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   Chapter 22 No.22

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 5142

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"How come they have weapons and we don't?" Tim heard himself asking.

"Cos private ships ain't allowed t' carry weapons!" Deire shouted back above the excitement.

"So – how come they have weapons and we don't?"

"Because the law don't have eyes everywheres!" Came Deire's dismissive response.

Deire and Bubba were old spacers, both having spent most of their lives off-world on some ship or other. It seemed from their conversation that most of that time had been spent on this particular ship. It was home to them and they were going to defend it to the end, come whatever. The end of what exactly was a matter for future discussion. Swerving Celeste sideways around a large asteroid, Bubba looked seriously at Deire.

"How big you think is that ship there, feller?"

"Small." Said Deire. "Maybe two crew. Not that heavy. Prob'ly fit in the cargo deck. What you thinkin'?"

"That's just about the right size!" Bubba grimaced, maneuvering Celeste out of another turn and taking a straight heading. "Lemme know when they's real close on our six!"

"Okay!" Deire grinned back.

Moments ticked by tensely. Tim didn't know what they were up to, but it was entertaining on some surreal level to watch these two old pros at work. A few more bursts of energy and vibrations in the ship showed their enemy was getting close. The closer they got, the more trouble they were in. Trouble was, that went both ways.

"Okay!" Deire reported. What happened next was a bit of a blur for Tim, but what basically happened was Bubba pulled

bits that vaguely resembled charred shoes stuck out the front ends, one of them just finished giving a final twitch. Deire grinned at them and then at Tim and thumped his hand on the control desk.

"Hell, that was good! This thing jus' earned its keep fer the next sixty years!"

"Looks like it was good for something after all!" Timaset Skooch smiled back, thinking 'so much for your threats Mister – um, Jones. Veiled or otherwise.

Tim didn't take kindly to threats, veiled or otherwise. Neither did Jonn Deire, who never seemed to like Jones in the first place – or jokes about his name much. And sometimes fortune favors the bold. Or the foolish. Or as it may be, the brave and the reckless.

"Okay." Said Tim, turning on his heel to head for the bridge. "Good job. You get rid of those so long and I'll contact the kid. Vic, meet me at the airlock." He paused to shoot a look at Deire. "This thing does have an airlock, doesn't it?"

"Sure! Over on the port side, one deck up!"

"Does it work?"


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