Meeting somewhere somehow
Mission: Chapter 9: Steam City
The pirate crew had been staying in the abandoned dormitory near an empty factory for some time now. Blazingtail the cook had made himself a nice kitchen, McGinty had swept the place clean, but most pirates still preferred to go into Kanesville for food. Kanesville had a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from, all reasonably priced for the factory workers of the town.
Daenelia had tasted one meal by Blazingtail and decided that going out for dinner was a great idea. She wandered the street that had vendors and shops selling small bite sized street food. None of it seemed particularly appealing. She stopped at a cart selling sausages in a bun.
Shanen stopped and glanced at the woman who had joined the queue behind him. He thought he recognised her as part of the group of people that had been travelling on the same train as him a few days previous. The last few weeks had found Shanen temping as a train guard on the lines from Columbus City out to towns like Kanesville, Harling Pass and New Canton.
The woman seemed to notice his attention. "They say it's sausage." He said quietly, "I have my doubts but it tastes good and that's all that really matters." His accent was unmistakable Brittish and might have seemed out of place in an out of the way Old West town. A smile formed at the corner of his mouth at the joke.
"I think I recognise you," he continued. "You were on the train from Harling Pass, right? There was a large group of you. Looking for work?" He enquired, politely making conversation. He was doing more than making conversation with a pretty woman, his line of enquiry had personal motivation behind it. His own employment with the train company was coming to an end and he was trying to source his next job.
"No, no, not work," Daenelia started. She didn't mind that the guy assumed they had come in by train. She was happy to know that it wasn't common knowledge how they arrived or where they were staying. Keeping a low profile was hard enough for a bunch of pirates. She had seen this man around the train station and she guessed that's where he recognised her from.
"Hey! You see any hairs in there?” a new voice interjected, the source of the teasing query striding over to Shanen and the woman. 'My luck is in today,' the blonde man mused as the slight, dark skinned woman bounced over. Another one from the train, she seemed to be familiar with the other woman, or else very forward with strangers.
"No hairs." Shanen responded with an easy smile, turning to meet the dark beauty, " My thinking is that if you're happy enough to pretend whatever kind of meat they're serving is actually sausage then a few stray hairs won't do you any harm."
‘Oh, if you only knew,’ Ashrieda wanted to say. Unlike the Captain, she hadn’t been driven to the streets by Blazingtail’s cooking. The only difference was in the color of the hairs that ended up in the food. But there was too much chatter in the dormitory, and not enough doing. That was dangerous.
“Good enough,” Ashrieda replied, grinning at the pretty-faced stranger. The Captain always seemed to have some kind of way with men, and that usually meant something to do for the crew.Turning to the vendor, she said, “Gimme one of those.” She handed the vendor some change and the vendor handed her a hot, steaming sausage bun, and it smelled fantastic.
“You remember that cook Nick?” she said gleefully to the captain. “He used to cook amazing sausages.”
"He did. I guess ash is less annoying in food than hair," Daenelia answered, remembering Nick's constant cigarette. She paid for her sausage, as Ashrieda and the man continued to chat. The three of them ended up walking away from the vendor together.
"I better hurry up," Daenelia said, through a mouthful of sausage. "The ticket office at the station opens in half an hour, and I need to be first in line to buy tickets to Columbus City." Buying 40 tickets for the same train shouldn't be a problem. Old West railways were twice as wide as Brittish ones, its trains huge wide double-decked vehicles. Each wagon could hold 100 second class passengers if filled up completely. The wealthy first class travellers could hire a luxury cart for themselves and their retinue. Daenelia would be happy to just get her whole crew in one wagon at least.
“Heading to Columbus? Bit of a step up from this backwater. Heading that way myself actually." He confided. "Work with the railroad has come to an end and there's likely more employment to be had in the city." He kept other suspicions to himself - 40 people travelling together but not looking for work? A mention of a cook? - Shanen couldn't quite place where these people were from or what they were but he had an idea.
"You want an extra companion to Columbus City?" He offered, "I know you're not from around here but I know the city pretty well." That was a lie but he was already trying to work his way into the good graces of these strangers. If he could do that there just might be a job for him.
Daenelia looked at Ashrieda, who was chewing her food. There was an almost imperceptible nod. Ashrieda had noted something about the man that she approved of. Daenelia hoped it wasn't just his looks or accent. She turned back to the man. "Sounds good, mister...?"
"Trevor. Shanen Trevor," he said smiling as charmingly as he could, despite his misgivings.
"Well then, mister Trevor, welcome to our band of... desperados. Would be great to have someone along who knows the train systems and the city." She extended a hand to seal the deal.
Ashrieda swallowed her sausage and grinned, realizing that she’d been right about the afternoon ending with something to do. She only hoped that if things went bad she wouldn’t be blamed and dispatched like Kevin Price.
“Welcome to the gang then, stranger,” she said, shaking Shanen’s hand and giving him a look that clearly said, ‘Don’t screw this up’. “I guess we’d best get you to the dorm and let the captain get those tickets. Would be unfortunate if we all missed out on getting to Columbus City.”
"Captain?" Shanen thought to himself as he looked to Daenelia. He had his suspicions but with the confirmation of her title and the reference to her band of desperado's, the man knew exactly what kind of group he was attaching himself to and it suited him just fine. "Your word's enough." Replied Shanen holding out his hand for Ashrieda to lead the way.