- Small Worlds
- Chapter Twenty-One
Noonjack had been in the mess when he heard the scream. He stopped looking for booze and turned towards the door, then to Bushjack. "Where'd you reckon that came from?"
Bushjack closed his eyes and started nodded intensely. After a few seconds, he stopped and said, "Storage room 232. The gunslinger and...the shedim."
"The shedim?" Noonjack blinked. "I'm sure I killed him, but no matter. I can do it again. Come on, storage room 232's right near here, we can cut off their exits and then, heh, negotiate with the captain for a bigger reward. Go on then, Bushjack, lead the way."
They found storage room 232 empty, only a thin residue of acid coating a vent. "Well, they were
here," Pulpitjack said. "Maybe they got away. If they did..."
"And if my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfather. Think before you speak, Pulpit," Noonjack said. "The ship's locked down. They can't open an airlock if they could and they don't got suits. Where would they...dammit, the hanger!" Pulpit looked at him with a confused expression. "MORONS! CHECK THE HANGAR!
It was then they heard a creaking sound and all three turned to see the hanger door close and their target, Vaniah, standing in front of it. "Whoops," he said, "that wasn't very stealthy of me."
Noonjack brought up Vaniah's own gun and aimed it at him. "The captain wants you alive, but, honestly, I don't care what he wants."
Vaniah looked at him. "That's my gun," he said.
"Is that your power?" Noonjack asked. "Stating the obvious? Yes, it's your drekking gun. Can we move on now?"
"Sure," Vaniah said and activated the bolt cutters. "I'm going to be wanting that back."
Noonjack nearly laughed. "Seems like you brought a knife to a gunfight, V."
"You caught me unprepared and intoxicated last time," Vaniah said. "This time, I've had a little time to get ready." He started tossing the bolt cutters up in the air like he was juggling, always making sure he caught them by the handle.
"I'm tired of talking." Noonjack pulled the trigger of Vaniah's gun, but suddenly Vaniah wasn't there anymore. He had slipped to the side, around some crates, and the bullet hit the wall with a bang! Alarms sounded, alerted by the discharge, and Noonjack scowled. "Coward!" he yelled.
"I saw where he went!" Pulpit said and ran around the crates.
"Pulpit, you better be care-" Bushjack started to say, but was cut off by Pulpit's screams. The bolt cutters were imbedded in his leg. He howled in pain.
"A broch tzu dir!" Noonjack shouted. "Come out here and show your face!"
"Now, that wouldn't be very sporting of me." Vaniah's voice echoed across the room. "Why don't you come and find me."
Bushjack had turned the bolt cutters off and was trying to staunch the bleeding. Noonjack turned to him and said, "Pinpoint his location, Bush."
"He's bleeding badly, Noon," Bush said.
"I don't care," Noonjack said. "We'll get him patched up later. Right now, it's Vaniah we need. Now, use some of that Psyker magic you know."
"That's cheating," Vaniah's voice echoed.
"I'll find you!" Noonjack said. "Holt told us about all your little tricks. None of that 'Tenser, said the Tensor' crap will work, you know." Bushjack closed his eyes and rocked back and forth, sweat dripping into his eyes. "Bushjack here was trained with the Second Sun himself. Our ema was proud of that. He'll find you and then I'll put a bullet in between you eyes, Vaniah."
"If I told Zeke everything I knew," Vaniah said, "I'd be a bigger fool than you. In fact, I once came across a repetune so powerful it put three Psykers in the mental ward before they destroyed it."
"Bluffs, Bush," Noonjack said. "Where is he? Where?"
"I-" Bushjack opened his eyes. "He's thinking about….something in the dark."
"Something important?" Noonjack asked.
"Yes," Bushjack said. "Something...he left...in the rain. I-I can't...seem to take it. 'Cause it took…so long to bake it."
Noonjack face went slack. "What?"
Bushjack's face twisted into agony. "And I'll never get that...recipe...again." Then he let out a fierce screaming "No!" that twisted whatever was left of Noonjack's soul. Noonjack caught him as he collapsed and slowly cradled him in his arms.
"I warned you," Vaniah said. Noonjack looked up and saw him standing before him. He was holding a small pistol. "My gun. Now." Noonjack put it on the floor and slid it to him.
"Go on then," Noonjack said after Vaniah picked up his weapon. "Kill me."
"Unlike you, I don't shoot unarmed men," Vaniah tucked the small pistol away.
"If you leave me alive, I swear to God above," Noonjack said, "I will find you and end you, Vaniah Variah Vayne."
"You're certainly welcome to try," Vaniah said, then brought his gun down on Noonjack's temple.