I wasn’t alone in wonderin if we was gonna get paid. Bailey had been quick to take the ice, fer sure. But bringin back the money? Hm. I liked him and all, but you just don’t know with these little out worlders. Soon as knife ya as look at ya. Not like back home.
Over dinner Roark asked “How’d you learn to drive a team, Doc?”
“Oh” the Doc waved her hand vaguely, “in the course of my research I lived in some very remote areas. There is even a place in the Georgia system where grav carts don’t work. In a place like that, you learn to rely on the old methods.”
“I like animals.” Lu smiled broadly. “And this is fine vittles, too.”
I caught Miss V’s eye. “I’d like a word later, Miss V. If you don’t mind.”
She smiled and stood up. “Swei, you can help me with the dishes.”
“We could use a hand and that Lu, well she is a strapping thing. She can lift a turbine by herself! She’s quiet and does as she’s told. I could use a helper, and –”
“Swei. It’s fine. We could use a little more help around here. She seems very nice. And Imago checked her on the Coretx. She’s a bit um, preachy, but I think she’ll fit in well.”
The next morning Bailey Sackett was at the port with the chitty.
“Here it is, all made out official.” He handed it to Prudence, who handed it to Miss V. Miss V promptly handed it to Roark. “I am sure it is all in order, my dear Mr. Sackett.”
Roark held the paper to the light. “Looks right enough. Take her to the bank right now.”
Sackett held up his hand. Well now, that’s the thing. We got this here parade and all. And the bank….” He stopped when he saw the look on Roark’s face. He grabbed his hat and motioned to Prudence. “Come on, missy. You & me are going to the bank. Blair knows me and we’ll just get him to open up long enough to deposit this!” He stopped short when he saw the Doc come down the ramp. “Oh, er, the horses are right over here, um ma’am. We’ll be back lickety split.”
Imago and Roark went out to the wagon and introduced themselves to Mr. McKlaren.
I turned to Lu. “I’m going to finish with the left stabilizer, but you should have some fun. We’ll be off this rock soon and you might have some goodbyes to make. You take the mornin off, you hear?”
She shrugged. “No one to say goodbye to, not as such. But I do like a parade. And there’s an ice cream social later. You’ll come for the ice cream?”
“Oh course she will, Lu.” Miss V’s voice carried over all other conversations. “I expect all of the crew to attend the social. We are guests of Frisco and we should act like it.” Well, I know that tone of voice and there ain’t no way around it. I hitched up my coveralls. “I ain’t paintin my face or nothin.”
All that happened later, I heard about it at the social. I was elbows up inside D-VAs main drive shaft. Sackett had been nice enough to loan me a man for the day. Quiet kid named Ben who knew his way around a torque wrench, fer sure.
And it was a good thing. Someone in the band struck a sour note and the horses shied away and then all hell broke loose. The Doc couldn’t get the team under control and them horses ran right through the parade folk. No one was killed, luckily.
Takin a leaf from Lu, the Doc climbed down on to one of the horses. She had a big old needle filled with who knows and she tried to stick the horse’s ass. It was amazing that she didn’t jab herself or Lu.
While that was happening at the other end of town, Miss V came out a few minutes after the commotion and helped restore order. She talked with Blair, the banker and vowed to get to the bottom of the mischief.
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