The next few moments were a blur of blind confusion. Unable to see where Beryl was through the heathaze of the flames the Hare shot all over the deck–and onto the bomb–Leon and I turned to each other and yelled, “RUN!”
I leapt away and scrambled toward Port as quickly as I could, but almost immediately felt a wave of intense heat flatten me under the blast’s percussion. Luckily I had rounded the corner of the building and was able to roll against the side of the Brewery protecting me from most of the violence of the detonation.
Immediately looking up, I waited for signs of the building giving way, unsure of the intensity of the charge or whether it was close enough to threaten the integrity of the structure. Seeing a large splash of water wash onto the docks, I assumed the energy of the explosion had focused far enough away to leave the building at least standing.
Pushing myself up off the dock carefully into a crouch, I rounded the corner to see a horrific display: The Hare’s ship was cleaned off to deck level, and it was apparently taking water very quickly. Debris lay everywhere, and through the smoke I could see Leon lying in a crumpled heap. I rushed to him, looking around for signs of either Beryl or the Hare, but could see neither.
I patted Leon’s shoulder gently and asked if he could hear me. Thankfully he groaned. Although he had obviously suffered some injuries, he was alive.
I advised him to stay still until I could check for bleeding, and as I checked him over, I saw through the clearing smoke the Hare’s head lying on its side beside the building, eyes still blinking harmlessly, smoke still emanating from its pipe.
As our hearing recovered from the shock of the concussion, I detected the sound of something moving in the water. Turning quickly, I saw Beryl climb up out of the water and shake some of it off.
I asked if Beryl was ok, and told Leon I found no bleeding or protruding bones and asked if he could sit up.
“I just need a bath…” Beryl complained, relieving my worry about his physical health.
Leon pushed himself up carefully, mainly bruised and battered, but largely intact.
As Leon tried to give me a weak smile to let me know he was basically okay, Beryl commented, “At least the ship is gone,” as the hull began to slip beneath the surface, leaving shards of decking and various bits of debris floating in its place.
Satisfied that all were alive who should be, I scrambled to my feet and ran inside to see if the fire was still burning, followed immediately by the others. The burning doors had gone out, but they were badly damaged. The oil fire in the corner had exhausted itself, luckily without having spread through my panic error of trying to flood it with Finn’s tank water. There was however some flooding, of course.
Onlookers began to arrive as we took stock and recounted events. Satu and Stormy came to see what had happened, asking if we were alright. Leon bravely proclaimed that he was fine, yet I could see that he needed to be examined for possible head injuries. I managed to gently persuade him to seek attention when things had settled down enough for him to feel safe.
Beryl said something odd which I didn’t understand at the time: “I wasn’t here.” While I puzzled over this he waved and headed out of the room.
As more began to arrive, I calmed down and began to carefully extricate myself from the scene, making my way north toward Academy. I again focused my concern on my cousin, who was still unaccounted for after the Back Room bombing. For the first time since arriving in New Babbage, I was actually hoping to run into my sister; I could really use her skills.
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