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Endeavour’s Fall #24: Getting Into Harvard

May 7, 2017

 

 

 

The velocity of a body attracted towards an immovable centre,

in spaces void of resistance, is reciprocally as the perpendicular let fall

from that centre on the right line that touches the orbit.

-Lord Isaac Newton, PBUH

 

The two boys stared at each other for a moment.  Jack scanned the sky.  “Did you bring the rest of the ship down with you?”

“Of course not, Jack.  I couldn’t just let you run off by yourself and get shot.  I followed you down the line.”

 “Oh, you wanted to spy on me.”

 “I was worried about you,” said Sam.

 “What are you going to do if I run?  Call the patrol?”

 “Why would I do that?  They’re just as likely to arrest me as you.”

 “I don’t think so.  They about arrested me when I told them I was with the Airship Navy.  Are we in the Empire here or not?”

 “Beats me,” said Sam.  “What’s your plan, anyway?”

 Jack sighed.  “With any luck, I am going to try to find some regulars and get back on a Navy airship.”

 “Back in the Navy?  Won’t they think you’re a rebel?”

 “I suppose you have a better plan?” asked Jack.

 “Well, now that I have felt how nice it is to be back on the ground, I’m thinking I’ll head back home.  You should come with me.  We can catch a train and ride most of the way.”

 “What would I do in the mountains?”

 “There’s work in Switch. Maybe you could stick around for a while.  There aren’t so many people shooting at each other back home.”  Sam hoped that was still true.

 Jack paused.  “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

 “Just come see it. Then you can decide what you want to do,” said Sam.

 “I might try that.  When do we leave?”

 “Tonight,” said Sam.

 “If you want to leave, we should jump a train and get as far from here as quickly as we can,” said Jack.

 “Not even those Haudenosaunee scouts could track us on a train.”  Sam peered into the darkness.

 “They give me shivers. I wouldn’t want them chasing me through the woods,” said Jack.  “Come on then, we can stick to the shadows here.”

 Jack climbed the stairs and circled around the light cast by a single lamp on the lane.  Sam followed him carefully up the lane to a larger street.

 At the corner, Jack grabbed Sam’s arm.  Lights approached from the West. 

 “Not them again…” muttered Jack.

 “I agree,” said Sam.  “Look, we can hid in these courtyards.”  The two boys leapt over a short wall and hid in a small courtyard just like the one Sam had hidden in earlier.  Sam crawled along the ground until he could peer out through a wrought iron gate.  His left knee could bend, but never made crawling easy for him. Jack crawled over next to him. 

 “It looks like there are four of them now.”  Jack whispered in Sam’s ear after taking a quick look.  “No, five.”

 The boys waited silently as the patrol neared them, then passed.  “It’s Adams!” exclaimed Sam in a hoarse whisper when they were gone.

 “Is she a prisoner?” asked Jack.

 “I couldn’t tell.  How did she get over there?” asked Sam.

 “This is our chance to get out of town!” pressed Jack.

 “If the tables were turned, she would rescue you,” said Sam.

 “I suppose.  She would ‘rescue’ me so she could lock me back up on the airship.  Or maybe she would just shoot me with that rifle of hers, so I couldn’t talk.”

 “Very funny.”

 “It’s true.  The only reason you want to save her is because you’re sweet on her.”

 Sam shoved Jack out of the shadows and got up off the ground.  “Whether we like it or not, she is part of our crew.  We have to help her.”

 “Your crew maybe,” said Jack.  “If we get involved, we will just be captured too.  Even if we get her out, we will just end up back on the airship.”

 “Well, we’ll have to avoid Norris.  If you help me to rescue her, Jack, I will help you get home.  I promise.  My family and I will find a way to get you back to England, or wherever you decide to go.”

 “What if Norris doesn’t let you go back home?”

 “If we rescue Adams, Norris will have to let us go home.”

 “I’m sure he would let us ride in the captain’s cabin the whole way there,” said Jack bitterly.

 “Come on, we had better catch up, or we’ll never find them in the dark.”  Sam followed after the patrol.  Jack hesitated only a moment before tailing along.

 The boys found the patrol further down the lane.  They followed it back across the square into group of buildings surrounded by a tall red brick wall.  When the patrol and Adams entered into the front of one of the nondescript and barely-lit buildings, Sam and Jack circled around the back.  They found a luxurious green lawn encircled by brick buildings and lined with tall trees.

 “I can’t believe there is so much green inside this town,” gasped Sam.

 “This does not look like a jail,” whispered Jack.  “Look, none of the windows have bars. 

 Jack inspected the building’s windows.  “Here, give me a boost.”

 Sam braced himself against the wall, and Jack climbed up his back to a dark windowsill.  He jiggled a window and then eased it slowly up.  Then he climbed through.  Before Sam could even stretch his back out again, Jack was reaching down through the window.

 “Come on, then!”  Jack whispered.

 Jack grunted as he helped Sam up to the window sill.  “You are much heavier with that thing on, you know,” Jack said.

 A tiny glow of moonlight followed them through the window.  The room was full of books.  Sam ran his hand along one shelf.  “I’ve never seen so many books before,” he whispered.

 An orange glow filtered under the door.  Jack quietly crept up to it.  “I can hear people moving around in the house and talking,” he whispered.  Just then, the ceiling above them creaked, as someone walked across the floor of the room upstairs. 

 “I can’t hear what they are saying,” whispered Sam.

 “This doesn’t look like any kind of jail that I’ve seen,” said Jack as he squinted around the dark room.  “It looks like some kind of library. Oy! Where are you going?”

 Sam was pushing past him at the door and was slowly turning the doorknob.

 Jack put a hand on his shoulder.  “Hold on there! No offense, Sam, but I don’t think you have the feet of a cat burglar.  You are going to get us caught!”

 “We have to hear what they are saying if we are going to figure out how to free Adams,” said Sam.

 “I don’t think she needs freeing, mate.  Not unless they tied her up and forced her into a Latin class.  Look around!”

 Sam sighed.  “Maybe you’re right.” 

The two boys tiptoed back to the window.

 Suddenly, the door behind them was thrown open. 

 “What in the name of Newton?!”  A tall thin woman with a harsh face stood at the door with a candle.  “You two, stop right there!”

© J. O. Evans 2017. All Rights Reserved.