Mission: Chapter 8: Pirates and Cowboys
Colton sat on the barrel that he was supposed to be carrying, and watched the others on deck with a suspicious glint in his eye. The cowboy had seen some of them back in town of course, had brawled alongside some, had gotten drunk with one of them and had considered murdering one of the others. But this was the first time he'd seen just what a sorry bunch of misfits 'Nelia had brought along with her.
Most of the crew of the Steamhawke were busying themselves packing up supplies and taking them off the ship, in preparation for the long trek. Colton had been roped into helping now that he'd accepted the captain's offer to join the crew. But he was more interested in sizing up the men and women that he was stuck with for the journey.
The first mate, Jefferson, was a broad mountain of a man, standing tall and proud despite the walking stick, barking orders at the deckhands. His grey hair spoke of advanced years, yet Colton was having a hard time placing his age.
Another who was hard to read was the one-armed man wearing a gas mask. He was managing to contribute to the task as hand, but he needed frequent breaks. Right now he was leaning against the railing and making horrible wheezing sounds. Guessing that the man was tainted, Colton swallowed back a wave of revulsion. The only good tainted was dead one. Mind you, just being around Daenelia made him want to kill her as well. He'd just have to learn some self-control.
"MISS BROOKS!" yelled Jefferson in aggravation. Colton and the rest of the crew on deck turned around to see what the commotion was about. Squatting with a leg of pork sticking out of her mouth was a red-and-green coloured Icari girl. She stared up at the first mate with wide eyes, and pulled the leg out of her mouth. The rest of the pig was still attached, although already partially digested. "S.. sorry?" she offered.
"Goddamn flying rat" muttered Colton, jumping off his barrel and striding fowards with his revolver raised.
"Who put Harriet in charge of provisions?" Jefferson was demanding of the boatswain. But Faizel's attentioned had been grabbed by the sight of the burly cowboy pointing his weapon at Harriet. Jefferson noticed and grabbed Colton by the wrist. "What are you doing, boy?" he demanded. "What does it look like?" countered Colton, wrenching his arm free. "You've got a vermin problem, and I'm gonna solve it."
But Jefferson stepped in between the cowboy and the Icari, who poked her head out from between his legs. "The Captain says Miss Brooks can tag along as long as she helps out. And if you start trouble again I'll have you locked up in the hold, and we'll leave you behind. Would you like that?"
Those were exactly the wrong words to say to Colton. He mentally added Jefferson to the list of people he'd like to kill, and backed away without another word. The cowboy made a show of picking up his barrel with indignance, and walked off wondering if that was the correct form of the adverb.
"You want my advice?" asked McGinty as Colton passed him. The swabbie was doing his job, cleaning the deck with his third-favourite mop. "This is yer life now, learn to lives with it."