Bonus Scene One
"Eww!" Tansy walked around the bronze statue. "It's moved!"
Panther laughed. "You said they were bubbled a month ago? That'd be four or five minutes on the inside. If you want them to just freeze, you have to double bubble them, or for really long term freeze, triple layer them."
Quirk had climbed all over the bronze gyp. She stood teetering on the bronze shoulder of the driver (who had a foot on the brake pedal,one hand on the shifter, and an open mouthed-panicked expression on his face) and her other foot on the back of the guy who appeared to be trying to duck out the gyp's door.
"Can I experiment? I promise I won't pop them!"
"No! Get down from there!"
Panther snickered. "We could just bubble them the usual way. And either pin them down or let them float away."
Giggles from both twins.
Tansy tromped hard on temptation. "No. Because sooner or later someone would grab a bubble and pop it, and have a bad surprise. Especially if, by then, they were shooting. Or if it was long enough, they'd died of starvation."
Martin and David had been circling the tableau shaking their heads.
"That's scarier than all hell." Martin gave Tansy a hug. "Personally, I'm all for losing them, but from a humanitarian standpoint, we ought to let them go. Or maybe dump them on Embassy so someone else can release them."
Kit shook his head. "No. Put them on Earth. Somewhere really public, where they have to ask Disco or Comet Fall to come and release them."
All the smuggler heads were shaking.
"We do NOT go to Earth." Crimson shook her head at the statues. "I've got an idea. I'll haul them off to a world we found where the Oners are dumping their criminals--with zero supervision--and add them to the collection. Maybe they'll even learn to get along with the others."
Macaw snorted. "More likely they'll all kill each other, but that's none of our business."
Tansy nodded. "We were raised in hell, they can live in hell."
Macaw shrugged. "It's a much nicer hell than they deserve, so you needn't feel any twinges of guilt."
She gestured and the two single statues floated over to balance on the back of the gyp. A swooping motion, and the whole thing disappeared.
"Poor fools." Martin shook his head. "So, I heard some shots, shall we go see if the guys have found something besides bison to eat?"
"Yeah." Tansy grabbed Martin's arm and pulled him back to the battered black pickup. "Then we'll go to that mining world and see about replacing the tire those guys shot out, and . . ."
And Martin is so awesome. Big and strong like the guys in the books, but nice and polite, nothing like those men in the dome. And smart, but practical. I need to really study those education programs, so he stops thinking about me as a not-terribly-bright teenager.
And spend more time out, while he spends more time in.
He headed around the truck, for the driver's side, and Tansy dropped back by Panther. "Have you guys got, like, youth potions?"
The witch snickered. "Oh yeah. You won't have to worry about that man's age at all. And talk to Arrow about him getting magic genes as well. She learned a lot from her mother, who was a very bad person, but a very good witch."
Bonus Scene Two
By Spring, their every other month trips to Trading Post had cemented a bunch of relationships. Romantic, and legal.
Governor Offe and a new guy, Subdirector Ahja agreed that Missy, Betty, Susan, Jane, and Fanny could immigrate to Limbo and get registered. And get married. Everyone else got one week passes, so they could attend the weddings and throw a huge party.
Some guy named Ebsa showed up with spices and advice, so the food was fantastic. Smoked bison, venison, pheasant . . . and everything else. The guys had family who came for the occasion, and bought or brought more food, champagne and other drinks.
A band. The Oner music was odd, but energetic and fun to dance to.
Around midnight, the five new couples disappeared to their various honeymoon destinations, and Kit rounded up his smaller clan to drive back to Trading Post to camp for the rest of the night. It was well into the morning before they fixed breakfast, bought a few supplies, and headed home.
Kit tried to not smirk at how close Tansy seemed to always be to Uncle Martin.
Am I ready for a step-aunt? And has Uncle Martin noticed? Ophelia and David seem pretty tight, too. So even losing five people, it looks like we're heading even closer toward something resembling a tiny village.
So, we can keep on with the six minutes/six weeks bubbled, and then a week or so out for ten years and . . . then decide whether to try to join a larger community or stick with Volcano.