Welcome, Wagons, and Getting to Know You Pt. 7

"Anikah, this is Charles. Charles, Anikah," Serena said, making with the introductions. "She's a companion which means we're supposed to treat her nice because she pays for the shuttle.

The companion bowed her head slightly in the direction of Charles before Tim Casey called her attention.

"Ms. Vidar," Tim said, tipping an imaginary hat. "You sure you want to tag along? Captain's got us pretty well armed, which usually means he's expecting trouble. I fully believe you are a woman who can defend herself, but I wanted to warn you that this is gearing up to be messy."

A look of amusement crossed her pristine features, "How gallant, Tim Casey, but how could I miss our first rodeo? Oh," she flashed a toothy smile at the pilot as she passed him to the wagon, "I don't mind getting messy now and again." As soon as turned away, she did a double take to add, "And your faith is duly noted."

At that, the Companion took Tim's helping hand and settled into a spot on the well-worn, wooden fore seat of the wagon. From her new vantage point she could pivot to see the newest addition to their little caravan, a tall man with slightly salted hair at his temples. It was hard to read him from his resting pose and hardened eyes, but his presence was telling in itself. Anikah faced forward from her lingering look, an errant curl escaping from the tightly bound bun at the crown of her head.

When Tim announced they were ready to go, the Companion nodded, amused at his antics, before sending another wary glance at the man whose horse darkened their rear.

"Meantime everyone off, till at least we get this issue squared." Jago ordered.

The Captain's words brought her thoughts back to ground as she took Tim's hand again for the dust of Meadow. The ensuing conversation degraded into machine parts, jacks, and 'shoring up the leaf.' To this, the Companion chose only to hear Vas' admonition for Serena to brew some tea. Their departure had been delayed, but not long, if Kowalski was right.

In light of their delay, it might serve, she thought, to beat the bushes and see what information might lay at hand regarding this endeavor. And with that notion, the Companion approached the man on his horse at a saunter, hands in her pockets. As she neared him, a slender hand rose to shield her hazel eyes as she gazed into the shadow cast by his hat.

"Hello there," she called, gauging his expression, "Seeing as you'll be along for the ride, why don't you come and have a cup of tea while you wait? Serena's not half bad at it--boiling water, that is." She followed his gaze to Jago and back, "He won't mind," Anikah added with a smirk.

<Tag Jared>

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