As we entered the planet atmosphere, we hit some serious turbulence. Roark scrambled to make sure that our guests were nice and secure in their bunks. It wouldn’t do to bring the mayor back bruised and battered! I headed to the engine room. With this sort of entry I knew that the old girl would need a little TLC and since I wasn’t losing my job, I could make some of those experimental adjustments I’d dreamed up.
I couldn’t be mad at Maggie. She’s a helluva pilot and it happens. And that’s why you need a mechanic worth her salt.
What we didn’t know at first was that a bunch of folk were on hand to greet the ship so that landing did a number on them, too.
It was, a mite embarrassing. Seeing all those folk who’d just come to celebrate the ice delivery all laying out stunned.
“Roark, go get the mayor. I bet this reception is for him and we should apologize to these nice people.”
“Yes ma’am, Brigid. I’m on it.” Roark’s voice trailed away as he jogged down the hall.
A few moments later Roark’s voice came through the comm. “They’re gone. I can’t find ’em.” I immediately thought of the ice. “Bastards!” I ran to the bay expecting to see the ice gone, but it was there. Starting to melt.
I still don’t know how they did it, but Mayor Fox and Sgt. Hawks were long gone. No sign of struggle from Hawks but it is hard to say. You don’t have to make someone bleed to persuade them.
I went outside with Miss V and damned if the reception wasn’t for us at all. It was for some big cheese mining guy. McFarlane or something. All I knew is that D-VA needed some repairs pronto or the ice would really start melting.
I saw an old geezer in the crowd and asked the way to Bailey Sackett’s.
I grabbed a grav cart and headed up the hot dusty road. I fell in with a strapping young lady heading the same way. She seemed to know all about the town, pointing out landmarks like the shiny new jail. I told her I was headin’ to Bailey Sacketts and she lit up like a saloon. “Oh yeah! Bailey is a good man. Fair prices. He won’t cheat you. Even though you’re a stranger. He always takes my religious tracts when I ask.”
We hadn’t gotten very far when Miss V, the Doc and Prudence caught up with us. “Swei, have you forgotten, we have important business with Mr. Sackett, too.” Miss V gave me a look.
“Oh, this here is Lu. She’s a local and –”
“I’m not. I’m not a local. In fact –”
“She’s not a local, but she knows the town real good and she’s being helpful in getting me, us to Bailey Sackett’s place.”
Miss V stuck out her hand. “Pleased to meet you, Lu.”
heavy jolt, then Imago??™s voice in my ear, ???Wake up Ms. Brigid, we??™ve landed.??? The light coming in the opening doors was bright in my eyes. As my vision adjusted, I realized it was coming from some dim lights hanging from the ceiling. The facility had definitely seen better days. Chipped and flaking paint, a sooty layer on everything, taped up chains, and some cans hanging to catch oil drips from pipes. We were herded along a corridor until we got to a large room with a drain in the center bounce house canada.