Hen-Leo

The weather on Valentine was irritatingly perfect as Riley stood beside the familiar sign of “Passengers Wanted, Crew Needed, Few Questions Asked." They’d managed to pick up one potential crew mate and one passenger- the latter of which didn’t sit well with the pilot at all. She made one final attempt to talk the Captain out of it right before he was set to head back to town. Being he was only semi-pickled by that point, she could still have a coherent conversation with him, maybe persuade him in another direction.

“Sir, Are you sure we want to let that piece of shit back onto the ship?”

“We both know you’re going to have to be more specific than that,” he replied, tipping his hat back, "if you want me to know who you're referring to."

“The passenger, the Hen-Leo guy. We literally just had a conversation about him not an hour ago.”

“Him. Right. Well, the way I see it -- we take passengers all the time we ain’t too fond of, you think I really wanted to spend time with …” He snapped his fingers a few times

“Adryiel?” Riley offered, getting a blank stare in return. “Rymond? Lasson? Sir we could be here all day, you’re not great with names.”

“Recently. Mother-in-law, newlywed…”

“Mrs. Higgins?” Riley asked, well aware that she could make up any name at that point and the Captain would think it correct.

“Yes! We don’t have to like any of ‘em, they’re all da-shiang bao--”

“Elephant shit,” Riley interrupted, finishing the sentence for him.

“But they pay well, and you can't deny that the crew does like to get compensated. Hen-Leo paid up front - in cash near double our ask rate, that’s something.”

“That’s shady is what that is.”

The Captain gave his best incredulous look. “Rooster boy? The verse’s most wanted mechanic? Docs and local cops? That shifty guy with the accent? Who on this ship isn’t shady? We have a seven year old who stabbed a Fed for rut's sake! But look, if you really don’t want him on this ship, say the word and I’ll --”

“I really don’t want him on this ship.”

“Well, tough. He paid up front.” Keller responded. “And I used the money for Fuel Cells plus a down payment for our next job. Consider this an override.”

“What do you mean-- a down payment for our next job? Sir, you understand how jobs work, right? We do them, we get paid? Please tell me you didn’t pay for something with a ‘sure thing buyer’ lined up when we get there?

“I think you fail to understand the words ‘sure thing.’ “ The Captain responded, heading back on his way.

“What did you buy? “ Her question went unanswered. “Sir? What did you buy?”

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