The Bold Marauder, Chapter 2, Part 7.

New Patron!  That means, new installment.  And that's Chapter 2 in the can, in fact.


Prologue/Chapter 1

Chapter 2, Part 1

Chapter 2, Part 2

Chapter 2, Part 3

Chapter 2, Part 4 

Chapter 2, Part 5 

Chapter 2, Part 6 


On the other side of the door, Andy did not even look in Samson’s direction before the Loonie jammed the lock with three quick, but quiet jabs of his multitool.  He looked around, then relaxed as Andy saw that neither of his companions seemed inclined to quarrel with his actions.  “I don’t trust him,” Andy muttered anyway.

“Only a fool would,” said Samson.  “But no doubt he would not have left anyway. Not without his slaves to first make him safe, and then to send against us.”

Adam raised an eyebrow. “I wondered if you had had that thought as well, Brother Samson.”

“Oh, I did, Brother Adam, I did. But you were there, so I did not worry about making arrangements. I assume that you spoke to the med-man?”

“But of course.  I saw him remove the control chips from the mass-clones with my own two eyes.  Filthy things, those chips; I swear, you could smell the evil upon them.” Adam laughed. “Would you believe, the med-man doing the procedure wished to remove their homing beacon to Monsieur Personne, as well?”

That made Samson stop, in no small alarm. “Tell me that you dissuaded him.”

“Please, Brother Samson.  Between me and the nurse -- old enough to remember the Second Raid, she was, and with a bedside manner to match -- we convinced the boy to leave things be.  Didn’t take much; he’s a smart lad, just not an experienced one.  Once he understood why one might wish to give ex-slaves a way to track down their cruel ex-master, the med-man was all evil smiles and blurring fingers.”

“So, he’s settled then.” said Andy, his face clearing. “Thought I’d need to bring my mates in for this, but you two’ve already cleared up that loose end. Ha! I thought I was being clever, Samson, by working out you never promised I wouldn’t kill him.”

“You saw the opening, Andy. You just did not know how I planned to use it.”  The three had reached one of the clear domes that Loonies defiantly keep clear and and fine, just to see the starlight that they love. Samson looked up, and even through the naked stars above their heads. “I need men who do not need me to rule their lives for them.”

Andy tried to make a show of thinking over the implied invitation for work -- he was young, if a full man as Loonies saw such things -- but his grin gave that act the lie.  “I guess that you do, Samson Black. I guess that you do.  Just don’t look to me to find you a ship!”

“I have some thoughts on that,” mused Adam. “Nothing settled,” he hastily continued, “but I know where we can look for slots.  There are ships where three together might get berths where the same three apart would not. Mind: such ships are not for the dainty.”

“A term that applies to none of us, Brother Adam," said Samson. "But lead on!  Let us see what living the freebooter life on the Moon is truly like.”

“I should feel mad,” muttered Andy, “but I agree with you.  Everything’s calming down. Even the bribes get taxed, these days.  But what about that fool?” he continued, pointing a thumb behind him.

Samson Black did not look back; he did not even slow down. “What about him?  His story is over.”