The Bold Marauder: Chapter 2, Part 4.
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Prologue/Chapter 1
Chapter 2, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2
Chapter 2, Part 3 


Samson Black did not think himself a lion, or some other lesser predator.  Half-naked men with sticks killed lions, long before the birth of civilization; Samson knew full well his species’ strengths. And, true, its weaknesses; and among these, arrogance was at the top of the list.  So Samson stalked and subdued this ‘Gaston Personne’ with the same care and concentration that he would have spent trapping a Gurkha renegade.

But the absurdity of the capture!  Personne had fled the dive, half-panicked and hunched over with the unexpected weight of absent bodyguards.  The fool actually came up to Samson and promised him half the Moon, in exchange for protection and a quick escape!  It seemed that the slaver and criminal simply could not conceive that the most dangerous man within eyeshot might be there specifically looking for him.  

Moving Personne somewhere ‘safe’ -- cubic space is cheap on Luna, and unused storage rooms are everywhere -- was easily enough done.  At that point, Samson’s own sense of self demanded that at least give the man a chance to get away, given that Personne had offered payment.  Fortunately, and predictably, Personne refused to pay, then drawn a nerve-shocker when he thought Samson’s back was turned.  This was a relief, as it allowed Samson to not only honorably subdue the villain, but lay him out on the floor in the process.  Much of Samson’s honor had been hacked at, over the years; he treasured those parts of it that still remained.

So, when Adam and Andy caught up with Samson Black, they were greeted to the sight of Personne roughly tied and gagged, but otherwise unharmed.  Samson himself was perched on a stone shelf, thoughtfully contemplating the captive. In his hands was Personne’s personal phon.

“You a unbricker, Samson?’ asked Andy as he nodded in the phon’s direction. Samson looked up, gave a flicker of a smile, and tossed the phon to Andy in the Moon’s lazy arc. Andy plucked it out of the air, pulled out tools, and started fussing with the back.

“Not at all, Andy,” said Samson, redundantly. He half-jumped, half drifted to the ground, and looked at Adam. “No complications in the dive?”

“Not a one.  The Tashkenti clones are en route to the hospital, though.  When they realized that their charge had fled, they went into overdrive mode until someone” -- Adam’s teeth gleamed in a grin -- “hit them both with neural distractors.”

Samson grimaced.  Distractors were ill-named; they made men unconscious, hastily, and with no permanent side-effects, but the immediate effects were never pleasant.  But better headaches and seeing the contents of your stomach than a deadly mob.  

“Well, we have our quarry.  What do you want done with him, you two?”  Both Adam and Andy looked at him in surprise, and now Samson did laugh.  And it was a good laugh, too; one they’d come to appreciate when they’d hear it, in times to come. “He is nothing to me, yet he is something to the two of you.  I will happily aid you in your quarrels, but I will not dictate how you pursue them when it is none of my concern.”

Adam frowned.  “I mislike killing bound and helpless men. Or tormenting them.”  Andy looked up from the guts of the phon, pursed his lips, then nodded.  Samson straightened up, and moved towards Personne.

“So noted, Brother Adam.  Let me do the talking, then. We will see what good a little gentle reason might bring.”