Stand Up Guy

Amos stood holding the Apport Sextant. He turned it over in his hands, feeling it’s weight. It was Heavy but not anywhere near the weight of his heart. Nym had turned her back on him, perhaps forever, and he could feel the emotion in the room choking him. He took the apparatus and put it into his bag.

“They’ll kill me, Nym.” He said. The only words he could find. “They’ll kill me if I don’t give them this piece of junk. But,” his thoughts were racing. “I never… I wouldn’t….” His thoughts trailed off and he turned to leave. Nym listened sadly to his footsteps.

Stepping outside of the Elderwood door, something in him snapped.

“You know what?” He said loudly, “No.”

He turned and made a commanding pace to the table where stood behind Nym. There were so many things he wanted to do and say and something in him refused to let him miss the moment. He knew it might be his last.

“My whole life people told me I was nothin.” Amos’ words were direct and sincere, “Just some kid with no people, no future, can’t read, can’t be nothing. That’s what I got.” Amos wasn’t thinking about what he said, everything was flowing from his heart. It was painful and new, but he was determined not to be a coward.

The Captain was about the only one who ever believed in me, and well, I did something stupid and lost that too. I come back, though. I tried to do right by him, but I knew he was done with me. I could see it in the way he looked at me. Disappointed. That’s what I do, I disappoint people”

Nym could hear the sadness in his words, she wanted so badly to believe in him again. She wrung her hands as tears stained her pale cheeks, still unable to face him.

“So here I am, standing with the one person who ain’t never once made me feel less, who makes me want to be a better man, who sees me the way ain’t nobody ever seen me -and she is turning her back. And she’s right. What you said, Nym. It was right. The people who want this thing, they ain’t nobody to me. But, you….” He trailed off, considering all the feelings within himself, all the things he was too afraid to say. “And they may kill me, hell- they are probably gonna do that anyway- but today, for this one time, I ain’t gonna disappoint nobody. If I have to die, I want to die the person you made me think I can be. I ain’t gonna disappoint you again.”

Amos placed the Apport Sextant on the table, and walked out of the room.  Nym heard his footsteps disappear as he entered the tunnel, her heart racing.

Suddenly, she realized that he was leaving. He would be gone and she needed to tell him things, she needed, wanted… she grabbed her satchel and notes and ran from the room, securing the Elderwood door. At the tunnel she called his name hoping that he would stop. It was a hard shuffle through the tunnel in her skirts but she moved as quickly as could with hope to catch up.

Coming to Marcel’s office she glanced quickly around the room but found it empty.  She realized that she might be too late. She stood a moment, saddened, with her heart beating against the cage of her ribs. Then, feeling faint she continued to the library ladder.

Once standing in the shop, a large pair of rough hands grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth. Her eyes scanned the room wildly, seeing Amos on his knees looking up the barrel of a large pistol. In addition to the two ruffians restraining them was a man in a velvet SkyCaptain coat grinning at her.

“Well. Well. Here’s the Bird we been hearing about.” Nym struggled but could not move, “Oh, she is a lovely little thing, too.” The SkyCaptain walked toward her, politely. She detected a slight limp in his gait and an odor of  something strange and spiced.

“Name’s Magruder,” He said with a deep bow before running a oily finger over her neck and décolleté. Nym’s eyes were wide and terrified, her mind racing.

Amos started to get up from his knees, enraged by Magruder’s lude treatment of Nym, but the thug standing before him gave a laughed and stuck him across the face with his pistol. Amos fell to the floor and Nym could see heavy rope binding his hands.

“Hm.” Magruder said, calmly if not a bit amused, “It seems the boy has a liking for this little one.” Magruder gave her a lacivious smile that filled her with panic and fear.”Maybe we’ll let him watch.”

The ruffian holding her tightened his hold and gave a dirty laugh.

“Shut up, Marcus,”  Magruder barked, and the man behind her was abruptly silent.

Deep within her pocket she felt the cog come to life, she could feel it’s appendages opening, the pointed feet padding the flesh of her leg through the fabric. It crawled from her pocket and down her leg undetected and skittered quietly toward the far wall off Marcel Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates.

Magruder walked back to Amos who was bleeding from the side of his head, the taste of blood overwhelming him. He was enraged, his nostrils flaring, desperate to claim his power and put an end to Nym’s torment. He had accepted his fate, but never once imagined that she might become involved.

Magruder paced, feeling some need to explain himself, “So there I am, havin me a nice pint at the Ha-Ha, when I sees my boat, just hangin in the sky and I thinks to myself, ahah, there is my boy doing his job, getting me my Sextant. Ordered a pint for the house I did.” Magruder waved his hand in front of himself benevolently.  “So’s you can imagine my disappointment when I finds my boat, and my boy,” Maguder picked up the metal pipe that Amos had so recently used to defend himself against the security automaton, “And he ain’t got nothing!”

Magruder swung the metal pole hard into the small of Amos’ back. He fell forward, his body hitting the ground with a angry thud.

Tears flowed from Nym’s eyes, and she looked away unable to watch. As her eyes cast away the scene she saw the cog moving up and down in the shadows, it’s arms moving wildly from one location to another. Nym did not understand what it was doing until she realized that there was a secondary security system automaton burried in the stores and the cog seemed to be actively working to revive it.

Nym could her the sounds of Magruder kicking Amos as he lay on the ground and she considered how she might break from her own captor. If she could get to her pistol…

Amos was half conscious when Magruder sated himself for a moment, and straitened his coat and sleeves.

He grabbed Amos by the hair and pulled him back to his knees.

“Hold him up, Skin,” Magruder said, I want him to see all of this.” Then added with a grimy sneer, “Give him something pretty to think about while he dies.”

Magruder motioned to the man he called Marcus, “Bring me the girl.”

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