Last Minutes Passengers

“No, if you decide that it is too dangerous that gets you a pat on the head for having some survival skills. What it does not get you is a refund. I suggest you have the ‘many lawyers’ you have threatened me with to look at the contract you signed, direct their attention to the waivers and the fact that you did indeed sign it in front of witnesses. Now I have less than an hour to go so unless there is something else? Good day.” Mike switched to the next channel. “You are fortunate, there is a last minute opening.”

“Dude!”

“Have you and your fellow graduates in the hanger in less than one hour”

“Sweeeeeeet! We just gotta make a run for booze . . . ”

“What part of ‘all inclusive’ do you not get? The bar is up and serving already.” Mike ran his hand through his hair and closed the connection. “Grads.”

“Ahem.”

He jumped and looked up. “O lords of all above and below. Aren’t you taking a bit of a chance being on THIS station?”

Free smiled and stepped to one side to show she was not alone. “I go where I am needed.”

Mikes face drained of all color. “Oh no. No no no no and hells no. Do you know what I am . . . ”

“She did what we needed and we owe her the escape she almost had. The one you stopped.” Free’s face was resolute and Mike was fairly sure that he was going to lose this argument.

“The chances of survival . . .” He tried to protest.

“Are better than 50%. We have seen the information on your Party Boat.”

“If I am caught transporting slaves, especially this one.” He sighed and looked at the ceiling. “I am worrying about taking risks . . . me” He started to laugh. “Fine, fine . . . .how are we going to do this?”

“She is well trained as a dancer. I suppose she and I could just blend in.”

“You too, eh?” Mike looked them both up and down. The heir had great taste in slaves and Free had a body that could make the Theological council have to change their robes. “Right, to keep her safe.”

“And to get her to the emergency pods when you are blown up.”

“Doesn’t anybody think I will make it through this race?”

“No. But this might help.” Free handed him a handful of capsules. “Synth. Might give you an extra moment when they start locking you.”

Mike bounced them in his palm then slipped them into a pocket. “My biggest regret is I won’t get to see you two dance.”

Free leaned over, making it impossible for him to focus on her eyes for a moment. “You’ve seen me dance before. Maybe after the race?”

Mike chuckled and waived them out. “You are hired. I’ll let the ship know and you will be cleared . But Free? This is my ship, my passengers. NO targets of opportunity.”

She looked at him for a long minute before nodding shortly. “Agreed.”

After she left (and he enjoyed watching both of them walk away) he sighed and brought up the maps one more time. “Where the hells am I going and why the hels am I doing this?”

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