BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

MIKEBROOME

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #5: Sidetracked (part 1)
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"So, what’s the job?” “Cargo run” Reilly answered. “He’s looking to transport something offworld, fast, no Alliance red tape”. Gerrin grew suspicious. “The ‘no red tape’ part makes me cautious”.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2940    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

A cold steady rain fell from a slate-gray sky onto the wood and sandstone buildings that made up the town of Greenbrier on the planet Jiangyin. Puddles had formed on the usually dusty unpaved streets that divided the buildings. The few pedestrians moved quickly along the streets going about their business. Few paid any notice to the hooded vagrant in worn clothing standing outside the local saloon panhandling for money. Those that did dismissed him with remarks such as “try gettin’ a job” or “find a shelter” as they continued on their way. As the pedestrians passed him by, somewhere inside the vagrant’s clothes, a comlink beeped.

Nick Gerrin lifted the comlink to his face. “Go ahead”, He said into the link.

Aldous Gavigan, the mechanic who kept Gerrin’s ship, the Nordic Troll, flying, responded “It’s me. Just checking in to see what’s up”.

“No news is no news, Aldous”, Gerrin answered curtly. “Did you get the smell out of my ship?”

“We left the cargo bay door open until the rain started coming in, had the blowers going, we got rid of most of it”.

“Most of it?”

Aldous’s tone became defensive. “I did what I could, but sometimes you can’t just open a window and let the air blow it out. Next stop maybe we can bring in some washdown equipment or something and hose out the inside”.

“All right”, Gerrin sighed. “I’ll call you when I got some news”.

“Okay, cap’n. Oh, wait, Loomie wants to talk to you”.

“Okay, but make it quick”.

Loomie’s irritated voice came across the link. “Cap’n, I got some things missing out of my room”.

“What things?”

“Just some personal stuff, nothing fancy, but they’re mine and they’re gone”.

“You didn’t misplace them?”

“No!” Loomie protested. “Those things never leave my room! Someone came in and took them”.

Gerrin thought for a moment. “All right, check the rest of the ship and see if anything else is missing. And close up the ship, don’t let anyone in we don’t know. We may have had some locals sneaking on board”.

“Right, but how do I get my things-“

Gerrin switched off the comlink. He continued scanning the street, ignoring the chill that came with wearing cold wet clothes and the disparaging comments from the occasional passerby. Another half hour passed in the cold rain when Gerrin felt a tug on his arm and heard a raspy voice say “I got a cigarette if you got a few bits”.

Gerrin turned as he heard the pass-phrase. He stared: something about the hooded bum in front of him looked familiar. After a second he said “Reilly?”

Jamie Reilly answered in his normal voice “I had to improvise”.

Reilly, Gerrin’s right hand on the Troll, had changed his appearance: his normally reddish-blond hair was now black, and his face was several shades darker than his normal tone. “What’s with the disguise?” Gerrin asked.

Reilly’s eyes panned across the street as he answered “I pulled a couple of jobs here a few years back that made me some enemies”.

“That was years ago”.

“Some of them have long memories”.

Gerrin shrugged it off. “Fine, but what are you doing out here?”

“Right now I’m taking you into this bar. We can talk there”. Reilly turned toward the door.

They stepped through the door into a dimly lit smoke-filled room. There were several rough-wood tables between the door and the bar, with only a handful of customers at three of them. Gerrin and Reilly sat down at an empty table in the middle of the room, with one empty table between them and the other customers. They waited until the waitress came by, Gerrin flashed two pieces of Alliance script he’d been handed on the street, and she took their order. Once she was gone they got down to business.

“Okay” Gerrin began, “I know you didn’t get all dressed up like this just to come out and distract me from meeting with a contact, so what’s the deal?”

“I took over for the contact” Reilly replied.

“You took over for the contact?”

Reilly nodded.

“Why did you take over for the contact?”

“After I picked up the lead and passed it on to you, I followed him down the street where he met with another couple of locals. From what I could hear of their conversation, they planned on bringing some friends to jump us and grab the ship and whatever’s on it. So I caught up to him afterward and talked him out of it”.

Gerrin cocked an eyebrow. “Talked?”

Reilly smiled. “I can be very persuasive”.

Gerrin shrugged. “So I’ve seen. So, what’s the job?”

“Cargo run” Reilly answered. “He’s looking to transport something offworld, fast, no Alliance red tape”.

Gerrin grew suspicious. “The ‘no red tape’ part makes me cautious”.

“It’s nothing sinister, I’m sure, considering the rock we’re on - they probably just want to get somewhere fast”.

“I’m still curious about the ‘why’”. Gerrin paused as the waitress returned with their drinks. When she departed, he continued “And who’s the ‘he’?”

“His name’s Baresh” Reilly answered. “He fancies himself an ‘arranger’ – the guy you go to with needs no one else wants to touch”.

Gerrin took a sip of his drink. “And you’ve dealt with him before?”

“No, he came along after the war ended. But from what I hear around here, he’s solid. Charges a lot but always comes through”.

“And what’s our cut, assuming we take the job?”

“Twenty percent of the customers’ fees”.

“We’ll do it for thirty”.

“Tell it to Baresh, We’ve got an hour to contact him if we want the job”.

Gerrin finished his drink in one swallow. “Let’s go, then”.

“Okay”. Reilly pushed his chair back and stood up. “Pay the tab and we’ll go”.

Gerrin looked up at him. “You take me to a saloon and I have to pay the tab?”

Reilly shrugged. “I found you the job”.

"Dahng ran (Of course)" Gerrin commented sourly, pushing his chair back and digging into his pocket. Pulling out his two pieces of Alliance script he laid them on the table and stood up. “I wonder if I should feel sorry for your dates?”

“You don’t have to go” Reilly answered as he turned back at the door. “You could always stay here and look for more livestock to transport”.

“Hey” Gerrin rebuked as they left the bar. “We were paid well for that job”.

. . . . . . To Be Continued.

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