Regina - Man Whores and more
Now Wally’s a hard worker, pretty good at bringing in the cashy money and all that. But sometimes I do have to wonder about these contacts of his. The first one checked out though when I contacted Brody about him. Sold us a load of last years clothing from the central planets, that the upper crust of Regina would clamor for. Now I don’t know gos se about fashion, but Qin said they was nice clothes. He insisted I take a nice new brown suede duster from the cargo once we’d dug through it. What my crew would do without cullin’ a cargo to fill our pantry I do not rightly know.
Well the clothes was a shiny deal, but the next weren’t so good. Turned out a man named DiMarco wanted us to transport “work tools” to Regina. Well they weren’t tools they were containers of slaves. Gave him his money right back and told him no. Now I did feel more than a bit bad about just leavin’ him in one piece to cause more trouble for folks that didn’t need it, but I already got one mission to rescue someone. If we live through the rescue on Regina, I will see about introducin’ Mr. DiMarco to the proper end of my revolver.
Didn’t have much trouble findin’ a buyer for the clothes when we got to the city on Regina, his shop was on Level 5, and he and his bitch of a wife came for dinner on ship to discuss the deal. Paid us a goodly sum that’ll keep us in the black for a bit longer provided we don’t get ourselves killed while tryin’ to find Vena and the others on the list. As we was cleanin’ up from the dinner and congratulatin’ ourselves, the gorram purple bellies came for their cut. Said we was sellin’ “knock offs” whatever the hell that even means, but it cost us two thousand of our shiny money. Gorram bastards always there to get their pound of flesh.
Next day was supposed to be easy. Head down to Level 9, and find Yumi Watanabe. Mal told me that she could get me to Reverend Amos Beiler who is our connection to freein’ the slaves. I don’t know how he does it, but Travis got lost and Wally made it even worse. Instead of comin’ a long with us, they got distracted or some such and ended up meanderin’ around the Level 1 where they caught the attention of the local authorities. They got themselves arrested for bein’ Man-Whores!
Now that man is supposed to be my pilot, and the more I know him, the more I see he can’t find his way out of an open sack. And to think the two of them was Man-Whores – well it just ain’t possible. Thankfully the police was decent folk, and only charged 200 credits to get them out. Qin dug the money out of their stashes, since I conjured he knew where they hid their money in their cabins. The cops even wrote me out a nice receipt and all. Had to send them back to Tempest to get cleaned up though. They both smelled like sweat, sex and worst. I let Qin handle the mockin’ of them for Rob and me while we waited for them at a café.
Finally headed down to Level 9 couple hours later than I wanted to. It was stuffy, filled with people, an underground ghetto that rivals quite a few that I’ve been in ‘round the ‘verse. Watanabe’s noodle stand did make some fine miso ramen though, and she did agree to talk to us once I dropped Mal’s name. Played the game of bribes and payment with her in her converted container home, settlin’ for 750 to get us to Beiler. Got a bit confused when she explained she wanted gold not creds, but we got it sorted out. Her grandson, Ryoko, number Six, took us down level after level each worst than the last to get to the fourteenth where he passed us along to an ugly cuss named Josiah.
Josiah brought us the rest of the way to the hidden church run by Beiler. By then my leg was hurtin’ bad enough that I had a hard time concentratin’ on the conversations goin’ on. It’d been one hell of a long time since I’d walked that far in a single day, and those Alliance doctors didn’t do me no favors when they patched me up after Serenity.
Beiler was a gruff old man, but nice enough. Doin’ all that he can to feed the hungry and help free anyone who wants off the crap ball planet. I told him I’d take a ship load off with me, along with the names on the list. Vena was my priority since her sister was payin’ for the operation to save her. He said he’d do his best, and send someone up top to tell us where the people were that he could find. Then he sent Josiah to take us up the cargo elevators so I didn’t have to walk the whole way back up. By then I was grittin’ my teeth to keep from cryin’.
The Reverend and his folk avoid technology, so Josiah was sayin’ he’d have to whip himself for usin’ the elevators, but Beiler said I wasn’t goin’ to be able to help anyone run iffin I couldn’t walk. After the first level or so in the crap shoot lifts, I had forgotten all about my gorram leg. Thought we was goin’ to die more than once per second on them things. Never again.
We got off on Level 10, and decided that we’d just walk the rest of the way. By the time we got back to Tempest, I was a mess. Qin brought me a handful of painkillers and massaged my leg until I could stand up long enough to change my clothes and eat.
A kid showed up few hours later to tell us that four of the people on the list were “private indentured servants” at the Mayor’s house. And of course, considerin’ our luck, Vena is one of ‘em. Now we’ve got to figure out how to break into the Mayor’s house and rescue them. Should be a ton of fun. Hopefully none of boys or me ends up wearin’ one of them collars by the time we’re through.