::'''''Small Worlds'''''
::''Chapter Thirty-Four''

Noonjack was more than slightly irritated at being dragged back to the ship by Zeke's men. He sat in the medical bay fuming about his inability to find and kill Variah. "Bastards... both of them." He said, glancing around the frustratingly empty room. Zeke obviously had no intention of letting him catch up to the gunslinger.

Someone behind him said, "Hm... you would be Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, would you not?"

Noonjack spun around. A graying old man leaned against the wall behind him. The man was wearing a dusty, gray suit and a rather out-of-place green tie, and held an elaborate gold watch in his hand. He had missed the man on his first scan of the room, something that he would normally not have done. He assumed he was on some kind of medication, possibly dulling his vision. "Who the hell are you?" he asked quite loudly.

"Someone very rich and very interested in your situation, if you understand me."

"I've got a job," Noonjack pointed at the door with his thumb, noting that his arms still worked perfectly. "working for these bastards."

"I have no intent to change that, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon. However, I do have something that I need you to do for me... in the background. You and your brothers will be handsomely rewarded if you cooperate." The man smiled. "Very handsomely."

Noonjack looked at the man, slightly interested. "And if I don't cooperate?"

The man held up the watch, allowing it to hang from his hand on its golden chain. "Have you ever heard of a ''blaggemol'', Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon?" A twisted smile, more comparable to a crescent moon than any expression found on a sane man's face, ripped its way through the man's otherwise eerily calm countenance.

----

Variah emerged from the woods behind the small child, and saw his ship in the midst of a clearing. The Wooster seemed to be in perfect condition, save the slight damages to be expected from its sudden landing. He turned to the psychic child and said "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers". The child repeated it several times and ran back into the forest, content with its newfound plethora of rhymes and tongue-twisters.

"So, Werther..." Variah said, looking at the collapsed vessel. "How long will it take for us to lift off?"

"If the whole ship's this solid, we should be able to push off right away." Werther said, walking around the outside of the ship. She found an access hatch and forced it open. "In here."

Variah and Visstor followed her into the ship. They squeezed in and Werther sat down at the controls, checking the status of the ship or some such nonsense. "They sssshould be trapped in the foressst, gunssslinger... but they are not sssstupid." Visstor said, looking over her shoulder. "What nexssst?"

"We slip into their nearest station, and look for an upgrade. Something faster, and preferably..." Variah moved so that he was not pressed between Visstor and Werther, "one with a little more leg room."