Mudcat Café message #210120 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20177   Message #210120
Posted By: Amos
11-Apr-00 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
Subject: RE: TAVERN STEAMBOAT- Albert Hansell Part 3
"Well," the grizzled patriarch said, "I don't like it, I don't trust it, and it smells funnier than day-old beans. But you've got the spunk, and I appreciate what kinda trouble a sense of duty can be. So I'll agree to your request and try and locate you back to the Hansell, assuming we can find her. Hey, Topsy and Turvy!!!"

At his call, two bright eyed young women shortly bounded into the room shown on the screen on the Gambler's wall. They were identical in every respect, to an astonishing degree, both full-blooming in their late teens, with astonishing heads of rich red hair and flashing, mischievous green eyes, pale skin and smiles that could draw a man clear to Saint Joe, the Gambler thought.

"Which of you caterwaulers is navigating today?" demanded Lazarus.

"Me, me!!! I am!!" they both replied. "She is not!! It's my TURN!!!"

"Enough!!!", roared the patriarch. "Don't get me angry or you'll end up navigating the dinner dishes by hand! Put your damn pretty heads together and make me a transtemporal matrix that will zero in on this fella's river boat back on Terra I, about 10 absolute hours past his arrival here oughta do. That'll make it...let's see...36 hours local minus the parallax adjustment for the center of masses on the arc -- about 10:00 Sunday morning there. perfect. See to it, you devil-spawned good-for-nothings!!!". He accepted what the Gambler saw as an uncomfortably passionate hug from each of the redheads, spanked them affectionately, and sent them out of the field of view.

"You will have to be very alert, sir. There are more things at play than any ofus fully understand here. Keep your powder dry, and if you will permit me, I will provide you with a small gift as a token of my appreciation for your report."

The screen and Lazarus long's visage faded, and a panel in the wall opened. The Gambler went over to it, alert for the unpredicted, and grinned with surprise. Two beautiful matched derringers, plated in scrolled silver with perfectly tooled mechanisms, lay in a dark oaken velvet-lined case in the hatch. He hefted them admiringly, sighted and worked them, checked their loads and placed them under his jacket on either side. He looked around expectantly. A faint hum caught his ear, reminding him of a tuning fork he had slaved to as a young boy learning to play piano in Elmira, before he ran away to the river.

The white room in which he stood clouded in his sight and he blinked uncomfortably. When he opened his eyes next, he was standing on the promenade deck of the Albert Hansell, a rich Cuban cheroot in one hand and a snifter of the old Knight Malvent de Chat-Pied's best brandy in the other, smiling and shaking his head in disbelief.