"So, what did you think of Earth?" Spence grinned at the pile of luggage. "Liked the shops, did you?"
Dee sniffed. "I got presents for everyone. And spare parts for everything. Trade goods out the wazoo. Yes, yes, I know I paid to get the mass off Earth, but once I'm home I really feel rich."
"Because everyone has money, but you've got a fifty megawatt duel amp?" He grabbed the first crate and pulled it to the wagon. The shuttles docked in the low-g ring for easy movement of freight and minimal dealing with floating tourists or drunks.
She sniffed. "No one will ever again drown out my music—and you know perfectly well that's for Jimmy anyway." She added hers and caught the one he slid her direction. "Sorry, we're going to be a little cramped for room, aren't we?"
"No big deal, it's only a two year trip."
She winced and he grinned. "So, was it worth it? Over four years in a floating hotel so you can spend two months on Earth?"
"Yeah. It's . . . I don't know if I'll ever do it again. But I'm glad I saw Earth once in my life." She flashed a grin. "It was a dynamite fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth birthday present."
And it got you completely away from some really nasty influences at a vulnerable time in your life.
He grinned back, and tossed the last little box. "Let's find our room . . . Oops, looks like the clueless newbs are in trouble already. Mind the wagon." He sauntered over to the family standing by their pile of goods.
"No one showed you where to find the wagons?" He charitably pretend to not notice their clumsy over reactions. "Wait here, I'll get you one."
Dee, of course, was towing theirs closer. "Hi . . . so why in the heavens are you going to the Asteroid belt?"
Spence loped off to the depot, and gave the snickering manager a dark look. "Is that really a good idea? Do you realize who that is?"
"The walking dead, and some new girls for the brothels."
"Nope that's the Marshal the president sent. Not much in the space smarts, but I'll bet he'll catch on fast. Best think about what he'll be like in a couple of years and leave his family alone."
The loading crew—whose jobs consisted solely of unloading the cargo holds and nothing to do with passenger service shrugged indifferently. Manny the manager spat.
"Nasty habit in space." Spence turned his back on them and walked over to the last two wagons. Took the one with four firm tires. What didn't matter here would be a pain in the higher gravity away from the pole.
When he got back, Dee and the two kids were head down in computers, the mother hovering, the father eyeing a few of the men wandering closer. Who glanced Spence's direction and started wandering away.
The Marshal eyed Spence. "So they know you and respect you? And what did they have in mind?"
"Snatch a box," or your pretty daughter, "and run. And yeah, they know better than to mess with a belter's stuff . . . not that I'd leave anything around untended. Dee can deal with them, but I'd just as soon she didn't have to."
"Ha! Anyway, they didn't have assigned cubic, so I got them to two rooms next to ours."
The wife looked dubious. "She says they're large."
"They are. And for cash, they'll connect them. Highly recommended, given the age of your kids. Spence showed them the Deadman brake on the wagons. "It's a long ramp, you'll need the brakes."
The marshal sighed.
Starting to realize he's jumped in over his head. Good.
"Umm, about a hundred kilometers. It's just a matter of coasting down into the equatorial strip where the gravity's about point eight g. It can catch you by surprise." He ignored their shocked looks. C'mon! No research? The asteroid's fifty kilometers in diameter. We have to spiral down the ramp to the equator.
They'd been loading as they talked and quickly filled the second wagon. Spence just shrugged and nodded at his. "There's room, the only other wagon has a flat."
Two large heavy crates. Even in low g he could feel the momentum of the mass.
None of my business. Although I rather hope the first marshal out in the belt has come prepared to fight.