Barnum was a local legend that dated back to before the fall. He had owned the very first Firebug and no less than a hundred since then. The storys of his exploits had inspired songs and poems and novels, even three major movies that did pretty good back in the core planets.
He came on com and said to Filis “your buying next time I hit a bar, baby”
“The frengi joint ‘Alec’s can’ will handle your blind ass, and he claims to have gummy-berry wine, a keg of forty three I believe.” several hundred of his passengers shot to the end of there tethers as Barnum suddenly slapped what remained of his drive in reverse again and struggled to make it to alecs orbit as he totally shredded and gutted the remains of the drivelink while the burnt core struggled sluggishly to push power.
The failure was catastrophic this time.
This time the explosions blew dozens of panels off the drive housing and slung them hither and yon. Fireballs emerged from dozens of different sources with static discharges crawling everywhere for a few terrifying seconds before they dissipated.
Not one to let little things like that stand in the way of a good bender, he offered to trade what remained of the ship to the Outsiders for a tow to the docking ring.
How desperate the Outsiders truly were was proven by an immediate positive response, followed by an order to Alice for a ready made reactionless drive pack and a type two power core. Nothing fancy but it would fly locally just fine. The engineers guild were on wartime wages and everyone got paid all the time. So when the stripped down haul hit the cradle Alec’s off duty engineers put on there best gear grabbed there favorite tool kits and went to help.
The unknown enemy got blindsided by vermin again. The vermin had jumped in and hit them hard. Alice decided to let them slug it out for the honor of getting there butts whipped by her.
Alice slipped a small probe into the wreckage to gather Intel. As they brawled over possession of a resource rich system.
Notch was just going with the flow. He had been nervous about all the things he did not know. But Filis had told him that even with his lack of training he was the still the most qualified brawn she had ever had and she had then proceeded read him a list of all the stupid ways her brawns had managed to kill themselves over the years.
As the only choices were go or stay. He decided spaceman among the stars sounded way better then solo inhabitant of planet mudball.
The ride off the planet was a bit bumpy but he had had rougher rides while tied to the dock.
Filis spent the time explaining things to him as he cleaned up. The one called smiley was kinda scary looking, but he turned out to be cool. He was asking Notch questions and Filis would interrupt herself and get notch’s answer for Smiley and then continue the lesson on things that could kill Notch’s ass.
Notch looked at the pile of his supplies and grabbed a four pack of red bull and handed one to Smiley then asked Filis. “it won’t hurt him will it” she had him spill some on the counter so she could take a good look at it. She declared it safe for smiley.
They were docking about this time.
Because of a quirk of quantum intangiblement the liquid caused Smiley to slip from one time frame scale to another. The effect on Smiley was profound, the contents of the small container were produced in a universe with a different time frame and somehow as Smiley walked into the spacestation looking very cool with the silver an blue can in his hand. He suddenly took off like a shot and disappeared for a bit.
Two minutes later.
Smiley was flying back and forth across the rotunda in long leaps as Notch was showing the excited admiral the last two red bulls from the four pack notch had grabbed as he packed some food supplys for the trip.
Filis had to tell the admiral that in order to reproduce the effect the product must be produced were Notch came from.
Notch’s answer was to tell them the captain of the “lady in chains” had a bed made from Red bulls a whole pallet worth of Red bulls.
In order to hide the mission it was billed as a save the Lug race mission. Chappietoe had took one for the team when Mistytoe had brutally raped his poor scared ass in full view of witnesses. He had begged for help but mistytoe had been so scary that no one had been brave enough to make Mistytoe stop.
She had ripped the wall right off a werehouse to get at him. The subsequent chase had resulted in five warehouses two blockhouses and a few other things being destroyed. Chappietoe had been desperate enough that he even attempted to hitch a ride off planet. But mistytoe had caught him before he made the airlock.
Sympathy was still pretty high for them as the video of the successful conception had spread. There cloned son was hundreds of miles away from home and still running scared after his mother had almost killed him in sudden instinctual rage as she had came into heat.