Arnett dropped the crate of cargo on the goons feet. While he let out howl of pain, Arnett ducked the grasp of the second goon and turned and booked it for the docks.
Careening passed an old lady, Arnett took the steps two at a time as he ran up to the landship docks. He was sprinting down the docks. His lungs began to burn.
A quick movement in front of him barely registered before he was hit in the face, As his head jerked back, his foot missed the step and tumbled out in front of him. Arnett’s sight went black and he saw flashes of light. He hit the dock, and the air was knocked out of his lungs.
Arnett spat out the blood beginning to pour down the back of his throat, and he gasped for air. He laid his head on the dock. He could feel the foot falls of men running up to them. Each step was like tiny hammers on his head.
As his sight returned so did his hearing. Arnett could hear someone tutting and walking around his limp body. A cling could be heard of a piece of metal being hit.
“Why do they always run?” asked the figure above Arnett, “They were going to bring you hear anyway.”
Arnett spit another mouthful of blood. His nose was screaming at him.
“Pepper, I should have known,” came Arnett’s hoarse response.
“Time’s up, Jay,” said the figure above him, “You know who wants her money.”
“Yeah, Lieutenant-needle-dick,” said the man, “Her money.”
“Pepper,” Arnett tried to lift himself up, but a surge of dizziness hit him hard and he tumbled to the dock once more, “Listen, I already told you-”
“Not our problem, bub. The O’Tanners say they never received the shipment and that puts us in a bad spot.”
“I delivered that shipment,” coughed Arnett.
“Come on, Jay.”
“At least find the breath to make it to the end of my name, Pee,” said Arnett, regaining his breath and blinking, “Tanners are lousy cheats and you know this.”
“Ah, come now,” sighed Pepper, “We’re well passed the whole thing. Now, money. Pay up or you lose a knee. Come on.”
“Oh, sure. Check my coin purse.”
“Come on you winy tit,” said the man, lightly kicking Arnett in the side, “You know we don’t give a toss about you walking.”
“How much?” said Arnett.
“Hmm?” asked Pepper.
“How much, Pepper?” asked Arnett, “You’re extorting me you might as well give a number.”
“Why don’t we drag the man back to his ship, boys,” said Pepper, “Perhaps we’ll find enough there. If not, we’ll see how much broken bones are worth to him.”
“Not very businesslike of you, Pepper,” wheeze Arnett.
A figure swooped in. In a flash of two legs, one of the goons was knocked squarely in the body, and he fell over the rail of the landship dock. The second goon had more time to react, but he didn’t. A rifle butt was across his face in moments. As he turned to retaliate a second jab of the gun into his gut caused him to lean over.
Pepper was on them, the metal pipe raised and coming down in a powerful swing. The figure blocked the blow with the lever action rifle in their hands.
Nina stood above Arnett’s head. She held back Pepper’s blows, but the second goon was recovering, and drawing a pistol.
Arnett’s foot lashed out in a burst of energy he didn’t know he had. It landed squarely in Pepper’s crotch and he kneeled over with a squeak of pain. Arnett barely had time to let out a grunt and Nina spun around, swinging the rifle by the barrel like a dirtball bat. The rifle opened the goon’s nose and send him against the railing. Flipping the rifle around, Nina pulled the trigger and released a bullet into his gut, causing him to groan in pain and sink to the floor.
Arnett was struggling to get on his feet when Pepper recovered. Pepper was grasping the railing trying to get up himself, and Arnett lunged forward and tackled him with his uneasy bodyweight. The blow was enough to push Pepper straight over the railing.
Pepper only had time to let out a grunt before he hit the ground below. Arnett gasped for breath, leaning on the railing. Nina peered over the side, sneering.
“Friends of yours?” said Nina.
“You cut things a little close,” Arnett wiped his nose, looking at the blood, “My face hurts.”
“Well you got hit with a metal pipe,” said Nina, “This is the second time in as many weeks. Is this all you do is upset people?”
“It’s been a busy time,” said Arnett, “That’s what you are here for.”
“I was hired to help.”
“And you did. Top marks, Nina.”
“Ninatovich,” corrected Nina.
“I think we need to leave,” said Arnett, “I think I saw him twitch.”
Nina rolled her eyes.