1. The rapids run
Kevin would have preferred to be in the middle of the river away from the bank, with all the possible obstructions that were close in like this he didn’t want to risk grounding or doing some other damage to the boat. The full moon still supplied enough light to navigate by even in the cloudy sky if only just, occasionally slipping behind a heavy cloud now and then and leaving them in near total darkness. The boat was just coming near to the closest point to the old pump house when an Ami from the mast above gave a signal he had spotted the scout party on the river bank. Kevin signed he would pull the boat over to the side of the bank just a short way up the river where the water was deeper close to the side. Once again the survey party was complete, Kevin made for the deeper water out in the centre of the river progress was now a little faster. Harris was the first to raise a question with Kevin “how long will we be able to travel in this boat, surely there is a power supply that will need to be replaced”? Kevin smiled raised an eyebrow at Harris and winked. “I thought your orders were not to involve yourself in bigger technology”? Soste sat in the corner and raised his head to listen to the conversation between Kevin and Harris as much interested in the answers as Harris. Harris was at a loss for what to say Kevin saved him from his predicament. “We are running on a rechargeable battery system, but it won’t work till the sun has risen and gives the solar panels a chance to start to generate power to the batteries, we also have two other spare fully charged packs. I think that while one pack runs the boat one will recharge and we have a spare in case of difficulties, if you look just below the wheelhouse you will see a meter that tells us the present condition of the battery that is operating the boat at the moment. There are other things but I don’t think you need the information at the moment, as none of it is critical“. Kevin hadn’t told Soste or Harris that he was unsure of how long each pack would last or of the fact he would have to tie up to the riverbank to change the battery packs over. Estimating his speed was above running pace even though they were going up the river against the flow. They should be able to outpace any but the fastest of the Asov trackers and they could continue on while any chasing party no matter how fast would have to make stops more often than them to rest and recuperate.
The first great hurdle to navigate on the river would not be to far ahead. A bar of concrete jutted out into the river about one third of the way diverting the flow towards the old pumping station downriver, but after the station had closed no-one had thought to do anything about the semi dam.
The main problem was that it caused the river to run considerably faster at this point as the water tried to avoid the dam area. And it would take the full power of a new battery pack to get them past this point. Kevin gave orders to pull in to the side of the embankment to make the change over of batteries a little easier on the Ami’s. Kevin didn’t remember all the obstacles up the river but he and his son had taken the boat quite a distance, but never as far as Glenoe. The river path didn’t go much further turning off as it did into the wood at the end of the cliffs. At this point Kevin and his son had to follow the river through a few fields.
Well at least that helped a little as it gave any pursuers a harder time negotiating the riverbank and all the barriers fallen branches outcrops of stone and the like. Kevin could feel the boat slowing now as it got closer to the dam a few onboard had noticed the drop off in speed and were peering into the darkness of the night to see if they could make out the reason for it. Jutting out of the embankment was a large overhead branch to which the boat was fastened. The crew of Ami’s assigned to the changing of the batteries all wore the fingers from the rubber gloves on their arms as Kevin had instructed them to do back in the garage, giving them some protection. After a few mishaps none to serious the batteries were successfully changed and the boat started off with a new leaf of life up river again.