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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ADVENTURE
Serenity has found a cargo of wine is actually oil.
There are complications. Book and Kaylee are taking in the town of Candle.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1109 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Serenity has discovered that a cargo of wine is actually oil.
This story takes place just prior to Those Left Behind.
part two - oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Wouldn't seem possible to put a stain upon the stars... but the unwholesome looking craft - dipping through the black, between the splinters of light and down below the curvature of the red apple moon - well, it seemed to do just that.
The Justice had a reputation, 'almost Reaverish' as many said. This made the ship's Captain sleep just happy at night... but then Captain Lancy shared both the appearance and the reputation of his vessel.
Right now as his boat smeared between the lunar ring tracking its righteous fugitive, Lancy's face was bent low over a gun - Winchester styled, fine piece taken as part payment for the arrest of Clytus Hale - that son of a hump. Lancy had no particular love of the weapon - but he was mighty proud of some of the dances he'd been to with that lady on his arm.
"Got a fine barn-swing now coming up - and I aint mistaking..." Lancy was polishing the barrels, his face emerging through the dun as it cleared. "Or a polka maybe," laughing. "Either way," he studded his reflection - now vivid in the metal, "shiny."
And not long in the waiting neither.
"Hey!" Mal banged hard on the door to the Washburn/Alleyne suite. "You got my pilot stashed away in there some place, Zoë?"
Reynolds shifted impatiently, folding his arms. He could hear vague sounds from within. Just as he was about to knock some more, Mal heard Zoe's voice.
"My mistake Sir, I took this hot young thing to be my lawful wedded, guess I was wrong."
Mal was in no mood for this. "Guess you were. Tell Wash to -"
"Tell me yourself Mal." Wash appeared in the doorway, a little ruffled. On its own that told little, Wash was ruffled incarnate - but the air coming out the door was a tad, uh, ripe. Mal concentrated on the annoyed looking face of his pilot.
Wash was annoyed, often so when Mal spoke to him through Zoë. "Well lookit that," he was saying, "real live man, standing right here. Ai Ya! ! When did that happen?"
Mal matched the flyer's expression. "Don't recall as how I pay you for chuckle provision," he said.
"Don't recall as how you pay me much at all," Wash snapped back.
"Then you'll be grateful for this earning opportunity, all you gotta do is get up top and remember how to work the stick."
Mal and Wash were going to nose now. "You do remember how don't you?" Mal grated.
"He does that, Sir." Zoë had appeared behind Wash; she had something of a glow on. Mal looked at the floor. Gorram it! "We got a job to be doing," he said. "Be glad to see my crew get a grip of the priorities here."
Wash looked at Zoë. Zoë looked at Wash - then Wash looked back at the empty space where the Captain had stood - a mournful string of Chinese curses could be heard drifting vaguely down the aether of the corridor.
Wash turned to his wife. "Hot young thing? You want I should grip your priorities some more?"
Zoë gave Wash an affectionate slap on the can. "Get," she said.
"Yes, Lamby - Sir." Wash began to hunt for his shoes.
Slouching his way towards his bunk again, Jayne Cobb was careful not to drip, slop and splash the oil covering him, last thing crew needed was a dumb accident down to him. Him? Hell, Mal was the one who set the gorram deal. Jayne's feet slapped sadly as he made it to his cabin, opening the door he threw the screwed up mess of his vest shirt into the corner, cussing to his best ability.
Next, he hiked off his pants and grabbed the tin tub from where it rested, up-ended, in the corner behind some clothes belonging to Book, hung to dry. Jayne did his best not to drip oil on them. Finally he grabbed one of his favourite nightdresses - spoils of a long distant salvage - and stumbled off back down the corridor, dragging the tub behind him.
Strolling through the warm gold of the early afternoon, Shepherd Book and Kaylee took in the sights of the town called Candle. They walked together comfortably, with Kaylee resting a hand on the lean arm of the Preacher. It reminded the mechanic of that day at the races, the Preacher and her taking a tour around the tents, Mal trying to steal a horse and River playing fingersmith for Badger. That had been the last fun Kaylee could conjure - well, saving that rich resort they'd stopped at... and that was only fun for a while. Thinking on that made her stiffen slightly. Book felt the change, was forced to shift the weight of his shoulder-slung bag, and he looked at her enquiringly.
"You really think Inara's gonna leave?" Kaylee tilted her head up from under the wide brim of her soft khaki hat. The Shepherd could see that even her freckles were frowning. No half measures with Kaylee. One hand was resting on her hip. It was, noted Book, a stubborn posture.
"Seems likely," he said.
"Well I don't follow the why of that at all."
"There are many reasons a person might want to do so - with a purpose... I have thought about it myself..."
Kaylee looked startled, so the Shepherd added amended himself quickly. "About why I left the Abbey, my reasons... perhaps Inara feels the like."
But that was the issue for Kaylee. "Aint just about Inara, there's Mal. Plain as day those two got... affections, needs... they're wanting... uh..."
Kaylee went crimson from toe to ear and put a hand to her mouth to stifle a rising laugh. Book smiled patient. Gulping, Kaylee managed to say " hwoon-chiou! . Shame on you Shepherd Book! Sometimes - you - you..."
Book raised an amused eyebrow.
"You got a mischief minded humour Shep'," Kaylee concluded.
Book seemed content enough with that. He waited patiently while Kaylee calmed herself. A few moments and she was back on topic once again.
"Well I still don't... " There was the interrupting clatter of a horse and trap. Two stout men nodded in formal fashion to the pretty lass and the Preacher.
Book waited till the noise had passed. "Perhaps there is more at play here Kaylee, perhaps some affections can be recognised and some hidden. And perhaps the Captain and Inara are aware of that."
"Perhaps little, perhaps much." They had come to a stop, a wide curving of the road. Book turned at the kerb, facing Kaylee. "The Captain is very protective of his crew, I learned that and quick - but owning up to his affections? Not so easy..."
"And he loves Serenity." Kaylee knew well the truth of that.
"So it would seem - and I suspect Inara does too."
"Then why - I mean, if they..." Kaylee's confusion made her put her lean back, hands in her pockets - as though balancing her body might balance her mind - and whatever was troubling. The Shepherd looked at her with sympathy.
"Oh child, sometimes that's just not enough. And besides there have been... others."
Kaylee sniffed. "Customers don't mean much to 'Nara."
"I was not talking of... customers - nor did I mean Inara."
"Mal? Oh... Nandi..." Kaylee's voice trailed off.
"Indeed," Book nodded. "When there is another - source of affection, that can lead to difficulty, people struggle to acknowledge the truth of that sometimes. Yet love is often divided - it is still love. People are afraid that love diminishes - I don't believe that. People should have more faith. I hope the Captain will realise that in time. Love for one shows the love for all, whether a ship, a... lover or..."
"Kin." Kaylee finished the sentence for him - and sighed. "You aint meaning the Captain so much now are you?"
"I was going to say God. But yes, perhaps - it is a truth for us all, in different ways."
Hell of a sermon, thought Kaylee, she was feeling uncomfortable.
Simon Tam was never happy to deliver news to Captain Reynolds. Any news - Reynolds moods were quixotic to say the least - despite the veneer of easy smoothness and his natural charisma. Alone in a room, and most especially his cabin - Mal seemed to embrace an inner darkness. Jayne could mock all he wanted - and he did - but Simon felt no shame in admitting that he was often afraid of Mal. The man could be terrifying. It was therefore some relief to know that the Captain was up in the cockpit. The downside to that was that Mal would be prepping for the launch, for the leaving.
It was for this reason that the Doctor smiled at Wash as he made his way into the pilot's den. Mal had his back to them both since he was poring over some maps or such in the co-pilot seat.
Wash however, was no help to Simon. "What's up Doc?" asked the Pilot. "I know a nervous smile when I see one. Take it from me - I'm a black-belt - I'll show you." He gurned quickly by way of demonstration. Yes, thank you Wash, queasy now. Simon was forced to look back to Mal. The Captain was eyeing him sideways. "Something I can help you with?" asked Mal.
"It appears - well, Jayne dropped one of the barrel he was loading and -"
Simon flashed a nervous grin. "But the thing, Captain, is he's covered in oil - I mean, that's what was in the barrel. Oil. I gather you had been lead to believe something different."
Mal looked all sorts of angered - holding up a shushing hand and pointing it towards Wash who was laughing hysterically and asking, "Messy much?"
Simon nodded but was sensible enough to leave it at that. Mal had begun to curse in his particular fluid way - but he stopped. "Hang fire, Wash - this is..." He clicked the long coiled Comm Mic. "Zoë? You decent?"
"Not merely, Sir. We got a problem?"
"On my way."
Despite her best intentions, Inara was more than a little relieved when her time with Han Jin Tao was cut short. The comm-link began to buzz insistently -someone was waving at her. Without haste but swift all the same, Inara put her book down and moved from the bed to the computer, reading the ID signal as she did so. It was not one she recognised. Intrigued, she hit the screen buttons for receive. An envelope shaped box appeared - opened and filled the monitor.
It was Sheydra.
" Ni Hao! " said Inara, "this is a very pleasant surprise." Even as she spoke Inara took in the formal posture, the high collared clothes and the deliberate expressions worn by her friend. Curiouser and curiouser. "Why Sheydra - you look positively regal."
" Ni Hao ," came the polite response. Too polite. Inara's soft eyes hid the fact that she was looking at the woman closely still - observing, noting - reading what she could. Sheydra had a serious look to her but - she was holding back, not words, no - she was obviously nerving herself to speak - and speak fulsome, but she was keeping her feelings in check.
Inara smiled encouragingly. "So tell me, I'm right in thinking you're making progress? The training house - admissions are good?"
Sheydra nodded. "Yes, we're expanding, but... it's complicated."
"Tell me jing shen , it's not like you to be shy." Ouch! Inara tutted to herself.
"It concerns Nandi."
"Nandi's dead," Inara said flatly. "She was murdered."
Sheydra nodded, "I know. The Guild knows. It's... a situation."
"Burgess is dead too..."
"No tears shed here on that," Inara said plainly - but Merciful Buddha, I sound like Mal!
Sheydra shook her head. "I'm not surprised to hear you say so. But being dead? That means no trial, no evidence presented. No ill reputation entered into record. Nandi can't testify from the grave." Sheydra caught herself. "Oh, I'm sorry to be so blunt Inara."
Inara waved this away and Sheydra continued - cautiously. "What... did you think was going to happen next Inara?"
No point in answering that.
"Anyway," said Sheydra, still sitting stiffly. "There's a power vacuum. Burgess had no/one to take the reins of his petty empire from him. His will leaves everything to a son that doesn't exist."
She paused to give Inara time to absorb that. Sheydra's agitation was manifest though - as she sought to flick at stray blonde hairs, there were none. Her coiffure was immaculate.
"There's going to be an auction." She managed a smile at that. "A planet auction - they're rare - I always wanted to attend one."
"And the girls?"
"The Alliance has cleared them out - raised the place to the ground, done much the same to Burgess’s place if it's any consolation. They have de-facto control till the auction; it makes sure the profits will go to them. Of course - eventually the mineral wealth, resources, food - all these things will go their way too. In time."
"And the girls?" Inara asked again, more firmly.
"We have most of them here - and they speak highly of you I must add, you and the gallant Captain Reynolds. But these girls are... lost."
"I see." Inara had taken on the sort of formality Sheydra had tried, but Inara had something Sheydra lacked. Authority. "And the complication?"
This was the root. "It occurred to me," said Sheydra, "that with Guild protection - authorisation - the girls will be able to return to their home and to genuine safety, at last."
"So you are training them?"
"Yes, subject to Guild assessment the girls will be all be registered prior to their return. They will go home as Companions." There was satisfaction in that... and Inara shared it... with reservations.
"But that means the Guild are -"
"Already involved in our affairs. Yes." A sigh. "They have 'reclaimed' Nandi it would seem. Hypocrites. Of course there's profit for them too." Quite suddenly the faux-formality and the genuine reservation, cracked. Sheydra moved in close to the screen, her voice urgent.
"Inara - we -I need you, here. Not only are the girls asking for you but you would make a very fine buffer between them and the Alliance... and the Guild."
"They would be dependent on you."
"I have never sought dependants, Sheydra." Inara chided, then smiled quickly. "But rest assured, I take this matter very seriously. Thank you for bringing it to my attention - I'll be in touch."
Inara clicked the comm-link off and sat back to chew on her bottom lip.
Mal and Zoë were making their way down the high street of candle in much the same direction as Kaylee and Book. Their demeanour, mood and speed were however far removed from their fellow companions. For a start, Mal was yelling and spinning around on his feet as he did so. Zoë was, as was her way, unflapped.
"Dammit Zoë - don't look at me like that, this is NOT my fault!"
Zoë shrugged. "Don't believe I said it was Sir. Only thing that makes me pause is the fact that we have Jayne's accident to thank for knowing about whatever it is we don't actually know about. Sir."
Mal gave a dour smile. "Yeah... Won't be long till he figures it was deliberate Cobb sense for the fishy."
"But the Doc' says his sister was the one behind it."
"Yeah it does don't it..." Mal sounded thoughtful. "But I don't - oil? Why not just get the gorram labels right? Price only changes from place to place."
"Could be they were testing us?"
"Only thing being tested is my patience as always. It don't tally Zoë - it just - we had good sources on this right? Was supposed to be a fair deal - Drayton's are known. Good family."
"There any such thing anymore - really Sir?"
And suddenly one of those impulsive unpredictable grins lit the Reynolds face. "That's up to you and Wash - I do believe."
Zoë refused to be drawn on THAT topic - she made a point of coolly looking away, looking around and about and - up. "Sir?"
"Huh?" He followed Zoe's gaze. High above was a ship tracking in - nasty looking vapour trail in its wake. Mal swore.
Mal was still frowning up at the blue - and the tarry trail of the in-bound craft. "Best you go take a look-see."
"Yessir." Zoë moved off with swift and powerful strides. Mal watched her for a moment then ducked into the shadows as he made for an alley leading to the hose he needed to find.
"River?" Simon was hoarse from repeating the question - and doing so in such a hokey fashion, keeping his voice low, gentle. "River?"
He was peering behind the Mule which, when not in use, was often strapped up right against the far bay wall. In fact it was also behind a great many crates and toolboxes.
"Mei Mei? You there?" His face was beginning to ache - it was hard to keep two expressions going at once. Concern, worry - sure... but River might - might - just be playing a game... and the wrong reaction would send her, his own sister, scurrying back into a corner wailing away from him in terror. He was almost crawling now to get a view under the front forks of the mule - her voice, when Simon finally heard it, was not reassuring. River was mumbling to herself - talking in tongues almost - fractured Galactic-Chinese and English. " shiao - and they wriggle - in the underneath, black blood - no, red..."
Simon Tam froze. His sister's face appeared literally from nowhere - hanging upside down beside him. She was dangling in an impossible manner from the hooks that held the mule. "Come down Mei-Mei," Simon asked - urgency creeping in. "It's ok - we're not, no/one's mad at you for... Jayne."
"Covered in primordial slime, did I bend time? No - not time - bent the truth. Time doesn't bend - the shape of time cannot be articulated only enumerated." She dropped without warning - tumbling down onto her brother, pinning him - her eyes were wide wild. He thought she might hit him. "Is this the puppet show?" she hissed, "is it?!"
"River - I..."
"Clockwork," River sighed - and suddenly she was rolling onto her side and he was gazing into those wide wide eyes. Sanpaku. A single tear trickling down to drip on the hard Serenity floor. "I know, I know," she said. "You... love." Simon nodded, reaching a slow hand to ease the hair away from her neck where it had tangled. "That's right Mei-Mei, love."
His sister sighed. "You can make me sleep now. I won't tell."
"Lucky for me then!"
They had arrived like phantoms, a cluster of brutal looking dusty men, carrying brutal looking undusty weapons. Simon and River were looking straight up at two of them now.
"Shhh." Said a voice - but much like his sister, Simon but rarely heeded a call for quiet. He rolled over quickly and kicked out with a trained medic's eye - the spot he connected with was a vulnerable point near the ankle - it was a human weak spot given to bad sprains and oedema. The man whose ankle took the kick did not cry out but his leg gave at the knee and he was downed instantly, his head striking the edge of the mule as he fell. In the distraction and unnoticed - River slipped away. Simon jumped to his feet and took the full force of the riflebutt from the second man. That made two crumpled figures littering the bay floor.
Strange though, thought Lancy - he could've sworn from Takei's tone that his compadre had been talking to a girl. No sign of one now - and no hiding place. Not to fret.
Lancy signalled to his men to fan out. There was a beep from a device on his belt - sense-pad, Lancy had dropped it just by the exit gates. Someone was coming.
The shop was very carefully placed, thought Book. Not far from the port - on the wide curve dividing the two tiers of the main street. Folk would think they had come to a natural stop - they would wait for traffic, they would look at the sky, turn to each other... and realise they were stood in front of a large dark window. The sign painted across almost obscuring the display. The large oak door was painted black with elaborate tracings of silver. Folk would be intrigued. Just like Kaylee. She beckoned the Shepherd over and together they peered in on the clockwork display. "Oh we have to go in," said Kaylee excitably.
She heaved the door open and Book followed her. The interior was cool, dark and - more dark. Took a whiles till either could make out the lines of shelves, the obstacle course of open crates and trunks, the incredible number of dolls and figures about them.
"You think Simon might like one of these?" Kaylee was over and examining a shelf before the Shepherd could really see. "They're real fancy - clever." Kaylee held up a small figure, a dancing animal - like a bear but with the striped shadings of something fantastic. There were tiny cymbals in its paws and a branch of somekind in its maw. Book was slow to reply - which made Kaylee blush. "I know, I aint got an eye for..." She put the bear back.
Book - who in truth had simply been waiting for his eyes to adjust said, "I'm sure the boy would very pleased. These do look rather elaborate. I daresay that's a rarity - and worth the gifting." He smiled.
Relieved, Kaylee smiled back.
"My, my," said a voice from the dark. "What large hearted guests - I'm glad to receive you."
As the two shipmates turned a man emerged from the back of the shadowed shop. For a moment it was as if he had himself come down from one of the shelves. He waved a jerky hand in greeting. "My name is Jossiah Bell, I am the proprietor here and I hope I can be of service." The voice too was a little stiff; the mouth was wide and thin across an astonishingly round face and head.
"We're glad to meet you," said Book. Stepping forward it was instinct that made him move in front of Kaylee. "I am Shepherd Book, my friend is Kaylee."
Bell was appraising the Preacher with a pair of keen eyes, blue/green the colour of algae. He bowed, again stiffly. "Well met Pilgrim," he said. "Do we stand on upon the square?"
"I wish that were so. But we're not running in circles - and that is a welcome change."
"Ha ha. Shrewd and disarming - but then I suppose a Preacher may have a practised tongue."
"As indeed may a shop-keep," replied Book tartly.
Bell seemed to take no offence, content to point out that he also had an eye for detail. "Which is a benefit of my employment no doubt. For example I see that you are new to this town - indeed I would go so far as to say that you are off-worlders. The young lady is a mechanic - I hope you can appreciate my humble skills m'dear, even if the scale is different. That you have arrived but recently is also plain and that you have recently been through some adventure. You appear to be in robust working order - but I am not a Doctor and beyond that, well I can only inquire."
Book and Kaylee blinked.
"Ah. I'm sorry - yes," the old man gave a wheezy approximation of a laugh. "I have spent too long among the tin and the copper. I'm afraid I may lack the social graces. Also, I read too much." He chuckled again as if at some private joke.
Book 'hmmmed' but Kaylee was restless - she grabbed a figure from the shelf, another unlikely looking animal, and held it out to the man. "These are real good. Got a friend would 'preciate the brains. How much for...?"
Bell bumped forward, examining the piece and stating the price. As he was explaining the mechanism, Book moved back and began studying some of the shelves further off.
"And you see," Bell was finishing up, "just a few small stains on your dungarees - and a smudge here by the crown. But I deal with oil and solder well enough to recognise them."
"Well," Kaylee was creeped, "that is really something - I could use eyes like that when I'm in the engines... which is where I should be getting back. Capt'n be like to yell some and we miss the launch window."
"Of course, my dear of course."
"What -" Book was engrossed, he had found a mechanical statue of Jesus, part of a frieze in which, as the figure slowly descended through a trapdoor a metal dove shot down and touched to its head. "I'll be along in a moment."
"Ah, you like this piece?" Bell came over to the Shepherd - and if either heard Kaylee's exit they neither reacted. "Time was I had this in the window. Been a while now. Customers seem to prefer the funny."
"I find that's often the case."
"You preach then... a small congregation?"
"Of one," admitted Book. "It has been too long perhaps since I took the pulpit."
"You still got the moves?"
Book was not pleased with the flippancy. "I wouldn't phrase it that way myself but..."
"Forgive me. As I said - I've rarely spent time among people, unless you count 'have a nice day'."
"But you haven't always been a - toymaker, have you?"
Bell seemed to encourage a guess.
Bell nodded. "I daresay we've all had different trades in our time. I'm sure you'd agree?"
The man smiled his artificial smile again - but he was looking at the Shepherd searchingly. "Blood on both our hands..." he said, moving a little closer.
Four men down. There'd been worse days - but Lancy had to hand it to the lady, she'd stepped into the bay looking stern enough but, woah, being surprised by men with lethal arms... well that just seemed to bring out something plain mean in her.
All the same - broken jaws, and getting shot with their own guns aside, the rest of the posse had swooped in - and that made two hostages for four men. Lancy could live with that. Couldn't say the same for the hostages of course.
They were waiting now. Lancy had flicked on the bay comm and monitored his voice around Serenity - calling for the Captain to surrender in an honourable fashion. This was a registered legal posse after all and Justice must be seen to be done.
The Captain had agreed - was on his way.
Lancy yawned, even as he heard the cautious footsteps from the walkway above.
"Captain Malcolm Reynolds..." he said, and slowly, as the man moved into view down the spiral steps into the bay. He was armed - but so what? Lancy made sure to press his weather-beaten face forward menacingly. "Hell. You don't seem so tough to me. You look kinda scared!"
There was a murmur of agreement from the rest of his boys, encouraging the man to tap his prisoner hard with the barrel of his Winchester. The woman made no complaint.
Hoban Washburne took a deep breath.
"Scared?" He was off the stairs now and facing the mob. "Ha! Scared is the wind beneath my wings buddy! Don't get me scared - you wouldn't like me when I'm - scared..." He checked himself - the reaction he was getting from the hardfaced posse was minimal, to say best, a chuckle perhaps from the youngest of the mob. You're not playing for chuckles now gorram it! That's your WIFE there...
He tried again, narrowing his eyes. "First comes the scared, ok, but then comes panic and that means a whole whoop-ass can of shooting and pain. I am Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Death follows in my wake. Death - and bruising."
He gulped for air again - his cheeks were flushed - the silence from the - the men with GUNS Wash! He couldn't even feel the pistol in his own hand - even as he waved it about erratically.
At last the tallest of the posse - the one whose rifle was actually pressed to the back of Zoe's head - spoke. "Shut up!"
It was a start though right? "Ask - ask me nicely huh?" said Wash, waving his gun some more. The response he got was a growl, like a bear whose honey had just been stolen. go-se on that! thought Wash. It's MY honey's been stole.
"Listen," he said - trying to use only the side of his mouth. "We're all decent people - folk. We can just click back a notch and -"
- click! - click! - click! - Ker-click! -
GAH! Wrong clicking, wrong clicking! and back to the panic.
"Ask me nicely," he said again, "please."
The leader nodded indulgently. "Shut up - please."
"See this aint so difficult." Wash grinned.
Zoë had kept silent, kept her peace, held her tongue to watch the play - but enough was enough. "You're going to die, dear." She looked Wash in the eye as her voice carried clear.
Wash did a theatrical double take but recovered himself. "What?! No! That's... Aint gonna happen Zoë, I keep my promises sweetie, I aint dying for a long time..." He was grinning and blinking at the same time - but Zoë could read the very real anger and determination in his eyes.
The posse leader leant down to whisper to his hostage, Wash wished he could hear what was said.
"He must really like you..." Lancy whispered.
Zoë said nothing. The gun prodded. "Who is he exactly?"
"That's my husband."
Lancy laughed openly - which brought a sycophantic round of titters from his crew. "And, er," his voice was sly, still cackling. "Whoo! - Um, then - you must like him some too I reckon."
"I really do."
Lancy's laughter cut off real quick - like a plug ripped clean from a wall. "Well now," he breathed. "At long last... danger."
"Truth often is," said Zoë simply.
Wash had been trying to follow the conversation - but he couldn't make it out. Maybe I've got sweat in my ears, he thought. Oh - he became aware that the posse had gone quiet again - were eyeballing him, straight barrelled. The leader shrugged. "Your move Mr Husband."
end of pt 2
next chapter: A job for the Ambassador....
many thanks for the feedback so far. Hope this keeps its interest...
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