Chapter VIII: Refrazzya

Tyler Marklin remained stationary as he directed the ship closer to the coordinates indicated on the RLC. Formally, he would have instructed Cesium to go alert the ship as he piloted, but he felt that if the Great Dane had roused the captain and Lady Olivia, it would be disastrous.

The crew had found out that the poor mechanical beast did not fare well over bodies of water. The Dane did spectacularly; it bobbed its head on top of the rail while playing with Leo and Jakob on deck. They were playing fetch when suddenly the ball Leo had thrown went sailing over the port side. Being programmed like a living dog, the Great Dane followed and plunged headfirst into the water.

This is where his name came from. After some terrible ruckus up on deck, two lifeboats released, and bundles of ropes with life preservers dismantled, the dog was safely back on the Phoenix. Of course, the dog had some major setbacks to its gears. It would start to go haywire, twitching its head the opposite way. It would also try to eat wooden crates instead of its intended energy source: glass bottles.

“Poor doggie,” Charlotte replied while holding the head of the dog on her lap. “You didn’t know you’d react so poorly to water, huh?”

“It’s a rather dumb machine,” Aden replied angrily as he wrung his cotton white shirt out in between his hands.

“No, it isn’t,” Charlotte countered.

“It is if it decided to jump in the bloody ocean!”

Olivia had popped up from the companionway entrance with her tool kit in hand while watching the two interact with each other. That was when a name hit her.

“That’s it!” Olivia called out and smiled. “We’ll name him Cesium. It’s perfect!”

Charlotte gave her best friend a quirked eyebrow while Aden shook his head. He figured out why the name Cesium would work out, but a majority of the crew watching had not yet put two and two together.

“Why Cesium?” Damien and Xavier both asked as they tied the second lifeboat back onto the Phoenix.

“He is named Cesium because he reacts horribly to water. Did you not pass basic chemistry? Newbs.” She opened her tool kit once she took a seat next to her twitching dog. “Cesium, you should know better than to jump off the ship.”

The Great Dane merely whined and pushed its head back into Charlotte’s lap. Aden gave a disgruntled sigh before slapping his shirt over his bare shoulder and walking back downstairs. Damien and Xavier gave mystified faces in response to the comment Olivia made but did not want to say something else that could potentially lead to an insult on their intelligence.

“I think Cesium is a cute name,” Charlotte replied suddenly and gave the whole crew a big smile. “Olivia’s such a great master.”

Cesium barked, bringing Tyler back from the memory he was reliving. Snapping his attention to the mechanical beast, he found that it was slowly starting to rise out of its position lying down. After a month and a half of travelling around on the sea, it could drive anyone mad who was not prepared, Great Danes included.

“What’s wrong, Cesium?” Marklin questioned as he placed the RLC down on the table with the world map. Currently, they were about ten miles away from Refrazzya, a bustling merchant town that sold many types of merchandise; it ranged from medical aid to food, even weaponry. The only problem with this particular port town was that they didn’t exactly care who their buyers were. As long as they had money, they would not be trifled with.

Cesium meandered from his position to the table where the map was located and gestured with its nose to Refrazzya and, then with a whine, began gesturing to the mantra on the wall. There was a slogan on the wall that the state dictated to its citizens to raise hope: “Keeping the peace, one voyage at a time.”

Marklin chuckled, taking his hat off and placing it on Cesium’s head. “We all could use some peace, especially after all the stuff we’d been through.” He walked over to the communications device located in the helm that connected to the deck where several of the late-shift warrant officers were working on the sails.

“Port city Refrazzya dead ahead of us, prepare to port.”

There was an echo of “aye, aye” from below the helm as the men shifted to their duties to safely disembark. Marklin just hoped he did not circumvent the captain by issuing the order to land.

“Here’s hoping we’re in the clear,” he replied as Cesium padded his way up and down the wheelhouse before happily dropping down on its haunches beside Tyler.

Cesium did not really like the current captain Aden because of the way he manhandled it in the ocean that one time it fell in. A whooping hundred-and-forty-pound Great Dane was rescued by Aden’s and Xavier’s experienced hands, only to be rejected by Aden when it wanted to lie its aching head on his lap. Once the mechanical beast was on board, it hobbled and jerked its four paws over to Charlotte who it did like. She always fed him glass bottles when his master wasn’t looking.

Cesium tipped Marklin’s hat on its head with a deep rumble of his chest. At the least, they were both in agreement.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

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