Well I can tell you that I was anxious to leave the ship. It hadn’t been that long that we’ve been in the Black, but it always feels good to have some terra firma under your feet. I have to say the idea of being around some mining equipment didn’t hurt. It was me, Prudence and Roark who left the ship with the Doc and Miss V. Once we cleared the air lock, and we entered the main hull, it was as quiet as a grave.
I stood there, with my hands gripping the lip of the oak wine barrel. My eyes fixed on the cleverly hidden button. “Maggie, that button calls to me something powerful! I want to push it. I want to, Maggie.”
“You know what Brigid says about the cargo, Swei. You no touchey the cargo!” I stayed silent.
Maggie sighed loudly and walked over to me. “Let me see this button of yours!”
I pointed to the knot hole just below the lip of the barrel. “See how the lines meet and diverge? That ain’t the way wood grain should lay. Ain’t natural like for it to be that way. That was when I knew. Well, I never trusted that Sellers feller. He was a little…. moist for my taste.”
Maggie snorted. I went on, encouraged. “Clammy old handshake, sweaty brow. And the way he went on and on about how that there was our barrel to drink……” My voice trailed off. “What if there’s bodies in here? Huh, Maggie? Bodies.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake, Swei!” Maggie reached past me and pressed the button.
But I’m ahead of my self in the story, ain’t I? We had a good little haul from the scrapyard. We haven’t found a buyer for that little specimen slide from the locked cage, but otherwise we unloaded all the salvage we gathered. With the money we were able to have a serious celebration of our victory over the Reavers. Miss V was careful to make sure we didn’t blow all of our money on whiskey and w00ting. “I’m going to put some of the earnings into a no-load index fund for you, Swei.” I’m pretty sure that’s what she said. My hearin ain’t so good.
Soon enough we’re off to another job. Greenleaf is a mite of a planet known for its medicinals. Miss V wanted to drop off and pick up and promised us a few more days of relaxing. The main town is like a huge market and the main commodity, as they say, is wine. I like me some wine, so I was happy to help get us there.
The only place to stay is the Sour Grape. A nice enough place, I think. Waitresses were quick enough with the food, but a mite hard to understand. What with the piano player pounding on the keys and the folks chattering on with each other, well a soul can’t hardly hear herself think, much less understand what some old waitress gal is yellin in your ear. I got the special number 2. That’s what Roark told me.