Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Jade Runner, Part 08

Quinn exited the dock office. Kit waited for him on the sidewalk basking in the morning sunlight glistening down into the depths of the city. To her right, sky-scraping buildings sparkled as far as the eye could see. On the left, a series of docking berths for privateers and luxury vessels lined the street. The working vessels had already left for the day and the rest were unlikely to be visited for several hours if at all. Other than Kit and Quinn the street was deserted.
“The Griffinscape is docked in berth 14-92,” Quinn said, joining Kit on the sidewalk.
She looked at the numbers on the berths. “Should be about a block in front of us then.”
They walked in silence to the berth. The door from the street was already open. Quinn, cautious by nature and habit, kept Kit back while he walked in first to look around. No one in sight, he gestured for Kit to follow him inside and together they stood and gazed over the Griffinscape for the first time.
The ship was not particularly large, about the height of a six-story building. Its outer hull was painted green, a color choice Kit might have made herself had it been hers to make. The engine struts extended from the left and right sides of the ship and appeared newer than the rest of the vessel, just as Rex had boasted at the poker table.
“She’s old,” Quinn said, “but these things were built to last and it looks like someone has done a few upgrades.”
Kit nodded. “Converted garbage scows like this usually have huge cargo holds and plenty of room for a small crew.”
Quinn gestured toward the ship. “Shall we check it out?”
Kit reached inside her jacket for the remote. Her ears twitched at the sound of the pump action of a concussion rifle. She looked to Quinn expecting to see the rifle in his hands but he was spinning around toward the source of the sound himself. Her hand fell from the tip of the remote to the pistol she’d taken away from Rex, holstered on her belt.
She reacted only an instant slower than Quinn. They were both too late. The blast hurled them eight feet closer to the ship and landed them on their backs. A boot kicked the pistol from her hand while a pair of foreign hands took the rifle from Quinn.
The owner of the boot waved her own pistol in Kit’s face. She said, “You’re not Rex’s usual type.”
Kit glared up at the red head, ignoring the pistol in her hand. “I’m not with Rex and this isn’t his ship anymore.”
“Really?” The red head said. Her eyes glistened with amusement. “I don’t care what your relationship with Rex is, all I want is what he promised to deliver to my boss. Now why don’t you be a good little girl and tell me where it is?”
Kit pushed herself up off the floor and Quinn followed suit. The red head and her two companions kept their weapons pointed at them but did nothing else to deter them from moving around. Kit doubted whatever they were looking for was aboard the ship. Still, it seemed unlikely they’d just leave unless they knew it first hand.
“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about but you can search the ship if you like and if you find whatever it is, you can take it with you,” Kit said.
The red head pressed her pistol against Kit’s chest. She flipped the jade stone hanging around Kit’s neck with the tip of her pistol. “Did you get that from Rex?”
Kit wrapped her hand around the stone. “No, it belonged to my sister.”
“Sure it did,” the red head said, without conviction. “Alright, let’s take a look around the ship.”
“The remote is in my jacket pocket,” Kit said, “try not to shoot me while I pull it out.” She reached into her jacket and slowly pulled the ship’s remote out.
The red head watched, seemingly expecting some sort of deception. She looked genuinely surprised when the passenger ramp extended down from the back of the ship and the door slid open at the top. Kit and Quinn were directed to lead the way by the gesturing of weapons. Upon entering the ship they realized they were inside an elevator that would lead to the upper levels while a passage straight ahead likely led to the engine rooms and cargo hold.
Kit looked over her shoulder at the red head. “Which way?”
“Why don’t we check the cargo hold first?” the red head said.
Kit led the way down the corridor. Doors to the left and right were marked for the engine rooms and at the end of the hall a double width door was marked Cargo Bay. Kit pressed her hand to a button on the right side of the door and the door spit in half and disappeared inside the walls. They walked into a large open room that clearly stretched another floor or floor and a half straight up. The room was empty except for a two person lift on the left side and a staircase leading up to the next level on the right.
The red head said, “You could save us all some time and just take us straight to it.”
Kit turned to fully face the woman. “I don’t even know what you’re looking for and this my first time aboard this ship.”
“Right,” the red head said, rolling her eyes. “You’d be a lot more convincing if you weren’t wearing part of it and didn’t have the ship’s remote.”
“This necklace belonged to my sister for twenty years before it came to be with me,” Kit said holding it out in the light. “It’s got nothing to do with Rex or anything you’ve got any right to be looking for.”
“If you take me to the sarcophagus now,” the red head said, staring straight into Kit’s eyes, “I won’t have my boys turn you in as a thief.”
“Sarcophagus?” Quinn said. “I don’t suppose you have the papers authorizing its removal and transport?”
The red head waved her pistol in Quinn’s direction. “This is all the authorization I need.”
“It’s obviously not here,” Quinn said.
“We’ll see,” the red head said.


Paul said...

Ash, "curiouser and curiouser, said Alice to the Red Queen."
You're holding my interest!
Love and warm hugs,

AL said...


The redhead is Feisty but I am thinking she will be no match for Kit.
Good chapter. Looking forward to the next chapter
AL :)

Ashley J said...

Paul, I'm glad you're still with me. I had a lot of fun writing this story and it's nice that I'm not the only one enjoying it.

Al, I think she thinks she's better than Kit right at this moment, but I suspect you're right.