They've got ray guns.

I edged up, woozily -- I'm always a little dizzy when I first wake up/get back from Hell -- and looked over the edge of the gondola that hung below the dirigible. I heard the buzzing of the solar engine as it pushed us through the air. The dirigible, I noticed, was bright yellow. All dirigibles are brightly colored, but I wished, in that moment, that we could have maybe had one that would not glow like the sun even at night. A bright yellow dirigible held in the sky by hot air, which air is heated by a flame which lights up the inside of the dirigible, is no doubt a desirable thing to have if you are a dignified southern gentleman, or even the sexy lesbian daughter of said gentlemen. But it makes it easier for the cops following you on the ground to see you.

I looked at those cops now, and saw two electrocars scooting along the road. We were not moving fast enough to make them use their gas engines. They were struggling, I could tell, because Brigitte or Doc had opted to pick a course that slanted across the roads. From the passenger side of each of the two cop cars that was following us, a cop hung out, and I guessed that they were hollering directions to the drivers inside.

Then I saw one taking aim. I guessed wrong.

A flash of slightly-glowing air appeared in front of me and I felt a little bit of heat. I looked up, worriedly, in case the ray gun had done something to the dirigible, but it hadn't.

Doc, a long time after all this, explained to me how ray guns worked. It has to do with heating each molecule in a chain between the gun and the target or something. I was sorry I asked him. But this ray gun, despite zapping the dirigible directly, didn't do anything.

The cop continued to point it at us. I felt the heat again, saw the air glow a little brighter off to my left, and saw the gondola melt a little near my left hand. The plastimetal burbled and boiled and dripped and it was melting down.

Doc scrambled up to the chain that hung down from the solar heater and pulled it down. I heard a buzzing sound, louder than our engine, and saw the yellow above me glow a little brighter. The dirigible rose, slowly at first, and then more rapidly.

The cop wasn't smart enough or good enough to adjust his aim, and the ray gun stopped melting the gondola. We rose a little higher and then a little higher.

Mr. Damned Soul looked at me with dull eyes, and then said, in a croaking voice,

"Where am I?"

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