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THE COMPANY OF ADVENTURERS

By Elizabeth Buchan-Kimmerly All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

Blurb

THE COMPANY OF ADVENTURERS When two ex-convicts bought a clapped out spaceship for a new, possibly almost legal, business as interworld truckers, they could not have imagined that fifteen years later they would be juggling babies, slavers, butterflies and frozen livestock. With an engineer who can fix anything, a horny cook, three kids and a travelling medical clinic on board, every day presents a new challenge; whether it is escaping an angry crimelord on a farflung moon, or enrolling children in the central education system. Their jobs take them through a system of terraformed planets and moons where a strong central government's reach weakens in the New Worlds, leaving gaps where the rule of law becomes at best a suggestion. Communications are advanced, but trees are rare. Newlyweds, belly dancers, farmers, cultists. People looking for a brighter future somewhere Out There. The Company of Adventurers is a family saga covering those 15 years as Rand Hudson and Dita Aglukak move from robbery and smuggling to find themselves prosperous and almost respectable.

Chapter One: A Tonne Of Money

Rand Hudson glared at Snake. “What d’ya mean the cargo is bronzers? ”

“Puts new meaning in the name two-bit thief, don’t it, boss?” ,Dita Aglukak, pilot of Rand’s ship, Bluebell put in.

“Heyyyy, Rand. Don’t get yer knickers in a bunch. We’re not stealin a few coins here. There’s a tonne …an acktuel tonne. …of coin available.”

“What is that in value?” asked Dita.

“Ah, that’s the right question. It’s one an a half million twobyte coins. Total value three million.”

“An our cut?” asked Rand.

“Five percent, on accounta the biggest problem will be disposing of them all. But that’s gonna be my problem.”

“So. Fifteen thou. In bronzers?”

“Nah. In platinum, or notes if ya want.”

“Coin, any day.”

“So, we’re agreed?”

“Let’s look at the plan, anyways.”

Marco Majumdar surveyed the dockyard. At this late hour, it was quiet and locked down. Bright lights flooded the place.

“Do they got dogs?” he asked Rand.

“Snake sez it’s took care of, same as the watchman.”

“Dogs don’t take bribes.”

“But they like high meat, even if it’s doctored. The watch is givin them something special with their dinner t’night. And then he keeps his back turned and we chloroform him, just a little.”

Dita had hotwired a stolen hauler for the container-trailer. Wearing the same thin leather gloves as the men, she swung clumsily into the van whose door had been crudely jimmied.

“I hate lookin so unprofessional, Rand,”said Marco.

“Stop callin me by name, durin a heist then. We don’t know that the yard ain’t miked too.”

“There’s cameras?”

“Course there’s cameras. That’s why Dita has the pregnant belly and blonde wig. That’s why the full beards. An’ why the burnooses. An why the truck hasta look like some amateurs took it.”

Dita checked her watch. “Showtime, boss.”

The plan went smooth. Marco ‘overcame’ the watchman and duct taped him to an office chair, with just enough roughness to keep the cops from suspicion. The stolen hauler was hitched to the container-trailer easily, since hitching and unhitching containers was a normal task for the crew of a freighter

Then they were out of the gate, closing it behind them, and driving quietly into the centre of the city, where it was easy to get lost in the traffic. After an hour or so of random driving, they headed over a bridge to the pickup point, another transit yard, this one near the spaceport.

At that yard, a new crew took over unloading the container into four smaller vehicles. One of Snake’s men, took Dita’s belly and wig and drove the rig back into the city. He would abandon it near where it was stolen and dump the disguise in the washroom of a fast food restaurant. With luck, a tired cleaner would just toss the washroom trash into their dumpster and it would not be found.

“Providin he don’t decide to choose a bar instead. Cops will check those first.”

“His problem, not ours.”

Snake had sent one of his gangsters to deliver their pay. Each got a heavy purse with 5,000 in platinum coin, which took a lot less room and weight than the bronzers had. The purses were still heavy, Rand gloated.

Mamie picked them up walking a few blocks from the transit yard in the mule. The burnooses and fake beards went into a charity clothing bin on the way back to the spaceport.

“Now we make a quick getaway in case the feds catch on to us, but we ain’t got nuthin with us that connects us to the caper.”

“Ooh, we did a caper! We never get to do a caper!” Mamie and Marco high fived.

Rand groaned. “Don’t celebrate yet. Snake is still using us. If the Feds manage to connect a ship leaving port quick after the ….robbery….” Mamie looked disappointed that Rand hadn’t said ‘caper’ again.” We could still be in trouble. We gotta stash the coin for a while.”

“We’re not far from my folks, boss. I could go for a short visit,” said Mamie .

“He got someplace to bank this coin?”

“Easy peasy. My daddy’s got more outbuildin’s that he got kids.”

“Thank you for bringin my lil girlie back for this visit, Captain Hudson.”

“Thank you for lettin me take her in the first place, Mr. Dieudonne.”

“An the money she’s been sendin home, I can’t say that hasn’t been a help. Her lil sister is as smart with her head as Mamie is with her hands. We’re hopin we can afford to send her to university after she finishes her Twelve. All the kids is putting in a bit for her tuition.”

Rand took the plunge. “Mr. Dieudonne, I gotta proposition for you. We done pretty good on our last job, pulled in some good coin. I don’t like banks an I don’t like carryin too much cash money around with us.”

“Mmmphm.”

“Would you see your way clear to letting us keep a good portion here. Mamie says you got lotsa outbuildings for storage.”

“This cash money wouldn’t be in bronzers, would it, Captain Hudson?”

“Nossir! We got paid in platinum.”

“You heard about the Great Bronzer Robbery on Caligula?”

“We don’t pay much attention to newswaves when we’re flying, sir.”

“Not exactly an answer to my question. Which is an answer in its own self. You ain’t putting my sweet girl in any danger?”

“No moren any of us workin out here on the edge. Things can get hairy at times and the Navy ain’t too fond of us independent contractors, but seriously I never want any harm to come to your girl. She’s our sunshine.”

“That muscle ain’t givin her a hard time?”

“Majumdar? He tries anything, he knows I’d space him. Or worse, tell his ma on him.”

“That kind of tough guy, eh? Alright. Pick a shed and put your stuff in it. Don’t tell me which one.”

“Thank you, sir. An we’ll be making a contribution to the university fund.”

“Yes, you will.”

“So Daddy was okay with leavin our money there?” Mamie asked, climbing into bed.

“Once he was clear on Marco’s intentions towards you, yep.”

“Marco’s? He didn’t ask about yours?”

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