It was a larger than normal crowd in the graveyard. What was normally a quiet time for Mike and Tanta had blossomed into a full family event (living and dead) and the spread of food and drink covered more than a few graves. People were laughing but respectful as they talked of old times and poured a bit out for those who could not raise their own glasses.
“So they convinced you to come teach a few steps?” Mike asked with a grin.
Tanta nodded, loading Frees plate a bit higher over her futile protests. “They had another teacher, one of my former students.”
“Let me guess . . . she met with an accident.”
“Wrong twice, boy. He was out and out killed. Somebody is trying ta slant the results of the contest but they hit the wrong target cause now they gots me to contend wif.”
“Tanta I kin takes you where you wants to go but I cannot stop assassins once we get there, I just can’t. It ain’t my speciality.”
“Boy, you juss drive yer Bus. I gots others to watch my back when we is on the ground.” She looked over to Free and nodded.
“Tanta never travels alone, but I and a friend will be tagging along as well. You are right in that a determined hit will be hard to stop but the previous target was taken out up close and personal, not a bomb or large scale event. I will watch over her, I will.”
“La, see? You has nuthin to worry about except starvin, Eat more, I make this all up special.” Tanta shoved a bowl of gumbo towards him and he dutifully took some.
“Feed me too much and I won’t fit in my own pod. Once the contest be over then there is no reason for you to be targetted, no? So how long we lookin at?”
“Once we gets there? 10 days. But you has to get us there first. My sources say that they might try something subtle like a pirate . . . ”
Mike laughed. “I know too many pirates. If someone new tries something out there he damn well better be ready and trained. I don’t doubts that many of my friends would shoot me iffen I crossed their sites on the wrong side of the tracks but take out a contract on me? In the Bus? Oh some hotshot may pretend to be a pirate and make a try but I is fairly known and this is home turf.”
“I will get you there, Tanta. I will.” Mike set down his drink on a headstone and plate to one side. “I will stay for a bit and be back for the contest but I cannot be away for 10 days.” He stood. “But understand one ting and one very important ting at that.”
Mike raised his voice to fill the graveyard so all could hear. “If someone tries to take a shot at Tanta, who will put themselves in harms way to protect her?”
Free rose silently, as did everyone else present.
“Tanta, you do not risk one life . . . ” Mike hesitated. “I don’t count as one no more, being a podder but look around you. I gets you all there, all safe as far as I can carry you but know you are carrying a lot of life yourself.”
Tanta, seated on the grave like a queen on her throne looked about at all the serious and worried faces and snuffled back a tear. “Why you leave politicking, Eme? You so damn good at it. I knows what you is saying and I will listen to those worth listenin to.” She smiled up at Free.
Mike turned and took both of Frees hands in his own. “Call in what favours you have. Eyes everywhere, Ears everywhere else.”
She was about to make a joke until she looked into his eves and saw the pain. Silently she nodded.
There was a quiet moment then Mike grinned and scooped up the gumbo and set to serving other small parties. The celebration of life and death continued as it always had and probably always would. Old ways, they die hard.
No real lesson here. I am trying out some new things like running abyssal sites to make a bit of isk. I thank https://www.alpha-orbital.com/news/abyssal-solo-worm-fit for that. Good advice and a good ship fit goes a very long way.
I also am streaming on caffeine the runs, now and again, I usually tweet when I am doing that and include a link. Feel free to follow me on twitter @mikeazariah *could probably grab the link for above as well.
I am gearing up for Christmas and of course the Bus will be doing some fun stuff though it will probably be in game and less so in the blog. I WILL make a special stop each day and tweet it then hand out a largish gift or two in local to those who pay attention. That will be the 12 days of Christmas Dec 25-Jan 6 you heathens
But I have been lax and so comments to this post will be entered in a draw for a Worm. Damn nice little ship. 1 week or so before I make the draw.
fly it like you won it