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   Chapter 37 No.37

Loderunner By Christina Engela Characters: 5797

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02


"Have a toot."

Tim took the offered beaker and sniffed it. It smelled like strawberries and maybe a little bit like turpentine. It looked sort of like a liqueur. Sort of.

"Go on, try it."

Okay, he thought, what the hell, why not?

"Bye-bye brain cells." He shrugged, and knocked it down the hatch. It took his breath away in several shades of strawberry. He wheezed. The fumes stung his eyes. When he recovered, he noticed Nurse's grin and managed not to scowl.

"Don't worry." The medic laughed. "They're still there."

"What? My tonsils?"

"No, your eyebrows!"

"It was absolutely…" Tim said, thinking of an appropriate description.

"Vile?" Nurse suggested.

"That's it. Strawberry Vile!"

That set off another good round of chuckling.

"More?" Nurse offered.

"Please." Said Tim, returning the beaker for a refill. The medic filled two beakers this time and joined Tim in what turned out to be a spirited evening that would come back to haunt him the next morning.

* * *

Life was becoming routine, more-or-less. They were in space, traveling from one place to another, picking up cargo – or passengers, and dropping them off somewhere else – and getting paid for it. That was the best part.

The colony on Tarsus was not as young as Deanna. It was around eighty years ahead of that crazy little world, with a highly sophisticated infrastructure. It was just about on a par with Mars as far as that was concerned. Deanna on the other hand, had only been inhabited for a few decades, mostly by people who wished they were somewhere else – like Mars – or Tarsus. Mind you, younger colonies like Deanna had their champions, like the people who felt they could make a better fresh start there rather tha

ed wreck, just off the main space lanes. It was free salvage. If they could tow it to Tarsus, they could make a bit of money off the salvage. Of course, it went without saying that anything of value in the cargo bay – or anywhere else on board – would reflect in their bank accounts. If they actually had bank accounts.

"Salvage?" Said Deire, on the same wavelength.

"That's what I was just thinking."

"Garn!"

* * *

A short trip across the void between the two ancient ships later, Tim, Deire and Vic were standing on the dusty deck grid inside the derelicts' airlock. She had a tool box slung over her shoulder. 'You never know what you might find over there.' She said back on Celeste. That was true, Tim agreed. It was precisely why he and Deire were carrying pistols. Tim found the pressure of the Jupina Black in his holster through the padding of his pressure suit a comforting presence. Their helmet-mounted spotlights revealed objects hiding in the menacing darkness, helmets, breathing apparatus. What appeared at first to be bodies hanging from the inner bulkhead were revealed to be pressure suits, still hanging on their mounts.

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