Unnamed Journal Volume 3, Issue 3 - Page 25

Cantilever Jones Lands Hard I reach down and find her boot off and under me. I find a thin package containing what I assume is a credit scan drive. I kick the boot back over to her. "We decided," she says, "That given the circumstances, a bonus was called for." "Circumstances?" I say. "I flew in on an Imperial ammo charter. I was getting paid no matter what happens." " I know." "The Calosil was a finagle. A guy owed me a favor. I took no risk." She shrugged. I looked over to see if anyone was watching us. No one appeared to be, which made me suddenly very paranoid. "Don't panic, Rand. There's something she's not saying." "I know that, Norl. I'm waiting for her to tell me." "You know what the best way to do that is?" "It sounds like," I said, "that there's something you're not telling me." "Yeah," she said, "About that..." And from her belt she pulled a small detonator with a red button on top. "Oh no..." "Oh no..." And as the explosion sounded from blocks away, causing drunk Zinzoans to fall drunkenly from their wooden chairs and mugs to fall from trays and girls to stagger against the bar, all I could think of was that if any part of Vin survived and was salvageable, there'd be no talking to him. * * * The man who questions me while I'm sitting in an iron chair with sharp angles with my hands bound behind me with red steel handcuffs is not an Underofficer, nor is he imperial Legion. The all-black uniform would be giveaway enough, but even if he were naked I could tell by his eyes; redder than the ember of a dying star. This man is one of the Emperor's own Deathguard. That's how well the fight against the Zinzoan insurgency is going. I was arrested in a foolish attempt to verify that the Cantilever Jones was as destroyed as it sounded. It was: scraps and shards of it could be found for blocks. Docking bays 15,16,17, and 18 were all out of commission. Naturally they picked me up. Who could have expected otherwise? Still, the sight of the iridium blade hanging at his hip did not fill me with confidence. Even though I knew I was blameless - well, not entirely, but I certainly didn't blow up my own ship - I couldn't escape the notion that nothing I said was going to make any difference.