Gideon asked around town about a translator, but the former Sheriff Rodgers was the main one. There were others, but no one willing to help an outsider. No one spoke to the undertaker, or any undertaker unless they had to. Burying bodies was all it took to be an undertaker. Funerals weren’t much more than a few words and a prayer supplied by the bereaved. When there were no bereaved it didn’t much matter what language it was in.
The next day, Gideon found the Sheriff in the saloon again, passed out from a long afternoon of drinking.
With a twenty-credit chip, Gideon asked the bartender to let him know when the former Sheriff was vertical. As Gideon walked out the door, he heard, “Hey, I know who you are.”
Gideon turned to see the former Sheriff standing (barely) with an accusatory finger pointed at him.
“Gideon Bartholomew Wright. You’re the one who brought down the Ftharan’s Boss Clawf and saved her majesty the Grand Joogla beast herself,” the former Sheriff said.
“So you say,” Gideon replied.
“You’re a traitor and a cannibal. Eating your own people just to save your scrawny neck. You’re a piece of frabscht, you know that? You give Ftharans a bad name.”
“I’ve been called worse for things I have done.”
“Well you-” here the former Sheriff fell to the ground face first and stayed there.
Gideon shook his head. He looked at the bartender. “Let me know.”
The bartender nodded and Gideon left.
After he’d visited the post office, Gideon walked into the general store. He approached the clerk and whispered. “I’ve heard I can get weapons grade plasma here.” Without his badge and the strict weapons ban in place at this colony he couldn’t legally acquire what he needed to defend the bank.
The young clerk blinked at him. “Why, I do not know of what you speak there, captain,” he said in the stilted tones of one trying desperately to act natural. “Perhaps you should go into yon back and discuss such things withen my manager.” He winked at Gideon. He indicated the rear of the store with an overextended head movement.
“So, I should go in the back?” Gideon asked.
“Yes. I believe that would be beneficial for you and that which you seek.”
Once in back Gideon found a woman sitting behind a desk.
“Ma’am,” Gideon said, “the well… strange young man at the counter suggested I come see you.”
“Oh?” she asked.
“Yeah, about some weapons grade plasma?”
“I see, well… as I’m sure you know, selling that without a license is illegal.”
“I’m not a postal, ma’am, at least not anymore.”
“Mr. Wright, I think you’ll always be a straight shooting postal.”
“I see my reputation precedes me. But I don’t have the pleasure of knowing your name.”
“No. You don’t.”
“Listen, I think something’s going down here and I want to stop it before anyone gets hurt. I’ve got my plasma pistols, but they won’t be enough to hold off what I expect is coming. I’m not looking to get you into trouble just stop a robbery.”
She smiled. “Aren’t we all?”
Gideon half smiled in return. “What do you want? I have credits.”
“Gideon, you wound me. You think I’m only interested in money? It’s both offensive and disappointing.”
“You’re not the type to trifle with something of so little value as money, but I’d hoped I could distract you with it.”
She smiled in a way he would have found beguiling if he hadn’t known she was dangerous. “Oh, Gideon, you do know me then.”
“What do you want?” He asked.
“Oh nothing much,” she said. “A way off this rock.”
“I’d think someone with your connections shouldn’t have trouble with that.”
“Oh, if only it were that simple. I’m just a girl in need of transport.”
“That seems a cheap price.”
“Oh, don’t worry there will be plenty to keep you busy in solving that issue. Plus with your legendary navigational skills it might be more a death wish than salvation.”
“You knew Seabrook?”
“Sure did, Starry.” She smiled in that same beguiling way and wore down his defenses a little more, even when she used Seabrook’s nickname for him, short for lodestar, something could actually tell you where to navigate to.
“I don’t much care as long as it’s not here.”
“And the weapons?”
“You’ll be ready to outfit a small army.”
“And whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”
“Rille,” she said, “Rille Harbinger.”
To Be Continued…