Mechanical Dragons, Book 1
FIRE & WATER
Mixing magic and inexperience may result in dragons.
What would you do if your school project came to life? Khaly didn’t know either, but what she knew was she had a mechanical dragon, turned flesh and blood.
She didn't know magic was real and people wanted her dead. Now Khaly and her dragon must run to survive. Who can they trust? Where will they go?
Fire & Water is the first book in the Mechanical Dragons Fantasy Series. This epic steampunk adventure is full of twists and turns you will never see coming! Join the Adventure!
OTHER BOOKS IN THE MECHANICAL DRAGONS SERIES
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She was banished to the stool in the corner of the room, left to watch over the activities in her father’s robotics lab. Khaly was told to remain there and keep out of trouble.
“Hmph, keep out of trouble,” she mumbled to herself.
She always came to his lab after school, since she was a small child. She and her father would walk home together and share their day. He would tell her about all the wonderful inventions they were working on and she would tell him about her day spent learning and playing with her friends at school.
Even now, after moving to Vlarlee, the biggest city on the Feesia continent, so she could attend the prestigious Pifianka Academy of Polytechnics, they continued this tradition. But it was different when she was younger. Khaly was allowed to wander the lab, question the assistants, and work with the robotics. The staff enjoyed answering her questions and sharing their own knowledge in the field.
At seventeen, it wasn’t cute anymore, with her knowledge and skills far surpassing their own. They were put out by her constantly correcting their mistakes. To them, she was a child over-stepping her bounds by assuming she knew more, which she did.
She watched in sheer agony while they poked and prodded at the inner workings of their newest project. When they tried running their tests the tiny man would lurch to one side then tip over, so they poked and prodded some more. It walked in circles. On another try, it did nothing but open and close its mouth or its head spun in circles. They ran their computer simulations, tested the software, and inspected the hardware but never made headway.
The discussion between the two lab workers was growing more and more agitated with each test. They had been working on this little mechanical man for almost two months and Khaly was ready to crawl out of her own skin to fix it.
“Well, maybe it’s your ineptitude on the inner workings of this kind of mechanics that’s the problem,” Arledge said to his co-worker.
The young woman bit her lip, preventing her response to his accusations. Khaly also gritted her teeth. Many of the suggestions Chahara, the assistant, was making would have certainly gotten them further along. Even though her assumptions were mostly wrong, they still would have made more progress. Khaly started nibbling on her nails and squirmed in her chair, wanting so badly to walk over and fix it. It was a minor issue really, one she could correct in her sleep. She couldn’t understand how they weren’t seeing it.
“What course of action would you like to take now?” the assistant said, giving a little more attitude than she should have. The supervisor shot a glare at her. “Well, none of my suggestions seem to be the correct solution. I, of course, would defer to your guidance.” Chahara gave a fleeting smile.
Wow, she must really want this job. I would throttle the guy, Khaly thought.
“Yes, well, this is a team project. I was merely looking for your input,” he responded. “But it’s obvious that you have nothing to offer.” He stood trying to look as though he was silently solving the issue of the robot.
“Maybe, sir, we could go over the schematics one more time. Perhaps there is something we missed in the design,” Chahara offered.
“We?” He quirked an eyebrow at her.
“I meant to say I, maybe I missed something.”
“Right. Yes, that is a more likely scenario.” As he turned to go over the schematics Khaly almost said something, but Chahara caught her eye and gave a wordless command to stay silent.
Khaly pursed her lips. She had about all she could take. They were wasting time. It could be solved in a matter of minutes. She knew her father was under a lot of pressure to get this prototype to work. With each passing day he worried his career would be put in jeopardy.
The two pored over the blueprints. The assistant pointed and drew with her finger, offering suggestions. Arledge brushed her hand away shaking his head.
Khaly was unable to contain herself any longer. “Maybe if you checked the sensors,” she offered. “They may be calibrated too high and the processing core can’t compensate.”
Turning, he glared at her. Khaly meekly smiled back and shrugged her shoulders.
“Just a suggestion, really. I’m sure I’m not right.” She tried to reassure him.
He returned to the schematics as if deep in thought, tracing his finger over the circuits of the robot. He turned back to his assistant pointing at a spot on the blueprint.
“Check to see if the sensors are calibrated too high. Then make sure the processing core is compensating.”
“Yes, sir,” she answered giving a tiny smile to Khaly as she turned.
Khaly thought to herself, That isn’t the processing core he’s pointing to, that’s the actuator. She shook her head.
They made her changes and started testing once again. It lurched and clunked forward only to tip once more.
Arledge looked back at her smugly. “I’m not surprised you were wrong. Just because you go to the Pifianka Academy doesn’t make you an expert in this field. I’ve been doing this for twenty years and have no reason to listen to the likes of you,” he said, his evident frustration bubbling over. The lab assistant’s mouth dropped open at his reaction. It was one thing to yell at her but completely unacceptable to yell at Khaly.
“They’re still too high,” Khaly mumbled.
“What was that?” he yelled. “You irksome little child!”
“I said,” she yelled louder than she needed to. “They. Are. Still. Too. High.”
“You don’t know—” He was cut off abruptly by a hand on his shoulder.
“Sir,” the woman whispered. “She’s right. They’re still a little too high, but the processing core we have will never be able to handle the sensors no matter how low we set them. We will likely have to build one ourselves.”
His face reddened, but he never offered an apology.
“So, how is everything coming along? Any progress?” Edwin, Khaly’s father, joined them.
“Yes, sir. I have discovered that the sensors were running too high for the core to compensate. But when I lowered them, I found that the core won’t be able to compensate at all. We need to get a faster one.” Khaly wasn’t shocked that he took all the credit for the discoveries and from Chahara’s reactions, Khaly could see she wasn’t either.
“Ah, I see.” Edwin rubbed his chin looking over the little robot man. “Well, it’s too late to put in any orders tonight.”
“Ah, sir—” Chahara started, but was cut short.
“I’m sorry, sir. I meant to mention that I will have to build it on my own.”
“Fine then, in the morning.” Edwin paused. “You two ladies could learn a thing or two from this man. You're in the presence of a true genius.” Edwin patted Arledge on the shoulder. “Let’s go, Khaly. We’re already late for dinner. I’m sure your mother is worried.”
Khaly jumped off her stool, she was grinding her teeth at the smirk on Arledge’s face. “I’m sure she is more pissed than worried, Father.”
“Language, Khaly. Language,” he scolded her.
“Do you disagree with me?”
“No, I think you’re right, but such language isn’t necessary.”
Khaly put her arm through her father’s as they left the lab. Once they cleared the building and stepped out onto the sidewalk Khaly asked, “Father, what happens if Arledge and Chahara can’t get that robot to work?”
He looked down at her. “My dear girl, don’t you worry about that. I’m certain they’ll be able to sort out all the problems and meet the deadline in time.”
“But what if they can’t?”
There was a long, grim silence.
“Father?” she asked.
“Let’s not worry about that. I’m certain it will get sorted out.”
Khaly knew exactly what that meant. If they don’t build the proper core in time, her father would be out of a job. There was no way Arledge would know where to start and she was unsure of Chahara’s skills. She was going to have to do something about that. She would have to get into the lab and work on it when no one was around, it would be the only way.