The Bold Marauder
Chapter 2: A Crew
Samson Black thought he knew Port Royale well enough. And he did -- for an earthworm. Running through the corridors behind Andy, Samson started to understand why Loonies called men from Earth that term. It was because men of Earth still clung to gravity, and gravity’s ways. You ran on the floors. The walls were for storage, or decoration. From the ceiling sprang the light. Men from Earth soaked in this knowledge with their mother’s milk, and never quite got it out of their bones. And so they crawled along.
But on the Moon, gravity showed her gentle side! You could not fly, true. This was not the free fall of outside-the-hull, or when the gravoscopes failed; jump up, and you would fall back to ground. But you would soar, first -- and there were any numbers of handholds and footrests and hardpoints littering the walls and ceilings, just waiting for a hard Loonie hand or foot to grab and launch off of them. Loonies did not run; they bounced.
The speed that Andy made impressed both Earth-men, not least because ‘night’ had fallen in Port Royale, and few things get dimmer than a shadowed Lunar corridor. But they kept pace, both men drawing on their hard-earned Spacer skills. And if the Loonie politely held back a bit, he also politely did not mention it.
Indeed, Andy’s head-shake of respect seemed unfeigned when they arrived opposite their destination (a bar about three orders of magnitude seedier than The Blind Spacehound). “You two move better than I ciphered you would. Got us here faster, that did.”
Samson chuckled a bit. “Spacers learn early what to do when the gravoscopes fail, or we die. But I will run no races with you for money, Andy.” The Loonie looked both gratified and disappointed as Samson went on, “This is the place where you met your contact?”
Andy’s own chuckle was harder-edged. “‘Contact.’ Now there’s a word with no blood in it. That’s where we meet the bastard that sneers business our way, like he was any better than an honest Loonie making some innocent graft.” At Adam’s sardonic look, Andy rolled his eyes. “Don’t gimme that, Gene-Man. We could rob the couriers, for real and for true. Make some good scratch out of it, too. But this way nobody makes a noise and nobody makes a fuss. And if that makes us crooks, well, so it does the same to Mister High-and-Mighty Gaston Personne. Which is the name of the fellow we all want to meet.”
“Describe him,” said Samson. Andy grinned and pulled out a phon.
“Can do better than that,” he crowed as he brought up a holographic image. “Idjit didn’t realize we wanted insurance, too.”
The other two men took a good look at the fellow. About average height for a Terran, dressed in a reasonably fashionable French Guianan style, fat in that way that took full advantage of the way the Moon hid extra weight. The face showed indulgence, nothing more. Samson grunted at that. “Not a fighting-man, I take it?”
Andy shrugged. “Never saw him start one, or finish it. Kind of guy who’d walk around with a scented pomade to ward off the stench, except that we’d make him eat it.” The Loonie looked disgusted. “And as if we’d let the life support get that bad anyway.”