When I shook off the memories of battle, I realized that there was talking going on. One of the new fellers had a top hat on and was acting like a big shot. He had these triplets fanned out behind him. They looked like they knew the business end of brass knuckles that’s for sure.
My folk had moved off to the right, keeping low and out of the way. I saw a man step out from a shed on the right, with his hands in the air. “I’m Hawks” he said. “Who wants to know?”
I just couldn’t help it. I saw red all over again and grabbed a ‘stick and punched a button. One of the mules began to move. I suppressed a giggle. I aimed it right at Hawks.
When he saw it coming, he let out a yell. The man behind him looked around wildly. “Teach you to leave me! Huh, Hawks? Not so tough now, are you Sarge?” I stopped the mule about a foot from him. All eyes swung towards me.
The man in the top hat squinted. “Who the hell are you?” His voice was bewildered.
“Swei, for goodness sake! Stop playing and come here!” Miss V’s voice cut through the tension. I hopped down from the control pad and walked slowly to where Miss V and the Doc were standing. She put her hands on her hips and said loudly, “Now. Who is going to explain this?” She looked at Hawks and at the man with the top hat. “Hmm? I’m waiting.”
The two men looked at each other. The man in the top hat smiled real big. “Well, Missy, I am the mayor of Regina and this here man is wanted fer, fer questioning.”
“Now you want a gorram minute. This is my mine and I want to know who the hell all y’all are.” Hawks swept his arm around and I realized he had a black glove on his left hand.
“Aw, did you hurt your paw when you left me on Hera?”
One of the men with the mayor moved towards me. “You need to step off, alright?”
“Where were you when I was fighting for your freedoms? Huh, you sonuvabitch!”
Hawks’ head snapped around. “What’s yer name, soldier?”
“Why don’t we talk and work, OK?” Brigid walked over the the mayor. She held out her hand. “Brigid Von Schindler at your service.”
Josiah Fox, mayor-elect, at yours little lady.” Miss V took his arm and pulled him away a little bit. “It seems that our interests intersect. Would you agree? We’re here to get ice for Regina and you, being the mayor-elect, would wish us success in this, yes?”
In a few minutes we were working like bees in a hive. Prudence was operating one of the rigs and Roark was driving the tag-along like he was born to it.
I was, as they say, In my element. Anytime a machine threatened to conk out, I was there fixin’ her up.
I was bent over one of the compressors, checking for leaks when I heard a voice behind me. “I remember you. You were the mechanic. You hung around the fat guy. What was his name?”
I put my hammer down. “His name was Rich and he died waiting for the Amnesty release paperwork to come through. Ever been in prison, Hawks? It can get a might damp and a feller can get croupy in there.”
He was silent a moment. “We were gonna come back. We were. It’s just…..” His voice trailed off.
“Forget it,” I said. “Pfft. Just forget it. Old news and no one cares any more. Lest of all me.” And I walked away.
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