“You’re a gorram buhn dahn, you know that right?” Jackson yelled from the flame licked engine room of the small Hornet class starship the Bartrand, “I told you to take it easy on this piece of feh wu till we got to Beaumonde and I could replace the hydraulic stabilizer!” Jackson turned his head just in time to duck out of the way as a tongue of flame came dangerously close to his face. Jackson leveled the fire extinguisher at the flames covering the ships engine and fired. He had to calm down these flames before they got to the fuel cells.
“We were behind schedule. If we don’t get this shipment to Gebbie, we don’t get paid,” the Captain of the Bartrand, shouted back toward Jackson.
“Great idea genius. Let’s kill ourselves rather than get home alive.”
“We’re about to hit atmo right now can you just give me a few more minutes of power?”
Jackson finished putting out the fire around the engine, “If I can give you thirty seconds, it’ll be a miracle,” Jackson tore off the outer panel to the Iskellkian 80-10 Dual Piston Reactor and crawled inside, “God I hate these gorram things. The extenders ain’t braced, this things just a big piece of luh suh,” as Jackson reached behind him into his tool chest, “I swear if I live through this I am never working on one of these things again.” The ship moaned and rocked, Jackson slammed into the side of the engine panel, “Lio coh jwei ji neong hur ho deh yung Duh buhn jah j’wohn, did we just hit atmo?”
“Yeah,” the pilot said a visible amount of worry in his voice, “we got like about thirty seconds till things get serious.”
Jackson went back to work. He continued to pull wires and reroute them. With about ten seconds to spare, he pulled his head out of the panel, “Okay hit it, but be…gentile.”
The pilot turned the engine of the Bartrand over and it sputtered and wheezed to life. He let out a whoop of success, “You are amazing Jacks!”
“Just get us down.”
Jackson walked into Gebbie’s office. The office was just a little bit bigger than a large broom closet off the west wall of an antique shop Gebbie ran as a front for his more illicit activities. Gebbie smiled happily and waved his right hand toward the empty leather chair. Jackson’s eye burned deep into Gebbie’s as they both sat down. Jackson took a deep breath visibly trying to calm himself before he spoke, “Gebbie, we’re friends right?”
“Thick as blood my son.”
“And the reason I help your cousin out on the Bartrand is because I owe you for the incident, right?”
“Exactly, and what valuable help it is.”
“Well I would say almost getting my face burned off just about makes us even wouldn’t you?”
“Listen Jacks old man, that business was nasty, but nuthin’ to end our partnership.”
“That go neong yung duh almost got me killed.”
“Listen Jacks I understand how you feel…”
“You ain’t even got the first clue!” Jackson stood up, both his fists balled up, “I told that idiot not to push till we got back here and I could fix the gorram hydraulic stabilizer! He nearly killed us both.”
“Jacks, Jacks,” Gebbie said giving a reassuring smile and waiving both his hands in submission,“we’re all friends here. There’s no reason to get hostile. Listen, we’ve worked together for what over a year now?”
“Something like that.”
“I understand that this isn’t what you had in mind when you got into this. Small little runs between here and Osirus. Fine Jacks I’ll see what I can do about getting you something more, meaningful.”
Jackson walked into the Bottle and Cork. The smell of stale beer and sweat assaulted his nostrils. He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the dimmer light. This was a little bit rougher establishment then he was used to. He crossed over to the bar and flagged down the bartender, “Um, excuse me?”
“Yeah whatta ya want?”
“I’m looking for, Alice?”
“Hmph,” the bartender grunted and jerked his head toward a table in the back of the room. Jackson scanned the room until his eyes fell on the table. The darkened corner shrouded its occupants from his view. Jackson turned back toward the bar, ordered a drink, and walked toward the back table.
“Alice?” He said with a slight bit of confusion voice, as a wry smile crossed his face.