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   Chapter 38 No.38

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 4903

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

Captain Mack clicked open his stop watch. "So long as the tram is on time, we'll make it. Coop, the sack."

Coop held out a small canvas bag. "Samples of our wares, and an up-to-date manifest of all available goods."

"We used some on repairs, don't forget."

"Taken into account, Cap'n."

He nodded. "Ms. Graus, are you certain you still want to come along? It won't be pleasant."

"My mother's health depends on this. I want to be sure that everything that can be done will be done, " she said.

"Get your mask on then, and make sure you've got everything you brought to trade. I'll talk to the man on the tram, but he'll be expecting you, so the decision will have already been made."

"Did you send a message ahead somehow?"

"They're the fug folk. They'll know. The rest of you, you're on leave for a few hours. Decide among yourselves who stays with the ship and meet back there in two hours. Depending on how this goes, we'll see what's next for us. And if they have any breadfruit at the market, buy a piece for Wink."

The crew didn't wait around to be told twice, vanishing down the catwalk and toward the city proper.

"Now listen closely. It doesn't matter that you hold the purse strings. When it comes to dealing, the fuggers have all the power. Treat these folk as royalty. Speak only when they speak to you. Be respectful. You're as close as your country's ever had to a diplomat to the fug, so you'd best act like it."

"I'll conduc

p inside, please." His voice was as sharp and cold as his features. He turned to Nita. "Miss Amanita Graus. It is my great honor to be the first of my people to address a Calderan." He removed a set of white gloves from his pockets and slipped them on before holding out his hand. "Please, let me help you aboard."

She glanced to the captain, then took the offered hand and stepped aboard. The door slid quietly shut behind her.

"The tram ride will last twenty-seven minutes. As a Calderan, I believe you'll find the view from this window to be of particular interest."

She turned to the window, but her heart was fluttering in her chest. Until now, she thought simply stepping onto the Wind Breaker had been the most harrowing and dangerous decision she could have made. Since then each day had brought new threats. The strange man had called her by name. No one outside her own homeland should know it, save the members of the crew. How did this fug person learn it?

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