Airborn - Chapter 14: Nest and Chapter 15: Cloud Cat Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 14: Nest and Chapter 15: Cloud Cat Summary

All night the ship fills and in the morning is floating again. Baz bursts into the room and tells him that Kate is missing. The captain is clearly annoyed as he instructs Matt and Baz to find Kate and return her to the ship. When they get to the bluff where they last saw the cloud cat, Baz notices that Kate has been blazing trees in order to find her way back. They begin calling out her name, and she answers from the top of a tree nearby. She refuses to leave until she gets the pictures she came for and points out the cloud cat's nest she discovered. Similar to the nests that squirrels build for winter, the cloud cat had instinctively created an all weather shelter. Bruce wants to see what they are looking at, but before he can put the spyglass up to his eye, the cloud arrives, landing in a nearby tree. Kate tries to grab her camera, but she disappears into the nest before Kate can get a decent shot. Bruce is stunned, staring at the direction the cloud cat went with his mouth open. They tell Bruce the rest and he begins to get carried away with the whole idea, telling Kate his father funds research of that kind, and has a keen interest in oddities such as this one. The phrase, and his overall attitude bother Matt, and he hopes that Kate will object at some point, but she doesn't - instead becoming carried away by the thought that the discovery will make her famous. Matt becomes agitated at the fact that they are disobeying a direct order, but Kate begs him to give her just a little time, promising him she has an idea to speed things up. On her way out, she had stolen a fish from the bunch caught by the cook, and plans to use it to lure the cloud cat out. She promises to be ready to go in half and hour, and Matt reluctantly agrees.

The fish smells so bad that Bruce does as well, after handling it. Finally, she ventures down, and they see her in all her glory for the first time. It is immediately obvious that she isn't meant for walking, as she nervously approaches the fish. When she reaches it, she opens her mouth and all thoughts that she is a shy cat vanish at the sight of her teeth. When it finishes, and looks up, Kate takes a photograph, but the click gives them away. Bruce loses his nerve, turns and runs. Seeing Bruce as prey, the cloud cat gives chase. Matt remembers Molloy writing that the sight of his spyglass seemed to frighten them, so he grabs the one from Kate and gives chase. Distracting the Cloud Cat, Matt tells Bruce to run, noticing his already injured leg. Bruce manages to get away, and Matt and Kate back up, leaving the camera behind despite Kate's initial objections. It leaps up into the trees and Matt knows they have just moments. Grabbing her hand, they race for what appears to be a field, hoping it won't follow once the trees thin.

Chapter 14: Nest and Chapter 15: Cloud Cat Analysis

In the morning, Baz bursts into the room and is clearly relieved to see Matt standing there. He tells her that during the night, Kate drugged her chaperone and somehow managed to get out and is now missing. Matt knew she would likely head to the area she believed the cloud cat nested in and worries about her atrocious sense of direction until he discovers his compass missing and realizes that she has had it since their time in the cave, and he hadn't even noticed. On the way, Baz tells Matt how lucky he is to know what he wants to do with his life, and to love it so much. Matt doesn't understand, knowing that Baz is wealthy, and Baz explains the expectations his family has for him and his inability to live up to them. He apologizes for taking Matt's place as sailmaker, and tells Matt that if he could, he would transfer ships, but the bargain he made with his father was that he would serve two years on board the Aurora and quitting would be defeat. They finally find Kate in a tree where she has perched herself to wait for the return of the cloud cat. She is sitting where she has full view of the nest she'd found, and while they argue about the captains orders to return immediately, the arguments are mute when the cloud cat returns, going into her nest in front of a stunned silent Bruce. Bruce tells Kate that his father would be interested in this find, and would likely fund an expedition to return. His excitement is obvious, and Matt feels himself being edged out by Lunardi again, and the idea makes him angry. He accuses them of being insensitive to the fact that by disobeying the captains orders, they will only stand to cost him, not themselves. As people of money, their wealth insulated them from having to worry about their jobs, unlike Matt who would be in deep trouble if his job were to end. He threatens to carry Kate back to the ship, but Bruce sides with Kate, taking Matt's leverage away. He finally agrees to give Kate half an hour to try to lure it out into the open where she can get a good shot of it.

Matt worries about Kate's assumption that the cloud cat is benign in nature. When it comes into the clearing, and lands on the ground, Matt senses how wrong the ground is for it, and understands its discomfort. All his pity vanishes when she opens her mouth and reveals her teeth. Bruce is shaking and Kate is pale as all three of them realize how largely they underestimated the cloud cat and her nature. Only twelve feet away from them, they are all truly afraid. Bruce makes the mistake of running, giving the cloud cat something to chase. It runs him down, and has him pinned when Matt gives chase and distracts it. When the cloud cat's attention is diverted, Matt tells Bruce to run. Now, it turns it's attentions to Matt and Kate. They are forced to leave the camera behind and flee, hoping to reach a clearing before it overtakes them from above.

This section contains 1,089 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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