It took the Sheriff and Roderick the better part of an hour to walk the prisoners back to town. With the ship they flew in on disabled by the EMP grenade, Roderick was very confident that they never had a chance to call for help which meant the ordeal was over. While riding back into town, Roderick ordered his ship to contact Rocket Patrol Command, known to officers of the patrol as the RPC, to send a ship to pick up multiple prisoners. The sun was moving behind the main planet so to avoid people getting upset by a ship land in or near their town. There was a small patch of land behind the Sheriff’s house, and that was used to land a ship at night when no one was looking to ship prisoners out of town and to RPC headquarters for processing. The ship arrived just after seven in the evening after the sun went behind the main planet. Roderick was waiting in the back when he heard the soft humming of the engine, and backed away to the door to clear the space as the cloaked ship made its landing, putting four decent sized imprints into the backyard behind the Sheriff’s office and jail. Moments later the ship uncloaked and the door opened. A man twenty years his senior stepped out of the ship.
“Nice to see you again, Commander.” he said to Roderick.
“Likewise, Captain.” Roderick said as he walked up and shook the old man’s hand.
Captain Jim Rogers was a thirty year veteran of the Rocket Patrol. He was the best pilot in the solar system and was often sent out whenever prisoners needed to be transferred or if high ranking members of government needed to be transported with discretion. Rogers was also the man who taught Roderick everything he knew about being a productive and thorough member of the Rocket Patrol. Roderick’s first assignment out of the academy was working with Roger in the same transport. That was before he became an active space ranger with a ship of his own. Rogers made Roderick the pilot he is today, probably second only to his mentor.
“How many do you have for us, Benny?” Rogers asked.
“You know how much I hate to be called that.” Roderick said as he scowled at the old man. “I have seven.”
“You have been busy.” Rogers observed. “Come on rookie, we have seven scumbags who have a date with a Rocket Patrol tribunal.”
Roderick watched as a young woman, who could be any older than twenty-three, emerged from the transport. Her Rocket Patrol uniform squeezed her elegant hour glass frame, and her blonde hair was rolled up to not only make her less distracting but also to not get in her way when flying in zero gravity between planets. “Yes, Captain.” She quickly replied as she walked past the two men and said nothing else.
“Who’s the new rookie?” Roderick casually asked.
“A royal pain in my ass.” Rogers said with a smile. “Her name is Miranda O’Brien, graduated top of her class last year at the academy.”
“O’Brien?” Roderick repeated. “Irish?”
“Not from Earth, but definitely has background from that area.” Rogers answered. “Her great, great, granpappy was born on Earth but she was born on the Irish colony in the Neptune sector.”
“Only the Irish could put up with that planet.” Roderick replied. He’d known from experience. He was there several days and it didn’t stop raining the entire time.
“They’re a tough bunch.” Rogers said with a smile. “Separating each nation to a planet of their own has created great peace throughout the solar system.”
“I know.” Roderick agreed. “Having light years of space between nations rather than a thin border has done wonders for Earth.”
“No wars for over two centuries.” Rogers admitted. “That has to be a record for that rock. In recorded history at least.”
“Is she any good?” Roderick asked as he watched her walk one of the prisoners on board and then walk back in to get another once he was secured on board.
“She reminds me of you when you were training with me.” Rogers answered.
“In other words, she’s going to be the best.” Roderick concluded.
“Also the best pilot.” Rogers also added. “She has a bright future.”
“Good to hear the RPC has a bright future, just in case we meet our makers sooner rather than later.” Roderick said as he watched her walked two more prisoners on board. “Do you need any help rookie?”
O’Brien looked back at him. “That’s all right Commander. I’m sure you are busy enough checking out my ass every time I walk by, Sir.”
“Do you have a problem with that, Rookie?” Rogers snapped back.
“Of course not, Captain.” O’Brien answered. “I’m used to people staring at it, and I don’t blame them. It’s quite a sight.”
Roderick couldn’t help but grin at the rookie’s cocky attitude, which was very similar to how he conducted himself when he was in his first full year with the Patrol. O’Brien had a bright future indeed. “She has the right attitude for the job at least.”
“You can say that again.” Rogers agreed. “Need a lift to the HQ?”
“Nope, I got Red here.” Roderick answered. “I also need to stay in town at least another day to finish up work here. Today’s events delayed my hearings.”
“Suit yourself.” Rogers replied. “I can’t understand how you can stand living in such a tech free environment.”
“It’s almost like going on vacation.” Roderick answered. “Sometimes a more simple life is refreshing and relaxing.”
“Well that’s all of ’em, Benny.” Rogers said as O’Brien went back on board without so much as a word. “She’s not big on good byes.”
“That’s all right.” Roderick responded. “She’ll be more friendly when she gets to know me.”
“I doubt it.” Rogers disagreed. “This is the friendliest she’s been in almost a month.”
Roderick laughed. “Get these guys back to HQ as soon as possible. No stopovers, this is a priority one arrest and zero contact with anyone unless it’s an emergency.”
“Understood.” the old man said as he gave a half assed salute. “See ya around Benny, watch your six.”
“Always do.” Roderick replied as he shook the Captain’s hand and then watched as the old man got back on board the transport.
The ship started to hover upwards and when it was about six feet off the ground, it re-cloaked so that it could leave town unnoticed. After the ship disappeared, he went back the saloon. He had to get some sleep before getting back to work on the left over hearings. As he walked back to the saloon, he hoped that Mags has something left over for him to eat. He would not be disappointed.