The Bold Marauder: Chapter 3, Part 1

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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 

Chapter 2, Part 7 

 

If one asks a Loonie where they keep their worst ruffians and roustabouts, they will say ‘Dis,’ with a laugh -- then laugh again when other men scratch their heads in ignorance of the literary reference.  This particular lair of scum and villainy, as the saying goes, lies beneath Port Royale, but not deep enough for the sober citizens of New Madras or even the proud freemen of Heinlein City. Those of Port Royale find Dis more congenial, if sometimes in the need of a good lashing back to the depths. 

In Samson’s time on Luna Dis perhaps showed a bit more respectable a face than in other eras. In his day, one could still find hardened veterans of the last Corsair War, looking for berths to tide them over until the Tycho yards could carve enough ships out of asteroids and comet-stuff to allow another great slap at the pirates plaguing the Peace of Sol.  Yet even at its worst, Dis offered a captain all the unsavory and hard-souled spacers one could want for fell deeds in the Great Dark.  Assuming that they did not turn on their captain, in the end.  But that was the risk of filling berths from Dis.

Samson Black and his companions did not have to search high and low for a door to Dis.  At Andy’s instruction, they merely looked for the guards.  All known passages to that warren are watched over by steely-eyed Rangers of the Solarian Patrol; as a concession to the peril of such a posting, the Rangers are stationed in pairs.  Certainly the two standing post at the entrance looked alert and ready, while quietly amused that almost no-one quite dared to meet their eyes.

Samson Black would dare anything, however, and it pleased him to see the two guards recognize this as he and his companions approached them.  It was all courteous enough, and even friendly, for he had no quarrel with them.  Indeed, Samson maintained a high regard for the Rangers’ scruples, while not sharing over-many of them himself.  And Samson had no illusion that those scruples made the Rangers weak; he had seen them fight too often to scorn their ways.

The woman of the two Rangers seemed to be senior, although not by much.  “‘Ware, Terrans,” she spoke formally, but perhaps with less boredom than usual. “Go through this door, go beyond the Pale.  Expect no help from the laws or nations of Earth there. Expect no vengeance for your freely-chosen fate. And expect no response to your complaints, should you survive.”

The formalities done, her companion snorted a little. “Also, don’t kill anyone where we can hear them screaming.  Gutter-scum, or not.”

Adam nodded in agreement. “And Rangers have good ears.”  At the sound of his voice, the two Rangers’ hands twitched, in an abortive reflex to salute. Both guards looked keenly at Adam, but could see nothing but a spacer off his ship, but not out of luck.  

The Rangers then both visibly decided to relax.  If an officer of one or another of Terra’s myriad navies or bureaus was slumming in Dis, it was none of their affair; and if an officer was on a mission in Dis, then it was absolutely not their affair until they were told otherwise.  “As you understand, you may pass through, of your own free will,” said the senior Ranger. Her lips curled. “And may God have mercy on their souls.”

After the three had gone, her comrade chuckled, softly. “‘Their?’  Not ‘your?’”

“I said what I said.”