Leonis, 1:12, 2:15 - Roach Hotel - Fly Papers

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"Ready to board your airship, Gerald?" Kate asked, adjusting the bag that contained the fidgeting cat around her shoulder. She shifted her weight and clutched the axe head as pain shot up from her aching knee. "Ow, damn it!"

Gerald winced in sympathy. "I'm sorry, Kate. Just hang in there until we shift and it'll be better."

"I know, I know, but hope doesn't make it stop hurting." Kate paused. "Oh, listen to me, Gerald, I'm not even in 1950, yet, and I'm complaining like an urbanized wimp."

With a laugh, Gerald patted Kate on the shoulder and walked by. "Come on, we've got a dirigible to commandeer."

<<*>>

"Papers?" the smartly dressed airship conductor requested as Kate and Gerald approached. He glanced at his gold pocket watch, snapped the cover closed, and returned it to a dark blue vest pocket.

"Papers...uh, we don't have papers," Gerald said. "They were burned along with everything else we owned. We just need to get out of here and get to her mother's in...uh..."

"This ship's destination is Tribec by way of Ulfahme," the man said coolly as he examined Kate's makeshift cane with his nose a bit in the air. "Regardless, no papers, no weapons, or no admittance. Do you understand, Mr. and Mrs?"

Gerald reached for his energy pistol, but Kate stopped him.

"Summers, Mr. and Mrs. Summers," Kate interjected and then held up the crimson bag, rattling it near the conductor's face. "We have money. Do you understand that?"

The conductor twisted one end of his handlebar moustache with his left hand and held out the right expectantly. He looked back and forth to make sure he wasn't seen. "Ten shills."

Kate glanced over at Gerald. He shrugged and she began removing one coin from the bag at a time, placing the gold discs in the man's palm until he closed his hand. Kate patted the axe handle. "What about my, erm, crutch, sir?"

The hand opened once more, received another pair of coins, and closed.

"From the boarding ramp, take a right and your room will be number eleven. Now, kindly move along..."

<<*>>

Gerald opened the heavy, red velvet curtains and let the orange hazy afternoon light into the wood-paneled room.

"Wow," Kate said as she entered the stateroom. She lay the bag in a chair, hobbled over to the bed, and fell backwards from where she stood, landing in the plush furnishing's center. "This is damned fancy. I don't believe I have ever experienced anything this...oh, what's a word you would use, Jerry? Help me out."

"Clean?"

"No, smartass. More like rich or..."

"Lavish?" Gerald said, staring out across the field at the still smoldering city with his arms crossed.

"Lavish. Yeah, that's a good one."

"I was thinking gaudy," Gerald said flatly.

Kate rolled over and placed her head on her hand. "What's the matter, Gerald? You thinking about Cameron?"

"Yeah, but something else is troubling me."

"What? You know we're nearly home free."

"No, it's not that. I am still wondering what happened to this place. Was this an attack by the Negexis, or something more homegrown?"

"Oh, I see." Kate traced a gold accent sewn in the bedding's comforter. "Well, to me, the conductor didn't seem to be too concerned with what was going on and neither did that Gold character.  In fact, no one I've run into around here seemed to be in any sort of panic. I would imagine if it were an attack, they would be acting differently, huh?"

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