Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 03 - "Shipwrecked"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin gets busted

Category: Fantasy - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2008-10-04 - Updated: 2008-10-04 - 2644 words - Complete

At the end of his final run, Jimbo was there waiting for him with a few other fishermen.

Little did he know they weren’t the only ones waiting. Jimbo’s men loaded the “supplies” that “Jordan” had “ordered” (part of Gwanga’s payment for Slash’s arms), mostly things that Slash’s clan was currently short on. It only took a few minutes to load the outrigger, and when they were finished, Justin suppressed a sigh of relief. Silently hoping he wasn’t celebrating too soon. His brief dealings with Gwanga were less harrowing than his run-ins with Slash or the night patrol. They seemed to sense his extreme dislike of the TSA, and his resentment, and at least they trusted that.

When his men were finished, Jimbo took off the backpack he was wearing, telling him, “Well, Jordan, we rounded up all the stuff you needed, and here’s that special order your Captain made…”

Jimbo unzipped the backpack, and Justin saw intermingled coins, wads of bills of many colors, and other items— a hodgepodge of currencies from many realms. Slash, of course, would use it to trade with passing ships. Perhaps even the Authority itself.

Justin smiled; he couldn’t help it at the thought of all these guys rising up against the Authority. But he understood full well that whatever Slash’s real motive, she wasn’t doing this out of the goodness of her heart; he was glad these guys were smart enough not to bring their ideals with them to the bargaining table.

Jimbo zipped it back up and handed it to him, saying, “Nice doin’ business with ya, Mr Robertson, tell your Captain—”

“Nobody move!” a harsh voice cut in.

Both Justin and Jimbo’s crew looked around in alarm and confusion as TSA guards sprang from a couple ships docked next to the outrigger. Justin wheeled around to see the owner of that voice step out of an equipment shed next to him. The young man, decked out in an officer’s uniform, pointed a power pistol at Justin and walked up to him as Jimbo’s men put their hands on their heads in accordance with one of the guards barking orders.

“Nice work, Jordan,” the young man told Justin. “You led us right to them.”

“If that really is your name…” Jimbo muttered.

“But… wait… I don’t even
know this asshole…” Justin’s head reeled as he tried to explain to Jimbo that he hadn’t sold them out, while at the same time trying to figure out what exactly had happened. “Jimbo… I didn’t…”

Before Justin could stammer any further, something next to one of the ships blew up in a guard’s face with a barely audible “Shit!”

This was all the distraction Jimbo and his comrades needed to draw their own concealed weapons and open fire on the guards before they could regain the initiative. And Justin used the opportunity to swing the pack and nail the guard leader in the gut, knocking him down as he bolted for a gap in the scattering guards. He would never be able to fully account for why (beyond the simple
Once a streetrat, always a streetrat), but as he fled the scene, he slung the backpack with Slash’s money over his shoulders as he ran.

“We’ve been set up!” shouted one of Jimbo’s men, “Retreat! Retreat!”

Even as he said this, a few more “fishermen” ducked behind various objects to lay down cover fire for them.

“Hey! Get back here, you son of a bitch!” cried the young TSA officer, whom Justin was now increasingly certain he had seen somewhere before. “I’ll kill you!”

He staggered to his feet and took off after Justin. Who dashed through the crowd as his pursuer fired several shots at him. Unfortunately, once the shouting gave way to shooting, people began taking evasive action, quickly reducing his cover.

At least the other remaining guards had taken after Jimbo’s comrades.

Though he’d had no real plan to take the money and run, he had decided of late that he was willing to risk the wrath of both Slash and the Authority for a chance at escape. He knew he had no chance at stealing a ship with so many guards around, so he decided to get out of Bates, where he could hopefully give them the slip out in the woods. And if they were persistent enough to follow him into the Ruins, he would at least have some weapons. And an alternate exit.

Justin knew that Bates was a shantytown no different than Benton, a haphazard maze of streets and alleys for which there was no original design. He also knew that he didn’t know his way around here nearly as well as he knew Benton, but the guards
did, and they would soon move to cut him off. That is, if he didn’t hit a dead end first. The only thing he could think of to do was a trick that had served him a couple times in the past.

Seeing his opportunity, Justin scrambled up a stack of crates next to one of the shanties, jumping on the roof. The mystery officer, meanwhile, had holstered his sidearm, and quickly climbed in rabid pursuit. He matched Justin move for move as he fled across the ramshackle roofscape, leaping the narrow alleyways between shacks.

Unfortunately, Justin was too busy with this persistent adversary to notice another hooded figure trailing both of them from the street below.

Another guard took inspiration from his commanding officer, and climbed up after them. Even though he found it hard to keep up with the chase, he tried anyway. At least until he stepped on a particularly rotten, or perhaps poorly built, roof panel and fell through with a half uttered curse.

As his adversary continued to gain on him, Justin tried to remember where he had seen this guy before… And when it hit him, he nearly lost his stride at who he was dealing with and why he hadn’t thought of it before. During his years in Benton, he had heard rumors of some kid, the bored son of some Board member or another, who was being trained by some of the Authority’s mercenaries. His name was Trevor Something Or Other, as he recalled.

This must be him…

Though his roof-hopping stunt had yielded him a nearly unobstructed path out of Bates, now that he was near the edge of town, the gaps between shanties were getting larger. Even as he slowed down, fearing that this Trevor (or whatever his name was) was going to catch up and slow him down still more, spotted a cable— probably a communications line— running down from the roof he was on to the wall of a nearby shack. Realizing that he would have needed a way down at some point anyway, he shrugged off the backpack and slung it over the cable.

In that brief moment, he felt a flicker of disbelief at what he was about to do as he gripped one strap in each hand and slid down the cable.

Trevor muttered something Justin couldn’t hear as he tore off his jacket and looped it over the cable, following suit.

Justin let go of one of the straps just seconds before he would have slammed into the wall, dropping to the ground flailing. A guard, who had simply stood there watching Justin descend upon him, ended up breaking his fall. Still, Justin skinned both knees and one elbow as he tumbled across the ground, but he hardly noticed as he staggered back to his feet.

Through it all, Justin never let go of the backpack. He nearly fell on his face again as he pushed the stunned guard aside, snatching his power pistol as he took off once more. Even as he ran, he tried to get his bearings.

Trevor, meanwhile, had made a somewhat more graceful landing, and was now closer behind his quarry than ever.

As Justin ducked around surprised onlookers, who were also trying to duck out of his way, he could see a road ahead leading out of town to the forest. The guards had not yet barred this way out—

And with possible escape in sight, someone in the crowd reached out one foot and tripped him. All he got to see was a hooded figure fleeing into the crowd.

This was all the opportunity Trevor needed; as Justin skidded along the ground, he at last closed the gap, dashing out ahead of him.

Justin tried to raise his power pistol as he struggled to his feet, but Trevor kicked it out of his hand, then reached for his own sidearm.

Yet Justin still had an ace up his sleeve. Slash had sent him in unarmed— or so she believed— but he had managed to keep his laser staff carefully hidden. Mostly just out of fear that Slash would take it for herself if she knew about it. Now he reached into one of the tall boots of his
Sea Breeze uniform, firing it up and slicing Trevor’s gun even as he tried to dodge.

Trevor stared at those neon blue blades, a most unexpected development, for a long moment, then smiled. “I don’t know who you stole that from,” he told Justin, “but let’s see if you know how to use it…”

Then he threw aside what was left of his sidearm and drew a radiant orange laser blade.

By now, a group of guards was beginning to swarm around the scene, but at the sight of the two combatants’ weapons, they kept their distance. Some of the Authority’s mercenaries, as well as some travelers, carried such rare weapons, and they knew the dangers of energy blades.

Justin knew his chances of escape were shrinking exponentially with every passing second… and this Trevor bastard was just grinning.

“Your move… streetrat.”

With that, Justin sprang into action, lunging at Trevor in one last, desperate attempt to hack and slash his way to freedom. They clashed blades several times, Trevor parrying and blunting each attack in turn. It was just starting to dawn on him that even though this Authority brat wasn’t much older than himself, those mercenaries had taught him some badass moves, that he was in even deeper shit than he could have guessed.

The guards had even started chanting Trevor’s name, cheering him on as he made sport of Justin’s desperate struggle in front of everyone.

“You son of a bitch!” With a furious cry, Justin flew at him with a wide, arcing swing.

And Trevor sidestepped the whole thing, nailing Justin with a low, sweeping kick that sent him sprawling. Justin watched in horrified confusion as he hit the ground, losing his grip on his staff, the shimmering electric-blue blades winking out as the staff rolled out of reach. Probably for the best, given that if he hadn’t lost his grip, or if the thing had been locked on, one of his own blades would likely had cut him in two.

Even as he tried to regain his feet, one of the guards planted his foot firmly on the grip of Justin’s staff.

Adding insult to injury, Trevor shut down his own weapon, tossing it to one of the other guards, saying, “Nice toy… I think I’ll have to hang on to it since you’re not worthy.”

“Master Fitzgerald!” one of the guard officers called out, “Your father—”

“Do you mind?” Trevor cut him off, “I’m trying to have a little fun in this boring—”

In Trevor’s two-and-a-half seconds of inattention, Justin sprang at him with a wild right that nearly knocked him flat his ass. He then wasted no time charging the guard who was in the midst of reaching for his staff. His one hope of breaking free of the crowd.

Unfortunately, the strain of pursuit and combat, of every move and every blow, had begun to take its toll, and he found himself dogpiled by a fresh group of foes.

Trevor had regained his balance, and stood rubbing his jaw for a moment in stunned silence. Gone was the playful, sadistic smirk from only moments before, replaced by a snarl of unrestrained fury.

“You little fucker…”

As the guards dragged Justin to his feet, Trevor strode up to him at a slow, deliberate pace. Justin struggled against his captors, trying to squirm free even as they yanked off the backpack with the money. Then Trevor let out a long scream of pent-up rage as he pummeled Justin with a volley of punches and kicks.

It didn’t take much of this punishment to leave him hanging limp in the guards’ arms, with no more strength left to resist them.

And it was during his first full-fledged beatdown that Justin finally got a good look at the hooded stranger who had tripped him earlier. Despite his pain and fatigue, his blood boiled at the sight of those flaming tattoos and the realization that she was no stranger. No stranger at all. He coughed and wheezed, trying to regain his voice as she turned with a flutter of her cloak and wandered into the crowd.

“You’re going to work a long time in the mines for this, you little streetrat shit,” Trevor told him as the guards bound him. Yet Justin barely heard him, nor felt the cold steel that would be his closest companion for the next few weeks as the shackles were clamped onto his wrists. “
Nobody gets away with pulling that crap on my island, Jordan Robertson… if that even is your real name—”

“SLASH!!” Justin screamed with all of his remaining strength. The only thought left in his head right then was that there was no way in hell he was going down alone. That he was going to let her just get away with this. Though later he would have no idea what possessed him to do such a stupid thing, he blurted, “Blaze is Slash! Slash is here on this island! She was just here a minute ago…”

Then he was cut off by another coughing fit.

“Is that so?” Trevor arched an eyebrow at that last as a guard handed him Justin’s staff. He wagged it under Justin’s nose and told him, “I don’t think you’ll last long at Pullman, but enjoy it while you can.” Yet the longer he looked at Justin, the more he was certain he had seen him somewhere before. “You’re pathetic! So tell me, what do you have to say for yourself, ‘Jordan’?”

“Fuck off and die…” Justin croaked.

The last thing Justin remembered was one of the guards rifle-butting him upside the head before he was dragged away to backbreaking labor in the mines of Pullman Island.

Trevor spit at where Justin was standing moments ago, then told the other officer, “I want to know who he really is. And bring me a report on the hunt for the other insurgents. Somebody snafu’ed this thing, and I want to know who.”

“Yes, sir.” The officer handed Trevor his own laser sword back, then walked away.

As the officer departed, another man, one of the mercenaries, came up to him, saying, “A message from Command! The insurgents in the port area have fled, and so far we’ve counted five dead and eight prisoners. The one called ‘Jimbo’ remains at large. We are continuing the pursuit, and have begun an investigation into the location of the smuggled arms.”

“Excellent. Carry on.”

Trevor stood there for a long moment, examining both his own weapon and Justin’s…
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