a Ford Hoplite named "Minx", onto the weed covered ground. Anyone who said Arixo was barren was only partially correct. Some places were truly desert, especially the area that used to be Arizona, but here near the Rio Grande the high desert was somewhat green. In fact the only area Nathan could see that was truly devoid of weeds and grasses was the space inside the fences around the main hanger. The overgrown runway showed evidence that it had had little use for some time. Either the mechanic who owned this joint was all thumbs or there was a more sinister reason no one used this place.
As Phred Shnook stepped out of the autogyro, he tripped and fell flat on his face in the dirt. Nathan sighed went over to pick him up. Phred dusted himself off and Nathan chuckled.
"I suppose that's one ways to accustom yourself to a new environment."
Angered from this mockery Phred did what he usually would when crossed. He said nothing as he swallowed his sour tasting dignity.
Nathan pointed to the open hanger and the two set off toward it. The sound of a ratchet and some occasional grunting came from underneath a brown PR-1 Defender
"Anyone home?" Nathan asked.
From under the plane a baritone in a dialect Nathan couldn't quite place called out in a monotone, " Yeah. Just a second."
The ratcheting stopped and the mechanic slid out from the plane on the other side. He wiped his face with a rag, which did little to clean it. He was about as tall as Phred, but had broader shoulders and a slight gut, but his face appeared healthy.
"What can I do for…Nathan Zachary!" he laughed and hurried around the plane to greet them.
The mechanic extended his hand and shook Nathan's firmly. Nathan returned the shake and while patting the mechanic on the back turned to Phred.
"Phred, I would like to introduce you to Lenny Zevahk, a former Fortune Hunter gone legit." Nathan looked around the hanger and laughed, "At least it looks like it."
Lenny laughed back, "Yeah, if I was a smuggler I could afford a better jig than this."
Lenny extended his hand to Phred, who took it.
"Pleasure to meet you Mr…"
"Shnook. Phred Shnook."
"Please excuse me for asking, but what do you do? You don't…uh…look…"
"Like a pirate?" asked Nathan.
"Well," said Lenny, "Yes." He scratched his head. "No offence."
"Am I offended?" wondered Phred. Did he have a secret desire to be considered a pirate?
Phred smiled weakly. "None taken", he replied.
"So what do you do?"
"I write stories for Amazing Aero Adventures."
"The comic books? Gee wiz, isn't that just the bee's knees?"
Nathan chuckled, "Well 'Gee wiz' is better than being shot at, right Phred?"
"Well Mr. Shnook," said Lenny, "you'll get plenty of material flying with the Fortune Hunters." He turned back to Nathan. "Which reminds me," Lenny said, " How can I help you?"
"I need a mechanic," said Nathan
"Oh sure thing Nathan. Just bring the plane in and I'll fix it, no charge." Lenny turned to his tool chest. "It might take a couple days.."
"The Pandora needs a mechanic."
Lenny froze for a second. His head dropped and he spoke in a low, sorrowful voice.
"You know I can't Nathan."
"Why? Because of David?"
The tool chest closed with a slam.
"I don't want to talk about it."
Lenny began to walk away.
Nathan frowned. "Lenny, you did all you could…"
"Damn it Nathan, I don't want to talk about it!"
"Lenny you were the best mechanic and one of the best pilots we had! You've been in a dog fight before! You know the risks, just like Dave did!"
"Let it go Nathan!"
Zachary gave a short "Ha!"
"It looks like you're the one who needs to let go, Lenny," he continued, "I don't like the fact that Dave is dead, but at least I didn't crawl into some rat eaten shell and…"
"This is my father's airfield Nathan!" Lenny spun around to face him and was panting.
Lenny inhaled, tried to control his breathing. "I can't just up and leave."
"My father left this hanger to me in his will. If I leave, somebody is going to take the land."
"Wiseman. Richard Wiseman Jr. has been eyeing this place since my father died. He wants it for his smuggling operations."
Before Lenny could add anything else the sound of a Packard pulling up came from outside the hanger.
"Get down!" Lenny yelled.
Zachary, Phred, and Lenny hit the deck as Thompson slugs tore through the old tin siding. When the shooting stopped, the Packard roared off with the sound of tires slipping on gravel fading into the distance.
Nathan dusted himself off as he stood up.
"I take it that wasn't a social call."
"No," sighed Lenny, "It was Richie's usual method of trying to scare…slash kill me." He looked at the damaged and laughed.
"They're such bad shots," he said calmly, " look at the bullet hole spacing on the wall. I bet they would have missed us even if we had stayed standing."
Nathan raised and eyebrow at the comment.
"I think Phred would agree with me when I say we were better off on the floor."
Lenny laughed as he examined a hole at his head level where he would have been standing.
He gave a nervous chuckle.
"Well seeing as you've just nearly been killed, I guess I owe you all a cup of coffee. My shack is just across the air field, and I can fill you in on everything there."
Lenny began to lead Nathan out of the hanger. He stopped and called over his shoulder, "You can get up now Phred."