Monday, August 8, 2011

The Jade Runner, Part 10

Satisfied the visitors were out of hearing, Quinn turned to Kit. “You took a big chance there.”
Kit turned toward him. She slipped her newly acquired pistol into the left side of her belt and took Rex’s old pistol from Quinn’s hands. She slid it back into place on her right. “Would you rather we disappeared into some super secret lair never to be seen or heard from again?”
Quinn paused from checking over his concussion rifle to shake his head. “Of course not, but I would have handled it before things got that far.”
The sound of echoing footsteps caught both their attention. Rex Baxter walked into the hangar and waved at them like they were all old friends. Kit rested her right hand on the hilt of her pistol and took a step down the ramp. Quinn stayed a step behind her and lowered his rifle, pointing it in Rex’s general direction. Rex stopped at the foot of the ramp.
“Ahoy there, Captain Kid,” Rex said and chuckled to himself.
Kit asked, “What do you want?”
“Is that anyway to greet a friend baring gifts?” Rex asked.
Quinn said, “I think we’ve had quite enough gifts from you today already.”
Rex lifted an eyebrow. “Did I miss something?”
Kit shook her head at Rex and exhaled the frustration building up inside her chest. “Yeah, you missed three of your friends who were very interested in what you did with a sarcophagus.”
“Oh,” Rex said, looking around the hangar. “That’s all just a big misunderstanding. You see these people hired me to transport a sarcophagus from the Neece System and I was all set to do the job except they couldn’t get the permits from the local government. And as you probably know, it’s illegal to transport those kind of things without the proper permits.”
Kit nodded. “I know. They seemed to think you had brought it here for them though and were keeping it from them.”
Rex laughed. “You know some people just don’t take no for an answer.”
“So what is you want?” Kit asked.
Rex adopted his most serious pose which looked aptly like a fish out of water. “First off, I owe you both a big apology and even bigger thanks for last night.”
“Already forgotten,” Quinn said in a tone which promised the events would never be forgotten.
“Mighty big of you,” Rex said, tipping his hat in Quinn’s direction. “Second, I had this nice little transport all lined up for today, but without a ship I can’t very well fulfill my end of it.”
“And why is this my problem?” Kit asked.
“Problem?” Rex grabbed at his chest as if he’d been stabbed in the heart. “Why no, it’s nobody’s problem ‘cept mine. For you it’s a paying job and the best you’ll get with your lack of experience and reputation in the privateer circles.”
“Who says I want to be a privateer?” Kit asked.
Rex blinked faster than any man should. “That’s the only sort of work the Griffinscape is cut out for. She’s made for it tail to stern. I can’t imagine why else you’d have kept her if you didn’t want to get into the business.”
Kit glanced at Quinn, looking to see if his face had any clues to his feeling on Rex’s offer. She turned back to Rex. “My reason are my own and none of your business.”
Rex held his hands up in surrender. “Fair enough,” he said. “If you aren’t interested I’ll just call and cancel the deal. They’ll find someone else easy enough.”
Kit fondled her jade stone and chewed on her lip considering the option. “What do you get out this if I agree?”
Rex chuckled. “A fair share of the profit is all I ask and in return I’ll set you up with the deal and be your pilot.”
“I don’t need a pilot,” Kit said.
“I’m sure you’ve piloted your share of simulators, Kid,” Rex said, “but they ain’t the real thing. You’ll need my help and besides, my contact won’t be comfortable if I’m not aboard overseeing the transaction.”
Kit glanced at Quinn and then asked Rex, “How do I know you won’t try and steal the ship?”
“Did I mention the job pays a clean 10k?” Rex said.
Quinn took a step forward. “You didn’t answer the question.”
Rex rolled his eyes. “All I got is my word, but let me explain it in terms of money. You get 7k for the job and I’ll take a mere 3k, it’s not much sure but, it’s all I need to finance myself another ship and with my contacts I’ll have it paid off in less than a year and be sitting just as good if not better than I was last night.”
Kit and Quinn exchanged a glance. His tale made sense even if 3k was a bigger cut than they’d like to give him. The remainder would more than pay for the trip and it was enough, even split three ways to be more than either Kit or Quinn would normally earn in a month let alone the few days it would take to transport the cargo.
Rex sensed a deal and made the final push. “Look, you don’t owe me anything. I had a bad night and made some real bad choices. Without your help I’ll be paying for last night for a long time to come, but if you help me out here, I’ll have a chance to get back on my feet and I’ll owe you. Maybe you don’t think so right now, but having a guy like me owe you a favor can come in real handy.”
Kit shook her head. Jade whispered in her ear, Don’t be reckless. Kit turned to Quinn. “I won’t do it without you, but if you’re in, I’m in.”
Quinn looked at Rex with suspicion coloring his eyes. “Alright, I’m in. It’s got to be better than working in a damn casino.”
Kit smiled. “Looks like you’ve got yourself a deal, Rex. How does this work?”
Rex grinned back at Kit. “You won’t live to regret this, I swear. We need to pick up the cargo in about eight hours. I’ll finalize the details with my supplier and meet you back here in seven.”
Kit walked down the ramp and extended her hand to Rex. He shook it and tried to let go. Kit held tight for a moment and looked him in the eye beneath the rim of his hat. “If you try and screw me, I’ll put you out an airlock without a suit.” She let go of his hand when she was certain he understood.
He took a step back but before he walked away, he said, “Don’t worry, you aren’t my type Kid.”


Paul said...

Ash, I reckon Rex is as trustworthy as an icicle in hell, but it's your story.
Love and warm hugs,

AL said...


story coming together quite nicely here. like the back and forth banter between Kit and Rex and then the little inputs that Quinn adds in.
AL :)

Ashley J said...

Paul, Rex probably has a redeeming characteristic or two, but I'm not sure what they are yet.

Al, Not to worry, the story will be ripped apart by the seams soon enough.