Deep Subjects, from The Last Chance

“Salvage baskets” Magnus says flatly, not pausing to look up from him cleaning a glass with a bar rag as Merrick stares at him blankly. He had been idly chatting with the barkeep about the latest expedition the group had planned and was not really anticipating that the old dwarf was actually listening to him. Merrick had begun to feel that he must have sounded crazy to anyone within earshot as he muttered more to himself than to Mangus about Sin’s latest caper and how it involved sunken pirate treasure.

And he certainly didn’t expect the dwarf to have any first-hand experience in such matters.

“Wait… first off, well first off thanks for actually paying attention as I prattled off my problem, but second, what’s a ‘salvage basket’ if you don’t mind me asking? OH, and third, you’ve done deep sea salvage?!”

Magnus gives a snort of a chuckle at the thought of him doing salvage work at sea and shakes his head as he continues to clean glasses behind the bar.

“*humph*, no my lad, nothing like that. But the seas aren’t the only place you can find flooding. Mines can be downright notorious for it. Be it either fast or slow. In either case, I’ve had to join a crew to recover what may in such situations.”

He pauses his cleaning to face Merrick and begins to give him the run-down.

“What you’ll require is a set of sturdy baskets, relatively shallow and wide, with strong but wide mesh. Although for your application, make sure the openings are still smaller than a coin. next, you’ll need to have each basket tied off at three equally spaced points to an inflation bag. That will need to be well-sealed to be airtight. I’d either go leather and seal the seams, or you could line a cloth bag completely with pitch. Now that’s what the below team will need. Topside, you’ll require a bellows for air and some hooking poles.”

Mangus gives a pause to see if Merrick is catching all this.

Fortunately, Merrick hadn’t had *too* much to drink by then and was able to follow along.

“So, if I’m seeing this correctly, you go down with the baskets to where you want to gather your salvage, put what you recover in the baskets, then you fill the bags with air which makes them buoyant enough to float the whole mess to the surface?”

Magnus gives him an almost mischievous grin. “You are quite the quick study, my young friend. Really is that simple.”

“Fantastic!–oh wait…” Merrick leaps to his feet and then immediately sits back down.

“The bellows would need to be part of this equation. Baskets and sealable bags are no trouble to obtain from the market, but I seriously doubt there is a bellows to pump air to them available that I’ve seen among the shops. We’d need to not only construct such a mechanism in a short time, but also enough tubing to transport that air to our salvage site. and that length is a complete unknown to me…”

Magnus gives a slight sigh as he shrugs his shoulders “Well, that is the catch. Bellows aren’t terribly hard to construct if you know how. Reckon I could draw up some instructions that any good carpenter could follow. My guess is that the tubing to move that air to where you need it to be will be the puzzle you’ll need to solve. Can’t imagine you’d be able to make more than 30 or 40 feet of it b’fore you head off. We made ours from select entrails of various beasts. Don’t foresee many farmers willing to slaughter their flocks just for this.”

Mangus returns to cleaning the glassware as Merrick returns to ponder his new puzzle.

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