Springingtiger's Blog


Chapter 17: Hitching a Ride
November 17, 2016, 23:22
Filed under: Justice, Politics, Religion, Technology, Travel, Writing | Tags: ,

 

Tweed and I walked down to Sung’s office to to see what happened next. Sung came in with his tablet and compared the photographs of the dead men with the details on the wanted bulletins on the database. He dictated a short account of what had happened and uploaded it to the Office of Corrections.

The McGuinness twins arrived about half an hour later. Sung had insisted they organise the disposal of the bodies. Sam was about to make introductions, but Brian said,

“No need for introductions. We know Brigadier Tweed by reputation and Cain is a legend even among our people.”

Brianna added, “Our ship is outside town. If you wish passage Cain you will be welcome.”

I knew the twins belonged to one of the old races on Earth, their ancestors had arrived with the Old Gods and made their base in Europe. While the twins were centuries younger that I, they would still remember Earth and I longed for an opportunity to reminisce so I accepted their offer.

Sung ordered food from the Cantina. He explained that Pilar would bring it to the office as the townsfolk were a little uneasy after the mornings events. He expected acknowledgement of his report soon after which he’d be grateful if the twins left quickly.

Dinner was enjoyable as we recalled some of the better moments of the rebellion as well as lost comrades. Los Alamos was a cow town so Pilar brought both steaks and chilli, cornbread, peas, potatoes, creamed corn and a large cake. After she set down the cake she took a bottle of Bushmills from her aprom pocket and handed it to Tweed.

“Unless we get a new shipment soon,” Pilar told Tweed, “you will have to drink local whiskey.”

“Oh Jeez, No!” Exclaimed the old man. He looked thoughtful and then said, “It is curious how after all these years shipments are still arriving. I wouldn’t have thought they’d still have distillers on Earth. I certainly wouldn’t expect shipments to find their way to this godforsaken end of the ‘verse!”

“I have heard it said,” said Sung, “that the seat of the Imperial Government is actually Earth and not Mu Two. I had a group of techies through here about a year ago who told me that the Mu Capitol was nothing more than a huge server farm and comms relay station. According to them the end point was Earth.”

“Well I don’t know much about the centre,” declared Brianna, “but as far as I can see things are pretty much as they’ve always been. Although when I think about it the Empire seems more enlightened than some human governments I’ve known.”

Before the sheriff could ask the question that had obviously presented itself to him she quickly added, “We’ve travelled a lot.”

Sung smiled and said, “I know all about Cain. I’ve seen things on New Texas that turned every think I knew upside down. I’m not easily surprised any more, But I know better than to pry into secrets that don’t concern me. However you should perhaps be careful, people may find references to ‘our people’ coupled with the length of your memory a little suspect.”

“Thanks, Sheriff,” responded Brian, “we’ll try and be more careful!”

The Comms terminal bleeped and Sam looked at the screen. “Right, let me just type in my verification code…and that’s you Twenty Thousand Imperial Credits better off. If you need any of it in hard currency I can have a word with Mr Collins at the bank.”

“No we’re good.” Said Brianna,

“So Cain, are you ready to move?” Asked Brian.

“Sure. I just need to pick up my stuff from the boarding house, get my saddle from the livery and see if I can sell my horse.”

“If it’s a good one, bring it along if you like. You can stable it in the hold with ours.” Said Brianna.

And so it was that I found myself travelling the Outer Planets on the ‘Sword of Dumgoyach” with two of the most dangerous people in the Universe.

The crew were all technically Imperial employees, but you wouldn’t have known it. They certainly didn’t go in for uniforms. Tommy Ireland was the pilot and navigator, but both the McGuinnesses were pilots, as was Jackson Cody the engineer. The medical officer – a requirement of Imperial ships – Isha Malhotra, was introduced to me as an air gunner and weapons expert. When I expressed surprise Brianna explained that everyone on board need to cover a number of functions. The cook, an attractive girl called Ranjit Kaur Rai, told me she doubled as the intelligence and liaison office. She said the men just told her things, she smiled as she told me and I thought I could understand why. She also cooked the best food I had had in centuries, but then I had been on service rations for most of them and when not on rations, as often as not cooking for myself which was worse.

After travelling alone for a long time it was a pleasant change to part of a group. Of course I had travelled in company many times over the centuries, it never lasted, but it was fun while it did. The twins seemed to function as a unit and share the same mind, they worked so well together it was as if they were telepathically linked. However the whole crew was a closely knit team well used to working together and relying on each other. I felt very much like a passenger at times, but they made me very welcome.

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