Day 8, Early Afternoon
Pulling the Slizzard, even with the help of R. Nug had been no picnic. When we brought the carcass around the corner of the bluff, I saw Mariana sitting outside the front door obviously taking a break. I called out, “Get off yer duff Lady, work inbound!”
She jumped up and turned, “What are you dragging,” she asked with a hopeful tone?
“Just the biggest Slizzard we have seen yet. And we kept the blood in this time!”
She was running back in the door before we stopped, “Kurt, get the pump and the storage containers; we just hit the Mother Lode!”
I sat down on the ground, “R. Nug, orders. From this point forward R. Nug, when either Mariana or I are in military mode, you will additionally respond to Pvt. Nug. Allow yourself all of 30 seconds to feel good about it.”
For the first time I can remember, He actually asked a question. “Does that mean in a military situation that I now have a Rank?”
“Yes, Pvt. Nug it does.”
“Then I believe that the correct response is ‘Sir, Yes Sir’. The other Col. Stuart fed me a complete file on Military Courtesy.”
“She did, did she?” I asked, choking back a laugh.
He replied, “Yes Sir, she said something about being ready when the big lug started things rolling.”
I just had to turn away before I really did convulse into a laugh. Raising my wrist comp, “A. Stuart to Robert Davis, Private, Sir, could you possibly meet me at the Bio-Lab?” His reply quickly stated that he would be there in about 10 Min.
I moved over to where Mariana, Kurt, Sally and Linda were rapidly draining the Slizzard. “Anything you need from the hulk when I gut and dress it?”
Mariana looked over her shoulder, “Yeah, everything that’s not going to be cooked. As intact as possible and I would have loved to have the brain.”
“I could send somebody to see how much we could scrape off the countryside.” I offered.
“Bite me, Shooter,” was her fast reply. “By the way how did the firebrand do?”
“Surprisingly well, she has all of the skills. She’s a bit rusty like all of us but Lord is she fast. You need to get a DNA scan on her; she had the slack pulled on that trigger when I shot this big joker.”
Mariana looked stunned, “The only people I have ever heard of getting that close are Ash and Gabriel!”
My laconic answer was simple, “That’s why I have to get her Command Trained, we are going to need her.”
Just then, a voice behind me said, “Judging by the get-up I guess I should be talking to Col. Stuart.”
I turned to the slightly built man standing about four feet away, “Actually I just not have had the time to change. The names Andy, what do you go by?”
“Mostly Bob, what is it I can do for you Andy?”
I motioned him to follow me off a few paces, “Rumor mill at Hanna’s place has it that you are a Tanner and Cobbler?”
“Yes, there was a small steady market for custom stuff back on earth and I used most of my carry area to pack my essential tools.”
“Well Bob, look at that sucker, and estimate how many pairs of boots you could get outta that hide.
Bob stared for a long moment and gave a low whistle, “Depending on who does the skinning anywhere between 15 and 25.”
“OK Bob lets make a little commercial deal. You skin it out and assist Dr. Stuart in recovery of the internal organs. Then I need one pair of nice, comfortable square-toed Wellingtons in size 11E. The rest of the hide is yours.”
He looked stunned and thought for a minute and said, “You’ll never get those 14’s of yours in a size 11.”
“Not for me Bob, not for me!”
He just grinned, “I think your getting suckered but, I’m not going to argue. Done deal Andy.”
“Bob, we need a little commerce going around here. Just remember this down the road. You better get your tools and get started.”
Mariana walked up and elbowed me, “You never change do you? When was the last time you did anything for one reason?”
“The day I married you,” I tossed off as I walked away.