Unwelcome Wagon Part 13

Fawkes was incredulous. “You didn’t intervene?”

Jared watched as the boat’s cargo ramp lifted and sealed. “There’s a name for people who board ships uninvited,” he answered, turning his head to muffle the rising whine of Lunar Veil’s atmo engines. Their roar gained intensity, forcing him to cup a palm over his cortex. “Piracy’s not a good look for our clientele.”

“So, these men,” the distant employer recounted, “fell upon you with the notion of stealing the cargo.”

Hearing was becoming difficult. The horse stamped and dithered as hot air from the boat’s upthrust kicked up clouds of angry dust. It whipped about them as Jared reined the animal away. “They might not call it theft. One of them mentioned ‘getting her back,” he replied.

“Her.” The channel fell silent.

“My reaction, too. As you can hear,” he paused while the boat lifted off, her struts folding up into their wells as she heaved herself upward, “the captain’s wasting no time in departing.”

“With the cargo.”


“And we can’t be certain if ‘her’ is actually a ‘her.”

“Also correct.”

“Hmm,” Fawkes pondered. “Pity you couldn’t have compelled them to open that crate outside the confines of the boat.”

Carnes watched the departing ship. “The captain’s not putting me on his Noel card list anytime soon. He already started one gunfight. I don’t conjure...hold on...well, this just got interesting.”

A band of horsemen approached, riding at a hard gallop. This posse appeared better organized, more professional in its’ overall bearing. The afternoon sun glinted on the tin of a number of badges. Their leader was a man of roughly thirty years, his darkened skin more a reflection of heritage than the piercing local star. “You there!” he shouted as the business end of his pistol came to bear.. “You are bound by law! Get those hands up!”

“Mister Carnes? What’s happening?”

“I’m gonna be a little busy, Fawkes,” Jared spoke before lifting his arms in supplication. “Hello, Sheriff. There’s a nine millimeter in a cross draw holster on my belt. That’s my only weapon.”

Three guns bore upon him as a deputy rode alongside. Upon disarming him, she took his cortex, cutting the transmission as she rode clear of her counterparts’ fields of fire. “Now,” the Sheriff commanded, “Dismount...slow as your old gram, or I’ll put a fifth corpse on the ground. Dohn mah?”

“Yes, sir.” His left hand took it’s sweet time coming down to grip the saddlehorn. Jared complied, slowly swinging his right leg over the horse to lower himself to the dusty ground. I wonder who cooks for the jail? he mused as both hands went up again.

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