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Chapter 27 Ungar's help

Ben's eyes slowly opened smelling cafe with Celeste curled up next to him. “I have breakfast in bed for you this morning,” as a small bot deposited a tray on the side of the bed with a hot steaming cup and some sweet rolls. “Lora picked up the coins very early this morning, I can see all one thousand of them are in the same place as her tablet. We have two of Davin's less than the brightest thinking they are well hidden in the woods. Anyway, Ungar will be here shortly so when you're ready, join me in the salon.” Celeste sauntered out their cabin and Ben could swear her hips were undulating more than usual. He grinned, ate his rolls and headed for the shower.

“Ungar's here Ben.” “You can see the smoke I take it?” “No, I can see the location of his coin.” “Why do their tractor things belch so much smoke?” “It's an old but durable low technology. The engines are simple to make, the seed fuel isn't highly combustible, and the smoke is partially burned fuel. You may have noticed the driver doesn't shut off the engine while he is here. I would bet they have to be turned over by hand, or you have to wind a spring to start them. I suspect they only have one facility that makes the same tractors over and over at a slow production rate. In many ways their transportation systems are elegant. One puller and a large variety of carriages and trailers to be hauled. I'm lowering the ramp now and sent out the robot platform to give him a ride and carry the gold. If you would please meet him at the hatch, I'll mix him a couple of drinks.”

Ungar slowly moved his bulky frame up the ramp. “Greetings Ungar, how are you today?” “Still alive and happy to be so. Might you have one of these Manhattans to calm my nerves? It's strictly medicinal of course,” he said with a wink. “Of course, please follow me, and take the chair, I'll bring you your medicine. Celeste will join us in a minute or two.”

Just as Ben settled in and handed Ungar his drink, Celeste walked in and joined them. Ungar took a sip, cleared his throat and asked. “By perchance have either of you left the ship?” “No Ungar, neither of us have been any further than just outside the ship to enjoy some fresh air. Why do you ask?” said Celeste. “When the Marshal was being executed he said the witch, meaning you, had moved money around, and he didn't steal anything. This seems to have struck a nerve with the Senior Elder. It's almost like he thinks it's possible you took the money and moved it, he just can't figure out how.”

“There is a second thing Captain,” said Ungar wiping the sweat from his brow, “Davin is now watching your ship all the time, and he will know if anyone leaves. The new Marshal is a particularly brutal man. He asked if it was possible I could kill you both with a slug thrower. I advised him this was not a good idea. I think he would seize any opportunity to take your ship.” “Don't worry Ungar, we know there are two troopers watching us. They can't hide from us, but on that subject, we need some help from you. Lora and her friends need a place they can meet and a location to store some matériels. Do you have any good ideas?”

Ungar gave Celeste a sly grin. “You know I'm the trade adviser,” he said proudly. “My duties include taking care of the warehouses, their inventory, and maintenance. Lora and her friends can be assigned to work in one of them. They can meet every day and there are few others that work in them. Just a handful of loaders and they are a lazy slow witted lot.” “Two more things on our list Ungar.” “Can you have one thousand pieces of hardwood about four feet long and about two inches by two inches delivered to this same warehouse?” Ungar paused for a moment, “Yes, I can order it from the sawmill, but it will take two days to have them made.” Ben chimed in, “One last thing Ungar. Does this building have inside access to its roof?” A puzzled Ungar nodded. “The buildings are old and roof repairs are a constant problem, so yes it is a necessity. There is always a ladder and hatch to the roof on the second floors.” 

“Perfect Ungar, and thank you,” said Celeste. “I have loaded the stunners onto the robotic platform for you. The next trade I will make with you is fifty bars of gold in exchange for five hundred stunners. They will be ready in two days.” “Please keep my daughter safe Captain. I am old, and she is young, and my only living child. I would gladly trade my life to give her a good future. My driver will take me to visit with her this evening and get a list of her friends.” “We will work very hard at keeping Lora safe Ungar. When you get back, it's important that you refuel your tractor. Have a safe trip back, and we will see you soon,” said Celeste.

“Well, Ungar sure helped out. That was a pleasant surprise and reduced some risks, Ben. My biggest concern is having a tablet, or our plans discovered before we are ready. Davin will instantly know we are involved in something. If that happens we will have to wait a minimum of a day after I infect the troopers and Elders with my special explosive, have to find the jakes the soonest express. Two days would be better. Let's have lunch and see how Ungar's delivery goes. I did a small test on their electrical grid last night and popped a single breaker feeding the women's quarters last night. It took them four hours to get it reset. If it had been elsewhere like the CatherdaI I don't think it would have been faster.” 

Ben pushed the last of the green stuff around on his plate and sighed. “Why is it when you cook, I seem to end up with lots of salad?” Celeste gave him a crooked grin and glanced at the door to the small gym. “Yeah, I get it, I'll do better,” sighed Ben. “Ungar's showing up,” said Celeste as the vid came to life.

Ungar walked into the conference room followed by a trooper carrying a box. Ungar pointed to the table, the trooper set the box down and departed. Just as Ungar sat, Marshal Bard walk in and examined the stunners. “The Senior Elder has been delayed. There is a problem with his tractor. I need to know more about the ship. What kind of weapons does it have?”

Ungar leaned forward with a serious look. “Although I wasn't there when the trooper shot at the Captain a red ray of light burned a line in the grass just inches from his feet and then a large red spot appeared on his chest. This trooper wasn't one of our brightest. However, he clearly understood just before he fainted this could be a blackened hole going clear through his chest if the Captain wished it. The other troopers understood this too. As for other weapons, I'm sure they must exist, I just don't know what they are.” Major Bard leaned forward. “If we could separate them and capture one, we would have a hostage to trade with. What would the Ben person give to have his whore Captain back?” Ungar starkly noted, “Or you could end up with an angry and very powerful wasp's nest Marshal. I urge much caution. If you can't guarantee 100% success, it would likely result in your head being removed.”

Flushed and sweaty Davin stomped into the room and looked at the stunners. “Do the men like these Marshal?” “Yes Senior Elder, very much. It seems that stunned unconscious women are far more compliant than the awake ones. There are also fewer injuries caused by bites and scratches. They argue over who gets one.” “Can you get more Ungar?” “Yes, they offered five hundred more for fifty bars of gold in two days time.” “Make it happen. I have to see the transport adviser. My tractor won't start and the worthless driver is clueless.”

“Do you think the tractor has a fuel problem Celeste?” “Statistically likely. Let's have an early dinner. You will have to be up at the crack of dark to do some walking.”