Chapter 7

Hm…this is taking longer then it should. I expected him to get sent over the edge faster than this. I'll wait as long as I need to though; patience happens to be one of my stronger points by now. He'll come, I know he will, he's told me he will. I might be willing to sit here starring up at the cascading water around the edge of the floating isle, but I can tell my companion is getting kind of antsy by how he's fiddling with his grappler.

"What's the matter Claude, don't like sitting idle like this?"

The slim, young looking man next to me gives me a vaguely annoyed side glance with his dark green eyes, then returns to playing with his one and a half ton galvanized steel grappling hook and chain as if it weighed nothing. Ha ha, good old Claude, he's always disliked not doing something useful, especially seeing as he has many…special talents he can use to do it.

"Oh come now don't look at me like that, I need you to be ready when he arrives. I won't lose him."

"We've been waiting for hours Havs, I could have caught at least half a dozen extra ships by now but you won't let me!"

His voice cracks at the end of his sentence, which happens a lot seeing as it never really got any deeper since he was all of fourteen. Trying not to chortle at the little hiccup, he just gives me another none too appreciative glance before rolling his eyes and huffing in boredom and slumping down again.

"I'm sorry my friend, I shouldn't laugh at your pre pubescent voice. Especially seeing as you could implode my face by breathing on it."

He laughs at that a bit, finally setting down his prized hook and leaning back on the work bench we decided to sit on as we wait.

"Why are you so keen on this guy hey Havs? I mean, you said he was some emaciated kid, what good could he possibly be?"

Starring at him in surprise at the statement, when I find he's actually absolutely serious it throws me off a bit.

"Did you honestly just say that? Do you forget how you started down here? I had to pretty much spoon feed you until you had enough strength back to do it yourself."

His face falls at the reminder, at how close he was to death when I found him. He shouldn't dwell on the past, I know that, but he should appreciate how far he's come, and have sympathy for others that are in about the same position. That doesn't mean I don't feel the slightest bit bad for bringing it up though now that I have.

"I'm sorry Claude, that was low of me."

"Nah it's fine… I still don't really understand why you even bothered with me either…"

"I have a thing for seeing people's potential, see past their current state and to who they really are in under everything. I knew you were strong as soon as I saw you, just like I knew he was when I saw him. You must admit; surviving in Sky City alone and homeless for over five years is impressive."

"Yeah it is, I have to say. Do you think maybe he managed not to get caught?"

"Not unless he can turn invisible no. He ran out with nothing on but a pair of… Claude go, that's him!"

Jumping up as the first section of the surprisingly small and sleek black vessel tips over the edge, Claude's quick to follow and even quicker to grab his grappler. He seems hesitant though, which is never good in this situation seeing as we only have about a fifteen second window between when a ship tumbles over the edge and it shattering on the bottom of the globe.

"What are you waiting for?! Don't let him go!"

"It's too small, I'll hit him!"

Well crud…I'm not giving up that easy though, someone can survive without an arm or a leg.

"I don't care, just don't hit anything important!"

With that he steps onto the edge of the pier, giving the grappling hook a few good swings to build up some momentum before launching in towards the fast falling boat. He hunkers down in preparation for what he knows is coming, bracing himself against the massive amount of force that threatens to send the ship and him flying over the edge as the chain grows taught. He holds strong though, digging hard into the purpose built spongy floor and making sure not to let there be too much of a sudden stop or risk turning our precious cargo into mush. Once it comes to a halt he starts pulling it up, deceivingly gracefully as he coils the heavy duty chain around his shoulder at the same time his drags up a combined weight of probably over two tons. He surprises me when he pauses all of a sudden, looking down at the now very close ship and frowning.

"What? What is it?"

"…Sorry boss…but that's a lot of blood for it not to be important…"

Startled by his words, I peer over the edge with him, and cringe at the amount of red liquid seeping out from the downward pointing nose of the boat. Darn…I got Claude to do this because he the best catcher there is, but it seems like not even he was able to seize such a small vessel without casualties. Trying to brush aside my disappointment, I motion for him to keep going.

"Don't just leave it there, bring it up!"

Pulling it the rest of the way up, he drags it in onto the landing, making quick work of the top cover of the ship by ripping off the shielding wood panels and tossing them aside. Gazing into the thoroughly bloodied vessel, I heave a sigh of relief at what I see.

"We're good Claude, it's a lot of blood but it didn't actually hit anything vital, nothing we can't fix. Call up Trix for me, I've got a job I'm sure she'd enjoy."

Giving me a somewhat uncertain look, eventually he nods and heads off to do as he's told. When he's gone I crouch down over the thoroughly sedated young man, grinning uncontrollably. Oh yeah, he's going to be just fine, more then fine actually. We just can't take out that grapple right now seeing as it's serving as a makeshift plug at the moment, but I'll take him to someone who will fix him right up.

"You're one lucky son of a gun aren't you kid? We'll see how good you really are at survival now my young friend, because this place is no walk in the park."

Letting out a small chuckle despite myself, I stand back up and grab the ship, grappling hook and all, and prop it up on my shoulder before starting to make my way to Demur's. Sure he might be a bit crazy, but you kind of have to be in order to make it around here, and he's really a good doctor as long as you aren't one of his experiments.

"Welcome to Flip Side kid, the madhouse of freaks."