Clockwork Nessie, Part 20
Robert paused for a moment, then raised his hands as if in surrender. “Alright. Fine. I’ll fetch it for you. I will require assistance moving the submersible back into the loch, however. My assistant left before you arrived and it’s a two man job.”
A smirk played across Thomas’ face. “I’m sure Miss Blake can assist you. She’s in her men’s clothes and so is prepared to do a man’s job. I’m afraid I’ve drawn the job of keeping my pistol trained on her.” He snickered. Thomas’ insistence on escorting me on my expeditions made a lot more sense.
“As you wish.” Robert walked to the pod, where he slipped inside and flipped several switches.
The submersible roared to life, emitting a black cloud of smoke. Another few switches flipped and Nessie’s nearly prehensile head and neck spiraled down from the rafters and coiled on top of the pod like a snake. I would have never thought her anything other than a motorized carriage in her current, compact state. She rose up on four chunky legs; and Robert jumped out of the pod.
“I need help pushing the sled under her, Lizzie.” He pointed to a wheeled pallet with a rope tethered to one end.
Thomas nudged me forward to assist. A quick glance out the open door in the back of the barn as we worked revealed a smooth path that led to the water’s edge.
Once we’d loaded and secured Nessie, Robert and I maneuvered her slowly down the makeshift boat ramp. At the bottom, we shoved Nessie off the sled and into the dark water lapping the rocky shore.
Robert looked out over the loch, then stepped into the water where he battened hatches and closed valves before he climbed inside. A flipped switch sent a thunderous ripple through the water that also shook the ground we stood upon. He continued a long series of pre-voyage procedures. Thomas shifted from foot to foot, his impatience obvious.
Finally, the water behind Nessie boiled and splashed. Tremors under the water grew stronger.