We hadn’t gone but a block when Miss V just wilted like a plucked flower. “It is so hot! How do you stand it? I just….” She wobbled a little on her fancy shoes. The Doc was right there. “Brigid, when’s the last time you had any water? I’m afraid you are dehydrated.” The Doc turned to me. “Get Roark. Tell him to bring the mule. This is crazy.”
When Roark arrived he didn’t come in the mule. “Something wrong with the stabilizer, Swei. I bet when we plopped down, something snapped. I brought a grav-cart. Will that do? What are we haulin?”
“Um, well –”
“We’re hauling Brigid, actually. The grav-cart will do.” The Doc nodded curtly.
They scrambled up on to the cart, the Doc, Prudence and Miss V. I waved at them from the ground. “I’m good. I’m good here on the ground. Besides, we’re going the long way. Lu here promised to show me the new jail. She says its real pretty. Y’all go on.”
I waved them on and Roark slowly got the cart moving. Those things are designed off an Earth That Was tool called a wheelbarrow. Clever design, but maybe not the best for haulin’ livestock, as they say. I heard later from Prudence that they hadn’t gotten far when Miss V just plum fell oft the back of the cart. Landed flat on her back in the dust.Roark was moving at a right good clip and he was a good 300 meters past by the time he slowed the cart down!
They finally made it to the hardware store, to Bailey Sacketts, but we were just a few minutes behind ’em and we took our time! I was right pleased with what I got at the store. Lots of fine, barely used parts for D-VA.
Lu helped me bring it back with a borrowed grav. Along the way I asked her about her immediate and future plans. “Space life ain’t bad, you know. I could use me a good assistant. Big strong girl like you, shame to leave you to dry rot on this rock.”
“Well,” she said, “when I woke up this morning, I didn’t know rightly what I was gonna do. I got about three credits to my name and I thought ‘Lu, the Lord will provide. He will guide your steps this day.’ He guides my steps every day, mind, but today felt different. Special, like.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I was called to the port. I thought it was cause I could maybe minister to the miners. That Mister McKlaren there — him that was supposed to be landin’ only it was you folk — would maybe give me a job as camp minister.” She paused. “I think though, that the Lord’s called me to work with you fine folk.”
“Is that a yes, then? I like you Lu. We’re gonna get along just fine!”
He said he’d be back in the morning with our pay chitty. That made me nervous, but Miss V (looking very pretty in a new frock — she’d washed up after her tumble in the dust) allowed it. Saying, “This cargo is going to melt. Better to get it where it’s going and we’ll worry about the pay later.” Bailey winked at her. “I like doin’ bizness with a smart lady!” He finished securing the last barrel.
“Say, you wouldn’t want to help a man out, would you?”
“I’m not a companion, Mr. Sackett. Many people make that mistake; it’s my –”
“I need help with the horse carriage tomorrow and –” They both stopped and stared at the other.
“You were saying?……” Miss V’s eyes got all steely like they do sometimes and Sackett was no fool. “Yes ’em. If your man (he motioned to Roark) has a mind, I could use a hand with the ceremonial carriage tomorrow.”
The Doc stepped forward. “I can drive a team. I’m happy to help.”
Sackett looked at her face and said “Well, um, young lady, I do appreciate it. All of Regina appreciates it. Yes sir, Bob. And the parade starts right near here, so I’ll come collect you in the morning and bring your payday.”
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