We're on a train!
Mission: Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
Daenelia held out her arms to keep her crew behind her. "Hush!" she whispered until the corridor finally emptied. Judging by the rich carpet and the paintings on the walls, this carriage must have been reserved for the richer of the passengers.
As big as the cabins were on this carriage, none of them could comfortably hold twenty-two people and one cat, especially when those twenty-two people and that one cat weren't supposed to be on the train. The captain didn't have a plan, and the crew was certainly running out of time.
Bridget tugged on the captain's coat. "We don't have tickets. Do we, Captain?"
Daenelia stuck her hand down her blouse and pulled out a huge roll of tickets. "We do, actually," she said.
Remington snatch the roll out of Daenelia's hand. "First of all, they've got Kanesville as the departure point!" he said. "And the train didn't stop there!" Daenelia nodded. "Secondly," he continued, "this isn't today's date. They're for a train two weeks from now! If they find us, we'll get detained by the the rail marshals!"
Colton snorted. "Yeah, sure," he sneered, "they're more likely to toss us out the window."
Remington turned to the cowboy. "Great help you are, you illiterate waste basket!"
Faizel prevented Colton from adding another murder to their recent crimes, and the crew spilled out into the corridor looking for a better place to hide. Hopefully they'd find a place to stash their gear as well.
"This door won't budge" said Brem in a matter-of-fact way, tapping his wrench on the brass door at the end of the carriage. "Who's knocking?" came a muffled voice from behind it. Daenelia glanced quickly at her crew mates, from Ivan Petrov, down to Blazingtail, and up at Shanen. "Shanen!" she cried as she grabbed the war dog by both shoulders. "You were working for the railroads, do you have your badge?"
"Yes, but..." he started as he reached into his pocket. The captain shoved Shanen in front of her. "We're rail marshals, and we've come to inspect his carriage" she said into his ear. A hatch opened and a pair of spectacled eyes appeared. "We're rail marshals!" said Shanen, holding up his old badge. "We've come to inspect your carriage!"
"What? Again?" The eyes behind the hatch squinted at the group. "My. There are a lot of you."
"Just open the door, sir," Daenelia said in a deep voice. There was a sound of keys jingling, locks snapping open and muffled voices. As soon as the door started to open, Daenelia and Colton shoved against it, knocking the man down a full set of stairs and into the parlor beyond.
It was luxurious down there. The furnishings were elegant, and only the slight sway of the chandelier gave any indication that all this was aboard a train and not part of a mansion. Five men and women were sitting around the dinner table, three children were playing by the fireplace, and a butler was just entering the parlor from the adjacent kitchen, and all of them were staring at the pirates with their mouths open.
No one here seemed in any position to stop a bunch of cutthroat pirates from waltzing in and taking over. The pirates flooded down the stairs carrying their belongings in sacks and bags.
"They've got TWO butlers!" cried Every when she spotted the crumpled man at the bottom of the stairs.
"We're the Peacocks, you can't just come barging in here!" The elderly man sitting at the head of the table stood up with an indignant look on his face. "What is this?"
Ashrieda dropped a box of swords in front of him. "Good question. What is this?" She looked sideways at Daenelia, who shot her a look as well. "A hold-up?" the captain asked. "Cohabitation" Ashrieda suggested.
"Brilliant," Daenelia said. "Keep calm, people. We only need a place to stay. Play along and you probably won't get hurt."
The Peacocks had rented the entire luxury carriage to travel to Columbus City in style, and now it belonged to the crew of the Steamhawke. They soon ushered the family into the servant's quarters, which was a cramped handful of cabins on the upper storey. The rest of the place was roomy and equipped with all the modern conveniences. It was heaven compared to the tight living conditions aboard the Steamhawke. And the pirates could use the Peacock's tickets to get into all of the high-class train cars.
But what to do first? "Make yourselves at home!" ordered Daenelia with a grin on her face, and she pulled a reluctant Colton into a spontaneous dance around the parlor.