So, we were all enjoyin' some pleasant downtime, due ta meet back at the ship in a couple weeks, back on Persephone. The cap'n contacted me ta say he wouldn't be back in time, but he'd set up our next job for us. Everything was arranged. We'd do two jobs, receivin' the pay after completin' the first delivery. We just had to meet up with some fella name of Badger to pick up the goods. Alyss also called in that he wouldn't be back in time (Alyss being our hired hand, what we took on after… ya' know).
So, when Callum and Seraph (more of a partner than a hired hand, that one) returned to the ship, I told them we'd been hired and had ta meet Badger ta get the stuff. Callum and I had sort of a… dispute, it were, 'cause Callum, he was sayin', "We'll go talk to this Badger and see if we want to do it." While I understood the job to be a foregone conclusion because the cap'n had made the arrangements. This led to much amusement on Seraph's part at—what he described as—Callum and I talkin' right past each other. Also, some discussion on whether the ship were a democracy or not. (It ain't.)
But we did go see Badger. And he was pissed that the cap'n weren't present. Now, Cap'n had made it very clear ta me that this job was super important, so we agreed to Badger's why-should-I-trust-you terms, which were that we had to put down a deposit on the goods, which we'd get back with our payment for delivery. This whole interview involved a lot of posturin' from the menfolk and ended with Badger punching Callum in the stomach, followed by Seraph agreein' to Badger's terms but staring him down to unnerve him some.
So then we headed off to a tiny place called Higgins Moon to make our delivery. Now, you might think this'd be where the bad guys spring a trap, but… as it turns out… we was the trap that was being sprung.
See, we'd been told who our contact was and given coordinates for an out-of-the-way place to set down. There we were met by guys with a truck to pick up the goods. But our contact weren't with them. She was waitin' for us back in town, they said. So we rode with them in their truck, a little unnerved about some sounds we were hearin' off in the distance. Seraph thought maybe he heard artillery. I was more concerned with closer sounds, like how the poor trunk engine sounded.
Well, they didn't take us into town, after all. The truck stopped at an old church. The sound of that poor thing really pained me. I just couldn't resist and immediately slid under the truck to see what were the problem with it. Then I heard a woman's voice say, "You must be Bekkah." It was our contact, a nice, though tired lookin' middle-aged woman. I'm a bit ashamed to say her name escapes me, something Japanese like, from old Earth-that-was. But ya' can't fault me too much, that engine was near death.
The men we'd met were carryin' the crates into the church building and we walked along with the lady, after they pulled me away from that engine, and what we found inside was triage. Callum was appalled at the state of medical care (or lack there of) going on. One of the crates was opened… it were medical supplies. Angry but efficient, Callum set to work. Meanwhile, Seraph's seeing what's in these other crates and they're weapons. Not only that, but they're weapons sent from the cap'n. The cap'n was our client all along! Or hirer, rather, I guess I should say.
So while I was tryin' ta help Callum as best I could (that not being much, people-parts bein' so diff'rent from machine parts), Seraph gets the story out of the woman. Higgins has been crackin' down on people something awful. It's reached war-stage. There'd been a bit of a rebellion a little while back, supported by Fess (the son of Higgins), but Fess had been killed (perhaps by Higgins himself, I heard tell rumor).
So Seraph assessed the whole situation and tried to figure out what we could do ta help, not being able to personally fight an army. I did my best to fix up their shoddy equipment, and Callum saved as many lives as he could. But ultimately, we decided if we could get to Higgins himself, we could put an end to the insanity. So, we planned a raid on Higgins' mansion (a fine house, larger'n the maidenhouse back on Triumph, and filled with some mighty pretty stuff, but I'm sure Callum could talk more smart about that than me).
So, we did this raid, without the cap'n… given everything that were goin' on, it were figured that the cap'n must be in a bad situation to have set us up to do this and not be back in time to come along. I know I sure was wonderin' where he was. But the cap'n trusted us to this job, so do it we did.
As is true anywhere in the 'Verse, there were some mishaps. Some attempts to move about silently and remain hidden from the guards… failed. Some bodies got stuffed into barrels (not ours). Some radios got confiscated (again, not ours). Some guards—well, I ain't got ta like to say it, but I'm tellin' it to ya' straight—some guards got Seraph’s knives in their throats. Callum caught a guy runnin' 'round the corner towards us and kneed him into unconsciousness. I think you would've been surprised to see him in action.
I got us through the door's security and then we crept around inside. Meanwhile, outside, guards were gettin' confused as to where other guards were 'cause of the aforementioned barrels. We headed up spiral stairs to the floor we suspected Higgins was on. Some guards were coming up the stairs behind us, calling on their radios that there were intruders. Callum used his radio to say the intruders were outside and create more confusion. A right smart one, he is.
On the upper landing, I set to work tryin' ta crack the door while Callum shot down the stairs and even lobbed some grenades below. (I know the cap'n woulda been happy ta see that.) Seraph descended to slice to shreds with his swords whatever goon was in front. After a bit of workin' on the door, I realized it was electronically unlocked, but there must be a physical bar on the other side, so I demanded the only tool we had on hand to deal with that: Callum's shotgun. I know what you're thinkin', "What? My mei-mei with a gun?" Betcha they were prepared for most anything, tucked behind their shiny little door, but not point blank range on the plaster next to it. They don't call me "savant" for nothin'.
So, we did get the door open. Callum tossed a grenade through the hole I'd made to get them away from the door. Higgins and guards were escapin' through the window. Seraph went after them, and Callum covered them from above. The boys seemed to have matters under control, so I followed the siren song of electronics into the office for information. Callum said it was important to get the bank account numbers so that Higgins wouldn't be able to continue to pay mercs to harass these poor people.
So, yeah! We ended up capturing Higgins and endin' the war. I gotta say, the boys were a bit miffed about the cap'n thrusting them into that situation. But I believe when Callum said something like, "Why didn't Ty tell us?" I heard that woman reply, "Because he thought you wouldn't come." To which I believe Callum muttered, "Well, he was right." Mind ya' I might've heard that wrong, over the clank of their poor, poor engines.
Regardless of all that, I'm glad we helped those people. And I'm sure the cap'n had a good reason, whatever it was. Who knows? Maybe Higgins was fundin' Wheeler in some way. And it might very well be that Badger was only willin' ta hold the goods for a very limited time so we had to get them out of there when we did. And if the cap'n knew he couldn't make it back to Persephone from whatever other Wheeler leads he was pursuin' in time to meet us… you know how the 'Verse is. Anything coulda happened with the cap'n, and we were right to do what we did.
We were right.