“Jao Gao,” said as he pulled his own weapon and threw himself against the wall of Sellick’s shack, “I guess being a black market dealer does have draw backs.” Jackson holstered his pistol, “Hey you down there,” he called out to the group of thugs, “I dunno what Sellick did ta call down all this wrath, but we ain’t got no part in this.”
“Ya do now, Huen Dahn,” a bullet embedded itself inches from Jackson’s head.
Gun fire whizzed through the air and when Mason joined Jacks behind Sellick’s shack he paused a moment listening exclaiming, “Tzao gao!!” The ship hand looked over at Jackson, “Sounds like one of them is using a Peacekeeper,” he said before a few more shots cut through the air. “And a python…can’t determine the kick of it…”
“I don’t think it much matters,” Jackson pulled his gun again, “What kind of Mi Tian Gohn are you in?” Jackson leveled his eyes to Sellick.
“That’s gotta be Yuan Moore!! Lousy bastard!!!” Sellick slurred looking over at Jacks drunkenly.
Before the man could embarrass himself further Mason chimed in, “When we get you out of this mess we’re going to down to 10 at minimum and it lowers by half each time we feel or hear a bullet get near us! Got it?” Hoping that maybe an extra thousand off would make the brothers happy and perhaps just the absurdity of the statement would throw Jacks off from asking certain questions that may not have made Sellick happy.
More bullets started to hit the hut, “Do we got a deal or not?!” he screamed at the Junkyard Owner.
Sellick narrowed his eyes knowing full well what Mason was doing now, “I’ll go down to Nine and a half if you get me out of here alive and I don’t ever see you again Mason!”
Mason looked toward Jacks, “This keeps me on the ship for the next few weeks, right?!” he yelled trying to think of a plan and to ensure his passage was completely secure at this point.
“Can’t speak for the boys, but I won’t be throwing you out of an airlock anytime real soon,” The ship’s engineer swung around the corner of the wall and fired his weapon at the their assailants. After he did, Jackson tapped his finger to his ear once more, “Hey boys we have a bit of a Tian Fuhn Di Fu here.”
“How Wrin Bu Lai, Whai Wrin Bu Jwo?” Dru picked up on the other side.
“We were about five minutes from finalizing the deal and five Huen Dahn come down here looking for Mason’s buddy.”
“Shiney,” even over the comm, Jackson could hear Dru’s sarcasm, “remind me to throw him out an airlock.”
“Noted,” Jackson grinned as he shot again, “how far out are you two?”
“About fifteen more minutes. Try to hold out and don’t get yourself perished.”
The comm went silent and Jackson shot Mason a sideways glance, “Think we can last fifteen till the cavalry shows up?”
A laugh echoed from Mason’s lips, “What’s an extra fifteen minutes of being shot at? So do we be aggressive or just keep getting shot at?”
“I’m thinking aggression works,” Jackson fired again, this time hitting one of them in the leg, “You?”
Grinning Mason made his way through the junk yard pulling out a makeshift club in the form of a metal bar. He waited down low and once one the men walked past him searched the sudden thud of metal meeting the back of someone’s skull was heard. Although he now hated guns, Mason knew how to use them and on the ground was the knocked out man’s Peacekeeper, twelve round gun that worked with a clip. He signaled the two of them to get in close, “Aggressive too, a little less waiting for that one. Your turn sir,” he said low whispering to Jacks.
“Showoff,” Jackson grumbled to himself as several other bullets whizzed past him. He took several more shots at the group, but each of his shots missed. “Ri shao gou
“You know all you had to do was give us the Wong ba Duhn,” Yuan called out, “but now, you’ve taken out two of my men and really pissed me off.”
“Sorry just not in my nature to let others get bullied around,” Jackson shrugged, “just part of my nature I guess. Still not to late you know, why don’t you and you’re boys just clear out and we can end this the easy way.”
Two more shots whizzed by Jackson’s head as an answer.
“Okay, I guess it’s the hard way then.”
Mason sat and thought for a few moments, “We could play mind games on the kind folks shooting at us…” he suggested with a shrug.
“Whatcha got in mind?”
“Every junker has some kind of equipment to strip and break down metals. The loud noise could confuse them and stifle bullets. People do some dumb things when confused, believe me I know that one personally..,” the fence winced a little thinking about that one for a second. “Also, it’d be mighty hard for people coming to save us to not find us with all that racket going on….All we need to do is get to it…”
“Go for it,” Jackson nodded, “I’ll cover you, and watch him,” he jerked his head down toward Sellick.
With a deep breathe to clear his nerves Mason began sneaking around and a few bullets sent him back toward Jacks way, “These aren’t your typical mindless guards. One of them got it covered…But we do have something they don’t have…”
“A bargaining chip,” Mason smiled wickedly at Jacks pointing toward direction of the man that was knocked out earlier by the fence. He smiled, “It’s a fifty-fifty shot. They’ll either be really loyal willing to work something out, or very happy to suddenly see their cuts get a little bigger with one less mouth to feed.”
Sneaking off yet again Mason grabs the body of the unconscious man dragging him back slowly to the group of Jackson and Higgins. “You know I’m not going to shoot him right?” he glanced at Jacks hoping the sincerity in his wasn’t lost on the ship mechanic.
“As long as it keeps my blood pumping in a, not all over the floor sorta way,” Jackson nodded, “then I’m good.”
With a very pleasant and sweet sounding voice, “Good,”Mason wrapped his left arm around the man’s throat and pressed the Peecekeeper to the man’s skull,”Sellick, would you do the honors and wake this gentleman up.”
Sellick with a slightly-drunken glee filled smile started to smack the man awake once that didn’t work the man pulled out a flask and started to wave it under his nose, “Moonshine. Smells awful, taste worse, but it gets the job done..” the man said with a slight slur of his words but getting shot at tends to sober up the body real quick.
When the man started to shake and jerk his head as consciousness came to him Mason cocked the hammer to the Peacekeeper back and spoke in soft and an almost angelic tone that was entirely creepy given the situation, “Did you hear that? Forget about the pain in your head focus on the now…” Mason’s grip tightened as the man tried to escape, “Mind telling me why you’re shooting at me and my comrades here. And don’t try to run I’ve got your nasty little piece pressed against your skull and one round will make sure you’re seeing all sorts fire and flame after the bullet leaves you skull.” He sighed really hating to negotiate under these terms, “So I repeat, why are you shooting at us?”
“Sellick! He screwed my buddy over real good…Wants what he thinks is owed,” the man said trying to sound fearful, but it’s kind of hard when you’re afraid thanks to the gun pressed against your head.
“That Huen Dahn Hallifax got a good deal!!! I wasn’t going to screw myself over on the price!!! Guy’s been complainin’ for weeks!!!” Sellick looked like he was about to backhand the guy.
“Me and my buddy Jacks here…we don’t like getting shot at…Usually we frown upon it…You wanna tell him what we did to the last guys that shot at us Jacks,” Mason fired a few warning shots in the air just to unnerve all of the parties.
Jackson’s eyes narrowed, “Let’s just say they ain’t exactly breathin’ oxygen.”
Smiling wickedly at Jacks as an earlier comment gave him an idea, “That was pretty nasty when we let them hang just out of air lock as was broke atmo…messy too, wasn’t it?”
“Freeze dried blood all over the gorram place. Prolly gonna attract Reavers.”
Continuing to stay on Mason’s face that smile only widened as Jacks added to the tale, “Now you don’t want that do ya…?” the man adamantly shook his head no even uttered out a few fear filled “No”s. “Now call off your buddies because I’m really not in the mood to clean up another mess like that,” he said pausing for only a second, “But I will if have to!”
“GUYS!!! STOP!!! STOP OR THEY’LL FILL ME FULL OF HOLES!!” the hostage yelled.
Silence filled the air once again as the occasional gunfire stopped, “Is that you Rex!?”
“Yeah!! I got myself taken hostage by two guys, two guys Sellick hired,” the man said as Mason still held on tight.
“You don’t sound in trouble!”
Sighing Mason looked down for a moment before closing his eyes. Regret for future actions was creeping up inside. Sadly, actions spoke louder than words especially in situations like this. The sound of one bullet leaving the chamber as Mason pointed the gun at Rex’s left foot. A scream filled the air as a bullet tore through flesh, muscle, and bone as Rex now had a minor gunshot wound. All Mason wanted was that sudden scream, in hindsight it would have been easier and cleaner to just break a few fingers.
“YOU WERE SAYING!!!”
Jackson turned from his hiding area to get a view of their assailants. They had all now huddled together and seemed to be arguing, “I’d say that worked.”
“Kill him,” Yuan said calmly.
The Dormouse banked around as Tyler found a little rocky burm just the right height to keep it out of sight were Jacks and Mason’s unwelcome company to venture back out. They were in deep enough for Alices repairs, fixing up or replacing a shuttle wasn’t exactly on the menu. He’d burned a bit of fuel to speed their arrival, but as they had agreed a good mechanic was worth a tank of gas. And Jackson had proven a bit better than just good for their girl.
“Alright,” Dru pulled the long Winchester from its clutch along the wall. He tossed it unceremoniously over into his brother’s waiting hand. “Shall we go pick up our boy?”
Tyler nodded, checking the bullet in the rifle’s chamber and sliding it away, lifting it up he checked the scope’s alignment. “Let’s shall…”
Normally this was one of those situations where two people would run over their plan of attack. Tyler and Durden had barely even spoken about it since they heard from Jackson. Something about it just had that air of ‘just another day’ between them. Still, there would be no rushing back to the ship for a hurried take off. Not today. That knowledge hung in the back of both their minds.
Durden’s fist slammed against the ramp, opening the mouth up to the belly of the shuttle. This time there was no waiting party on horseback, just dry land and a gravel road that was supposed to lead to Sellick’s yard. He trotted down the metal ramp, surveying the rolling landscape. Tyler joined him with the long Winchester cocked up against his shoulder. Behind them the door slid up and sealed the Dormouse shut.
They shared a look and headed up the road.
Jackson and Mason sat up against the wall with Sellick in between them and their captive thug bleeding and moaning in front of them.
“Well you got any other ideas?” Alice’s engineer shot Mason a hopeful glance.
“Not at this point no,” mason shook his head, “We’re outnumbered and outgunned, and they don’t seem much like they want to negotiate.” He looked about curiously, “It’s foolish but we could always split up. Draw their fire on two targets…keep them busy before the cavalry comes…” he shrugged as the plan sounded risky, and half-assed because it was exactly that. However, it was the only plan Mason could think of that moment. Keep people busy, guessing, and distracted before help shows.
The next sound Mason heard was a gun cocking behind his head, “Y’all caused us a lot of trouble.”Yuan looked at Jackson with a smile on his face, “Why don’t you drop the piece, shwie?”
Jackson did as he was told letting his gun slid slowly out of his hand and onto the ground.
Mason breathed in calmly trying not to look at the gun but knowing it was there, “Can’t we work something out? Be reasonable about this…” Perhaps if he could talk up a good game it would stall them to the point people would arrive…or it could end up with his brain matter smeared across the ground.
“Do we really look like reasonable folks?” Yuan grinned, but it didn’t last long. Something in the smile that played across Jackson’s face made him uneasy. His eyes narrowed. “What?”
Instead of any response from the mechanic Moore was answered by the cocking hammer of a revolver. His teeth set hard in his jaw. “That would be me.” The barrel pressed into the man’s temple.”And I feel it only fair I should warn you. You caused a heap o trouble for my good man here. From what I could hear as I arrived there was gunfire…” He looked over to Jackson who still wearing that smile. “Now you may not know him all that well, but he’s not so much the sort to go shooting first. That tells me you started all this ruckus.”
He reached over with his free hand and plucked the pistol from Moore’s hand. “Do you know how hard it is to find a good mechanic?” He tossed the pistol into Jackson’s waiting hand.
“What took you so long?” He swung the handle about to right the barrel’s direction.
“Couldn’t find parking.”
“I hate to break up your banter.” There was a commotion as Moore’s two other companions revealed themselves and their weapons. “But I ain’t a alone in this party.”
“Who is?” A small grin crept across Dru’s face. “And remember what I said about Jackson here not being the sort to shoot first?” A shot the junkyard air. It was a loud popping sound that echoed off the scrap and parts that populated the grounds. One of Moore’s men crumpled, his hand dropping his revolver and grabbing his shoulder as blood pooled out underneath him on the dusty ground. “Can’t say the same thing for my brother.”
Tyler stepped out from behind a junkpile, his sidearm trained on the last armed gunman. “Why don’t you toss that hand-cannon neighbor? I’m not in the best of moods right now and the last several hours have made me a might twitchy, as your friend there in the dirt can attest to.”
Mason just smiled brightly as the barrel across the way was starting to lower, then thrown to the dust. “I think now would be a good time to mention….I lowered our cost down a bit more,” he said to the brothers since one of them said “good man” as in singular and then quickly referenced Jackson. He wanted to make sure the brothers didn’t see him as expendable.
Jackson stood up and dusted off his jeans, “Think we oughta let these buhn dahn go?” He bent down and picked up all the loose weapons on the ground, “I mean I guess we could just leave um here. Junkyard’s as good a place as any to hide bodies.”
“Don’t much care,” Dru replied giving Moore a shunt forward.
“Don’t much want them following us though.” Tyler reloaded the rifle.
“Listen I’m sure we can work something out,” Moore grumbled, “Our beef wasn’t with you fellers, it was with that goase.”
“Maybe,” the pilot shouldered his rifle, “Maybe now you feel the need for a little retribution. Plus, as you may have noticed, we got some business going on with your friend here.”
The drumming of hooves echoed up off the ship parts and debris toward them. All eyes turned to find six men riding in on a cloud of dust, barrels drawn on the scene. “Alright,” the man in the center drew a hard bead on Tyler with a long cobalt steel barrel, “why don’t you just folks just ease those weapons of yours down to the ground.” He clicked the hammer back. “Nice and easy…”
They all stared back at the cadre of mounted and armed men, hesitant to lay down their arms. As the stand off held the man in the center adjusted his coat. A shining golden badge glinted off the sun. In the silence the clicking sound was deafening as Durden, Tyler, and Jackson all eased the hammers up on their pistols. “Crap…”
“You are bound by law,” the law man’s eyes narrowed.
“Whoa hold on there a second we were just comin’ to bail our friends out of a trouble…”
The lawman gave Dru a dumbfounded look, “Not you Sa Gwa. Yuan Moore. He is wanted for thirteen counts of fraud and attempted murder.”
Dru’s face slacked, “Oh,” just as quickly as it slacked, his face brightened again, “is there a reward?”
“There wasn’t a reward,” Dru grumbled as Alice’s crew all sat around her kitchen table, “but at least we got out of there with our skins and the parts we need to fix Alice.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Jackson toasted Dru, who clinked glasses with the mechanic, “Repairs are almost done. We should have her back in the air again, in about a day.”
“And then?” Hand resting on her chin, looked around the table with a sense of contentment. No one was bleeding, they were all home where they belonged… she counted that as a good day.
Ty shrugged his shoulders, “Far I can tell, we get back to the black. From there we find work and get everything back on track.”
“Anything anyone needs of me before the evening is up?” Mason was sitting at the dinner table trying not to smile. Sure he had a gun pointed to his head earlier but now he was here with everyone. Even if he wasn’t greatly welcomed, this was a definite improvement from the last ship.
“Nope,” Dru shook his head lazily, “You did your part today. You deserve the rest.”
“Celebratory toast before bed?”
All around the table held up their glasses, “Cheers.” The twins said in unison.