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The Reverse Stick-Up, Part III

Posted on Sun Aug 9th, 2020 @ 1:00am by Karen Dawson MD & The Narrator
Edited on on Sun Aug 9th, 2020 @ 1:08am

Mission: The Milk Run
Location: Martinboro, Hera
Timeline: Bit After Missile Strike on Echo

Thing 1 and Thing 2 - as Karen thought of their tails, had eventually backed away enough in the Farmer's Market for Jacob and Karen to do business in the high-traffic produce area. She'd bought a tough canvas bag with three thin sheets of cardboard to keep the bottom secure. All the while, she and Jacob began to go crazy at the various stalls.

Karen's method was a bit more methodical. The heavy produce first, to fill the bottom. Which, after their first three visits to various stalls, she had three heads of lettuce, fifteen big carrots, and six cucumbers.

"They're still following us. Have eyed you since you pulled that fancy purse of yours," Karen finally told Jacob with a grim tone. "Want to borrow my vest?"

All the while, Karen made note of the not-so-subtle Thing 2 by a squash vendor some four-stalls-down.

Dark eyes widened for a brief moment as Jacob regarded the doctor beside him. Palm casually held up in a stop gesture, Jacob shook his head no. He assured Karen quietly and politely. "You keep that vest and don't worry about me, okay?" He paused for a moment, then added. "And my purse isn't that fancy," with a very mild indignation to his tone that was followed by a flash of an amused smile. "If they think we're an easy mark," Jacob whispered conspiratorially. "They'll be sorely disappointed. Literally."

Karen handed Jacob the heavy canvas and picked up a long, flat wooden crate for the fruit vendor next to them. Here, there were strawberries, blueberries, and even some cherries.

"I'm thinking a few bags of potatoes will finish the heavy load I just gave ya," Karen continued on for the benefit of Thing 1, who was now at the stall next to them. "And I'll buy the fruits... Anything you want?"

There were other fruits as well, but nothing very exotic. No matter the answer, Karen intended to keep the conversation flowing and natural.

Jacob didn't know about her gun. Not yet and maybe that was a good thing. For all her talk of longing for civility on the ship, the one thing she possessed that she often defined as belonging to barbarians - was her handgun. Which was another reason she gave him the heavy load - so she could get to it with ease.

The scent of soft fruits briefly catapulted Jacob away from Hera and back home, to the bigger, broader and safer markets of the Core. Uniforms on every street, familiar faces he would speak to, wave at and smile, make promises, do lunches, enjoy exclusive client privileges... Karen spoke and he refocused, mentally shaking away the imagery and tensing slightly as full recall of their current situation slipped back into place.

"Mangoes," Jacob said on an exhale. But they were rare even on Ariel. He smiled and nodded. "I can carry more if you want," he offered gladly, as he snuck a look around them casually. Definitely still two on their tail. As he turned back to Karen, the companion raised an eyebrow, but said nothing more than that. His free hand, however, formed a fist as he traded a significant look with the doc.

"At least what you carry, wont be squashed, if we end up having to toss dung," Karen spoke very quietly in his ear, when she went to smell the mangoes. "Yes. Those smell ripe. Want some?"

He felt the saliva rise up into his mouth at the very thought of the sweet, fruity flesh, and despite their surroundings, Jacob beamed an indulgently guilty smile. "Yes," he answered, his teeth as bright as the impish glint in his dark eyes. "I want some." Then he caught Karen's gaze. "Do you think our friends back there want some?"

Karen smiled at the double-meaning and shrugged innocently before she finished buying Alden's list of fruit, then she led Jacob out the main gate toward the small lot of ships and shuttles parked a few minutes away.

"They still behind us?" Karen asked casually, once she had spot their shuttle.

"They are," Jacob replied quietly. "I think it's time for an intervention," he suggested then, enthusiasm creeping into his tone as he added. "Suspect they think we're an easy mark..." He leant a little closer to Karen's ear to whisper covertly. "I'll take left, you take right?"

"Freeze! 'Dis here's a stick-up!" Thing 1 announced.

Karen sat her perishables on the ground gently, once she turned around. "If you're gonna rob us, I'd at least like some food to eat."

"We ain't robbin' ya," Thing 2 said. Both their accents were iconic Fringe. Both had unshaven faces. Pale skin. Karen assumed they were related.

"We're here ta take your ship over dare," Thing 1 corrected.

"Then this would not be a stick-up... You want to high-jack us," Karen corrected them casually and gently moved aside. She gave Jacob a stealthy wink. "By all means, take the ship if it means you spare our lives."

"Oh..." Thing one looked very perplexed by the manner at which Karen obliged them. "Well... Thank you, Ma'am."

"Stop bein' nice to tha mark, Amos," Thing 2 told the slightly younger and thinner man.

The one called Amos walked toward the ship while Thing 2 continued to look at Karen and Jacob suspiciously. All it took was one moment. One mistake, and she could pull her gun without incident.

Jacob was trained to fight, he'd been trained in a very expensive, very exclusive Companion Guild House for precisely moments like these. Moments where the rougher, dumber or just plain crazy elements of society decided to try and push their luck, even the score and balance the financial books. It wasn't, of course, going to happen. They weren't going to steal the shuttle, and they definitely weren't going to hurt him or Karen.

Oh no. Karen had a gun. Jacob had the moves.

It would, the man told himself, be too damn easy. So, in the depths of his intelligent, well-bred, and impeccably brought up civilized mind, Jacob opted for the fun route.

He set his bag gently down on the ground, stretched out his arms, and let his fingers reach as far forward into the free air before him as was physically possible. Just warming up. Safety first and all that.

As Thing 2 watched, gun aimed at his intended prey, Jacob considered how filthy this combatant was. He wondered briefly how much time had passed since either of them had bathed, then pushed that vile thought to the back of his mind. His body was a weapon. His mind was calm.

And as he moved, Jacob was a blur of speed and agility with an aim to incapacitate. He kept his body between Karen and Thing 2 as he flipped forward through the short space between them, then simultaneously swept his right foot at the awful unshaven man's left ankle, and slapped him very hard across the face. The element of surprise was sometimes far more amusing than the deft and beautiful art of war.

Amos used this scuffle with Jacob and Thing 2 to run past them. Karen, at that same time, had begun to sprint to the shuttle with her box of perishables. That, and to get a bit of distance so she could line-up a few shots with her pistol.

"Aaaaaaah!" Karen felt herself falling and sliding across the dirt as Amos had alas got her ankle.

Belly-down, Karen had no hope of pulling her weapon. And various berries and fruit had fallen out of the lid. Funny, that she was more concerned for that than the road-burn under her shirt.

"Come 'ere," spoke Amos.

He too had fallen while trying to grab Karen. And on that realization, Karen kicked him hard in the face with the heel of her boot, picked up her tray of fruit, and continued to run to the shuttle.

"Owe-owe-owe," the young man yelled while holding his face and rolling in pain.

"How ya holdin' up?" Karen shouted back to Jacob as she sat the tray inside the shuttle hatch.

Subtlety and finesse, Jacob considered, like this ruffian had likely never witnessed before, that was the gift he gave him. That and pain, mostly. He'd dodged a grimy fist, aimed far too slowly to have been any danger whatsoever, grabbed the wrong side of that wrist, and twisted. Far enough to make the man yelp, while his left leg caught the back of his right knee and dropped him to the ground.

He was sat atop a mess of limbs attached to the prone, grumbling local as Karen turned around to check up on him. A bright smile and a clear thumbs-up were offered before Jacob called back.

"That was fun," he announced, "we should do this more often."

"Ah, then we just load up and get going then," Karen spoke happily. When her head reemerged from the shuttle, so do did her handgun, which instantly popped loud from a well-aimed discharge.

"Aaaaaaah," Amos yelled out in agony. He had attempted to stand and run toward the shuttle, for which at this mid-range, Karen landed a successful 9mm hit to his shoulder.

"You can bring the bag of produce, I got this," Karen insisted with a playful grin.

"You gorram bitch -" Amos growled through the pain.

Jacob shook his head, but made sure the now semi-conscious Thing 2 was deprived of any obvious weapons. He wasn't about to sully his own reputation or good mood by putting any bullets into anyone, but the companion did tie the man's hands behind his back with Thing 2's own belt.

Standing up, Jacob lightly ruffled the man's hair with mock affection, picked up the shopping bag and followed behind Karen, a light frown briefly marring his perfect features.

"Now... Pick up your pal, Amos, and get out of our sight," Karen spoke as she kept her gun pointed at Amos's center mass.

Amos looked left, right, left again, and gradually stood up. With his gimped arm, he turned his back to Karen, but at this point, she didn't take any chances. Fired again when Amos ruffled his good arm inside his pocket.

"Aaaaah!!!!" Amos dropped a sawed-off shotgun and instantly grabbed his left buttcheek.

"Right... Time to go," Karen sighed with annoyance and went back inside. Closed the door behind Jacob. It was that point Karen saw Jacob, checking his cortex. "What?" she asked with concern.

Jacob's face hadn't paled any, but the expression spoke volumes as he looked up and over to Karen. The cortex screen reflected against his skin, his shoulders tense and his eyes deeply worried. "We have to head back," he said and handed the Doc his terminal for her to see for herself. The message was from Alison, and it read:

'Jacob. We need Karen back. Right. Now. Noah-Jade is dying. When you get it, come to Serenity Valley. I'll be on the radio. Waiting.'



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