Now what does Joseph do?
Joseph and Gabe spent a while speaking with the authorities, before they took Duro and Korad away with them. Among them was Inspector Talaro from IO and he seemed very pleased to have Duro in custody.
“We suspected him for a while now, but had no proof to his activities.” Talaro watched as others took care of the warehouse full of weapons and ammo. “Now we have all the evidence we need to send him away for a while.” He turned to the two men. “Thank you, Holmes and…”
“Joseph.” The bounty hunter nodded to the inspector.
Talaro smiled. “So you’re Joseph.” He turned to Gabe. “See you on IO?”
Gabe nodded. “We’ll be there soon.”
Inspector Talaro started walking away, then stopped and turned back. “Don’t forget those parts that were ordered for the scooters” He grinned and waved.
Arms crossed, Joseph looked over at Gabe. “Why send Cassie to the ship if you had already called the Authorities?”
Gabe just smiled and shrugged. “I just covered all my bases, that’s all.” He headed toward Cassie and Colin who waited where they were told.
Joseph shook his head and also walked over. He arrived as Gabe put his arm around Cassie and pulled her close.
“I’m glad you’re safe, child. I don’t know what I would have done if something…” He let off and cleared his throat. “We need to get back. Joseph will get us there.” With that all three, with Colin on Cassie’s shoulders headed for Joseph’s ship. When they had reached it, Cassie spoke up.
“Papa, Dorian…is he okay?” Cassie’s jaw dropped as Colin whimpered at the same time Gabe gave her a pained look. “If only I had…” She turned away.
“No! Don’t say anything.” Gabe grabbed her shoulders and turned her to face him. “What happened was Tobias’ fault, not yours.”
Joseph turned to open the ship as Gabe pulled Cassie and Colin into an embrace. He waited a moment before turning back to face them.
“We’ll help Dorian’s family as much as we can. Okay?” Gabe said as he held Cassie at arm’s length. He gave a soft smile as Cassie dried her tears and nodded. He looked over at Joseph. “Besides, we have a lot of plans that need to get done.”
Cassie looked from one to the other. “What do you mean by that, Papa”
“I mean, that we are somehow going to get this little one to his home planet.” Gabe reached out and gently picked up Colin’s head as the little one stared at him. Gabe smiled and headed for the ship and entered after Joseph. “We discussed it on the way over.”
“And how are we going to do that?” Cassie followed her uncle and sat down in the chair he pointed to.
“First we have to make some connections and then we’ll tell you.” Joseph sat down and started the ship. Everyone was quiet for a while as Joseph took off.
Cassie had buckled in and was holding Colin as she spoke up. “Papa, I was thinking…” She didn’t meet his eyes. “I know I said I would stay a while, but I…”
Gabe didn’t look at her, but he was smiling as he spoke. “You want to leave again, don’t you?”
“Why are you smiling?”
Gabe shrugged. “I kind of figured. Which way are you going this time?”
“I don’t really know. Maybe I...thought ….” She glanced up front towards Joseph. “I could…take up a profession?”
Gabe frowned for a moment, and then smiled. “That is a good choice, in my book.” He spoke louder. “Becoming a partner is one way to see this universe.”
Joseph turned around. “What? What do you mean…partner? Her?” He got up and went over to them. “She can’t be a partner. She’s young, untrained, female, and..”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Cassie spoke up.
Joseph looked at her. “You are too young…”
“That is not what I meant.”
“But you said it.”
Joseph shook his head and turned to Gabe. “How is she going to be a partner? She has no training.”
Gabe sat back. “I think she’s well trained. All she needs is some weapons training…”
“That is not the point!” Joseph shouted.
“You don’t have to shout!” Cassie interjected. She stood her ground in front of Joseph as he stood seething. A wiry grin on his face, Gabe just sat and watched.
No one was watching Colin as he climbed onto the co-pilot’s seat. He glanced back at the trio then turned to the control panel again. His eyes seemed to shine as they wandered over the buttons and switches. He glanced back one more time, before scooting a little closer to the panel.
“Okay,” Joseph calmly said. “What I’m trying to say is that to be a partner, you need to go through a few regiments. You just can’t be a partner.”
“I didn’t say anything about being a partner. I was just making up my mind about leaving again.”
“Didn’t have enough trouble last time, huh?”
Gabe’s eyes widened as Cassie straightened up to her full 5’ 4” height and walked up to Joseph. “What was that?”
Staring down at the girl, Joseph opened his mouth but didn’t get a chance as suddenly the gravity went. They started floating as Colin’s voice cried out.
“I did it! I found the right one!”
“Colin, get away from there!” Cassie kicked off the chair and headed for the front.
Gabe started laughing while Joseph propelled himself toward the control panel as he mumbled to himself. “What did I get into?”
Joseph looked over at Gabe as he gently held a sleeping Colin in his arms. They had arrived back to IO yesterday and right now Cassie was with Dorion’s family; helping as much as possible. Gabe had helped with funeral expenses, which was not much done for there are no burial plots on IO; there were only cremations.
Joseph took a sip of his drink and fingered his communicator. He had turned it off after telling Kudro that he didn’t want to be reached for a while. Kudro had not been happy and had said a few choice words before Joseph flipped the off switch; that had been yesterday. Joseph fiddled with his communicator before putting it away. He was not yet about to call Kudro.
Suddenly Colin woke up and moved to Gabe’s shoulders to clearly see the back door. Both men turned and watched the back doorway as Cassie came in. They could see her eyes are slightly puffy from crying as she turned to both of them and nodded. Colin quickly climbs down and went to her. Cassie picked him up and then headed up the stairs to her room.
“She still seems to be taking it kind of hard.” Joseph’s gaze stayed on the stairs. He had been wondering about choosing her. If he did choose her, would she be able to take the pressure?
Gabe got to his feet and went to the cooler to take out a meal. He put it in the warmer and then turned to face the stairs as they heard her door close and movement sounded.
“Do you think she will eat this time?”
Gabe shrugged. “I hope so. She hardly touched her food this morning.” He waited until the warmer went off, carefully grab the food, and put it on the table. He returned to his seat and faced Joseph. “Have you made up your mind yet?”
Joseph just looked at him. “You’re still suggesting that I take her in as a partner?”
“Face it, partner, you need someone to watch your back.”
“I don’t see how she could be perfect to watch my back.”
“I don’t see why not? She’s almost as old as I was when you chose me; in fact she’s the same age.” Gabe sat thinking for a moment. “She has training; she has knowledge.”
“Yes, that is true. But we have to take into account that you had five years of training at the Academy. What we will be doing is far more dangerous than what she has been through all ready.”
Gabe smiled as he thought back. “I know.” His smile faded. “I know she still needs training, but that can be arranged.”
Joseph thought for a moment. “She reminds me of you in one aspect, her tenacity.” He sat quiet. He nodded. “I think it would be good to have a new partner. I’ll do what I can to add to her training.”
“How do you know I’ll go?” Cassie said as she stepped off the step. “Do you really want a partner?”
Joseph didn’t answer. Instead he got up and headed outside for a while.
Cassie watched him go as Colin climbed up and turned on the handheld on the table. “I still don’t know, Papa. Am I doing the right thing? What about the shop?”
“Young one, I won’t be around forever. I want you taken care of. With this, I know that you’ll have something to fall back on.” Gabe looked over a list. “And with Joseph…” He shrugged. “Now eat something. Colin has already eaten.”
Cassie sat down. “This is a bigger step for me. I don’t know if I want to leave completely, but…”
“But nothing, child.” Gabe looked at Colin as he worked the handheld. “Once we have the green light for this one,” He smiled as Colin glanced up at him. “Joseph has the connections and the means to do it.”
“Papa, why do I have to go there?” Colin asked.
“Maybe you should know where you are from.” Gabe gave him another smile.
Joseph stood outside the shop and turned on the communicator.
“Joseph! Is everything okay? Uhm, are you going to go back to work?” Kudro sounded reserved as he didn’t want Joseph to turn the communicator off completely again.
“I will in a short time. I want to you to get everything ready…I’m choosing a partner.”
“You?! But you don’t like partners?”
Joseph gave a big sigh. “Just do it, Kudro.” He turned off the communicator as Kudro began to grumble. He stood outside for a little while longer before entering the back of the shop. His thoughts of past partners came to him. But she was different than most and Joseph knew it as soon as he met her.
“Okay, if I take you in as partner,” He said as he walked into the room. “You have to complete some lessons I give you and we will keep you up on the self-defense. Deal?”
Cassie and Gabe glanced at each other before Cassie nodded. “What do I need to do?”
“We’ll go to Base and get you registered and marked.”
“Marked? What do you mean marked?”
“To be marked means that you get a chip in your arm that helps you bypass check points and identifies you as a Hunter.” Gabe spoke up. “The chip is a bio-electric sensor that sends info to checkpoint computers and to ship detectors.”
“Are you marked?” Cassie leaned back as Gabe nodded and lifted up his sleeve on his right side. Cassie examined the bump that was there. It was about an eighth of an inch long. “That is big.” She looked over at Joseph. “Okay, deal. And what I would like is that we get more teaching disks for Colin, so he can study while we are traveling…”
“Wait a minute; I didn’t say I would take the young one. He has to stays here.”
Cassie stood up and glared at him. “I am not going to leave him. I can’t.”
When Cassie stood, Colin whimpered a little. [Why do I have to stay?]
[I am not going to leave you.] Cassie took a step toward Joseph. “You know I can’t leave him. I won’t be able to.” She was trying to stay calm, but even Gabe saw that her hands were clenched.
“Child, please, sit down.” He turned to Joseph. “Partner, sit, please.”
He spoke after they both took a seat. “I understand that it’s not a good place for Colin, but you and I both know if they are separated for long, it won’t be good for him.”
“I am willing to take the girl as partner, but what will I do with the young one?”
“He can stay on the ship.” Cassie said as Colin climbed up onto her shoulders. “He doesn’t have to be with us all the time, just nearby.”
Joseph glared. “I agreed to a partner, but this is a bit much.” He got up and headed for the door again. “I’ll let you know.” With that he walked out.
Gabe just smiled as Cassie and Colin turned to him with questioning looks. “He’ll be back.”
Grumbling under his breath, Joseph reached his ship. “What do they think this…is a daycare? I can’t be taking care of her and the young one. I am not a babysitter. I’m a Hunter not a baby sitter.” He pushed buttons and switches to prime the ship and waited as the ship warmed up. He waited for about ten minutes before reaching over and shut the ship down. Still grumbling, he left the ship and headed in the direction of the parts shop.