Airborn - Chapter 6: Szpirglas Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 6: Szpirglas Summary

Before his shift, Matt heads to the navigation room and sees that they will come closest to the island the next morning. At dinner, he lets Kate know, slipping a note into her napkin. In the crow's nest he is looking up when he sees a shift in the stars. Then another section of the sky is blocked out and he loses his balance when a large pair of wings passes close overhead. Something lands not fifty feet from his post. He examines it a little closer, realizing he is looking at an albatross and tries to scare it off, but it doesn't move. He calls down to the Control Car, explaining the situation to First Officer Rideau, and gets permission to open the hatch and chase it off. It stays, forcing Matt to step out, making himself large to finally scare the bird off. He watches it as it banks to the east, and sees another airship in the sky, headed straight for them. First Officer Rideau takes evasive maneuvers, and calls for the Captain. They try to shake her without success, and in moments there are men dropping from weighted lines. A voice over a bullhorn instructs them to level off and Captain Walken has little choice but to comply. Six men at a time board her, with more on the way, heading for the hatch, and Matt. The Captain tells him to lock the hatch and assemble in the keel catwalk. The alarm is sounded as the hatch is wrenched open and men with guns climb in. Vikram Szpirglas is suave and deliberate as he tells the Captain that he will require access to the passenger quarters, but that no one will be hurt if everyone cooperates. The Captain has no choice but to assemble the passengers in the lounges while the pirates collect their valuables which are to be left in their rooms. Szpirglas warns the Captain that heroics or attempts to signal for help will not be tolerated. One pirate, addressed as Mr. Crumlin by Szpirglas, pushes the radio officer ahead of him, announcing he'd discovered him attempting to send an S.O.S. Szpirglas shoots him in the head and then as quickly as they boarded, they leave. Matt follows them up, hiding in the rigging, and as the pirate ship detaches, notices the storm front. He calls the Control Car to report just as the wind throws the pirate's ship into them. The pirate ship collides with the Aurora, tearing the fabric of her hull. Then it pulls away from them and Matt can hear the hydrium escaping.

Chapter 6: Szpirglas Analysis

When Matt slips the note into Kate's napkin that evening, letting her know when they will be at their closest point to her grandfather's island, Baz happens to catch him doing it, and walks away grinning after giving him a conspiratorial wink. Matt blushed then, and almost again now in the crow's nest when he remembered it. Matt enjoys spending time with Kate, even though around her he is often painfully aware of himself and every word and gesture that he makes. When Matt first notices the disturbance in the sky, he maintains close attention until something flies very close past the dome in which he sat. Fearful at first, his mind filled with Molloy's journal and the creatures he saw, Matt is distinctly relieved when it reveals itself to be nothing more than an albatross, glad that he didn't give in to panic and call down a report. The jokes would have dogged him for years. He studied it, and it made him realize how easy it would be to mistake them for something else, and the realization that this might have been all Molloy saw makes Matt sad. Worried that the bird's sharp feet might tear the ship's skin, he tries to scare it off to no avail. He gets permission from First Officer Rideau to chase it off, and putting on his goggles, he clips himself into a safety line and opens the hatch. He yells at the bird, waving his arms, but accomplishing little more than making him walk a few feet further away. In the process of scaring the large bird off, Matt sees a ship headed right for the Aurora. The ship changes course with them and it is quickly apparent that they won't be able to outrun it. It doesn't respond to summons by radio, and moments later she pulls up over the Aurora's tail. When it manages to attach itself to the Aurora and lower men down onto her, Matt realizes that they can only be pirates. Though it feels cowardly, Matt is relieved when the Captain tells him to lock the hatch and desert his post. The passengers are not happy when the crew is forced to wake them at four in the morning, and escort them from their rooms and even less so when they are told to leave their valuables behind. The pirates are efficient and in no time return with gunny sacks filled with the passengers possessions. Mr Featherstone apologizes to Captain Walken, and tells Szpirglas that he was acting on his own when he is caught trying to send an S.O.S.

This section contains 881 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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