Airborn - Chapter 19: Airborne and Chapter 20: Airborn Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Airborn.
This section contains 1,612 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)

Chapter 19: Airborne and Chapter 20: Airborn Summary

Kate is hiding in a cupboard, having heard someone coming down the corridor. Matt takes her to the starboard side to begin casting off lines. On their way back to the stern they see movement and realize the cloud cat is on the ship. She doesn't move as they continue to the auxiliary room where Bruce waits. They switch the controls from the main car to their room, and Matt hops out to release the final stern line. The first of the pirates arrives and Matt yells, 'Up ship!'. Unable to make it back to the ship in time, Matt grabs the stern line as it slithers past him. They start the engines and leave the small room to hide elsewhere. Two pirates see them and give chase and they run. Matt uses his keys to put distance between them and manages to lure them into position over the landing bay doors, opening them and decreasing the pirate count from eight to six. Matt feels the ship turning and realizes that Szpirglas wouldn't have eaten the soup, hating fish like he did. They decide to close off the fuel lines, stopping the engines. Matt and Kate get one engine shut down, and Kate heads for the second while Matt waits to make sure the engine stops. When it sputters, he heads up just as a pirate is coming down. Matt hurries out a hatch onto the ship itself, making his way to another hatchway in, and although he avoids the first pirate, Crumlin is waiting for him on the inside, holding onto Kate by one arm.

Matt notices the onset of the effects of the sleeping elixir coming over Crumlin. Rhino Hand lurches his way towards them and the Cloud Cat jumps down between them. Crumlin takes aim, and tries to shoot it, but his shot goes wide, hitting Rhino Hand instead. Matt pushes Rhino Hand off his feet while Crumlin fires and misses a second time. Matt grabs Kate by the hand as the Cloud Cat leaps for Crumlin. Matt and Kate run as the Cloud Cat amuses itself with Crumlin. They hurry to the port engine hoping Bruce is just having trouble shutting it down, but find him dead on the floor - a bullet wound in his skull. Matt tells Kate to run and hide in the cargo holds. Szpirglas himself is restarting the engines, and Matt tries to stop him, making a target of himself in the process. Furious, he follows Matt who get to the glass observation dome and hauls himself out onto the back of the ship. The forward hatch is open, and to Matt's surprise, the Cloud Cat jumps out onto the skin as well. With the Cloud Cat at one hatch and Szpirglas at the other, Matt is trapped in the middle and death seems imminent. Angry, Szpirglas pushes Matt off the back of the ship and he falls toward the stern face first. He manages to grab a strut between the fin and elevator flaps, holding on as his momentum comes to a halt. Matt can see Szpirglas looking down at him, and behind him the Cloud Cat jumps from Aurora's back. Slowly, it manages to gain control and begins to fly. Seeing the miracle unfold in front of him, Matt no longer fears his own death. Szpirglas comes after Matt, trying to kick his hands loose, but Matt holds on, and swings his legs out to kick Szpirglas' feet out from under him. He manages to grab the rope again and is headed for Matt when the Cloud Cat flies by, along with dozens of others, all headed for the island. Szpirglas turns to look, seeing Matt's expression of wonder and joy. One of them veers off and hits Szpirglas, knocking him off the ship. As he falls, he becomes a plaything for the rest of them, biting and tossing him about, feeding off him as he falls. Matt can see that the Aurora is too low and will hit the island. He manages to stagger his way to the Control Car, finding it empty and stands there, staring at the controls. In his mind, he hears the captain telling him to take her up five degrees, and he does so, instinctively knowing just how steep the climb needed to be. He turns the ship gently and the captain gives him the heading required. It takes a moment for Matt to realize that the voice he hears is no longer in his head. He puts a hand on Matt's shoulder, telling him that Kate filled them in and asks if the others are taken care of. Matt tells him they are, and the captain tells him he was born to fly without question.

Chapter 19: Airborne and Chapter 20: Airborn Analysis

When Matt and Kate have cast off the lines and are on the way back, they come across the cloud cat crouched in the keel catwalk ahead of them. Matt wonders if the smell of fish soup had lured it aboard. Between the three of them, they manage to release most of the lines holding Aurora. The stern line is the last one and Matt hops out and races across the beach to release it. When he sees the pirate reinforcements coming, he calls out to Bruce, telling him to take the ship up. Bruce does so, and Matt runs but isn't able to reach the ship before it is out of range. At the last moment, as the stern line snakes past him, he grabs it and manages to climb it up to the ship. Matt is anxious to get the ship high enough that the pirates on the ground can't climb aboard the way he did, so he dumps ballast and the ship jumps up in response. When their ears begin popping with the speed of the lift, Bruce vents gas to balance their ascent. They leave the auxiliary control room as planned, but are spotted by two pirates before they can hide elsewhere. They give chase and Matt manages to eliminate two of the pirates by opening the cargo doors as they stand on top of them. Now, only six remain. The ship begins to turn, and Matt realizes that Szpirglas has control again. They hurry to close fuel lines off, thereby stopping the engines. Before they manage to fully accomplish their task, Crumlin catches both Matt and Kate.

Crumlin's eyes lose focus for a moment, and Matt begins to hope that they can get away again. Rhino Hand approaches, but is in even worse shape than Crumlin, and neither registers the fact that the Cloud Cat has landed between them for a moment. Crumlin sees it first and is determined to shoot her but his vision and reflexes are dulled and he misses. His shot hits Rhino Hand in the neck and a push from Matt is enough to knock him over. The Cloud Cat launches itself at Crumlin, perhaps remembering him from the island and plays with him for a bit, jumping in and out of range and doing considerable damage each time. Matt and Kate head for the port engine to check on Bruce, and are horrified to find him dead on the floor, a gunshot wound to his head. He had been shot from close range. Szpirglas is trying to restart the engines and Matt sends Kate to hide before attempting to lock Szpirglas outside between the hatches, but he is not quick enough, and Szpirglas bullies his way back in. Matt does the only thing he can against a gun - he runs. He has the advantage over Szpirglas, knowing every inch of the Aurora and all the places a person can hide. He goes up into the rigging, and furious, Szpirglas follows, leaving Matt no where to go but the crow's nest. Out of the observation dome, Matt is stymied for a moment, unsure which way to go. The forward hatch is already open, and to Matt's astonishment, the Cloud Cat comes out. Szpirglas is on his way out of the rear hatch, pinning Matt between the Cloud Cat and himself. Szpirglas pushes him off the back of the ship, and he barely grabs the tail fin but still Szpirglas won't stop, convinced that unless he sees Matt die, he will have to deal with him again. Matt has no fear, and is filled with wonder as he sees the Cloud Cat jump from the ship, ungainly at first, but then she begins to fly. The air is full of Cloud Cats, all headed for the island, and he stares at them in awe. Seeing the look on his face, Szpirglas turns and is knocked from the ship by a passing Cloud Cat. Caught by surprise, he is unable to grab the safety line and begins to fall to the ocean below. The Cloud Cats follow, taking bites out of him and tossing him between them. Using the safety line that Szpirglas had used, Matt manages to return to the ship in time to realize that they are going to crash into the mountain on the island. He races to the Control Car, using strength and speed he had no idea he still had. Once there, he stands in front of the controls, hearing the captain's voice in his mind. He lifts and turns the ship gently from danger, surprised to find the captain standing behind him. Proud, the captain gives Matt a heading and leaves him to pilot the ship alone, acknowledging again that Matt was born to fly.

This section contains 1,612 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Airborn from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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