He shook his head to clear his thoughts.
“So after we get you scanned, you can tell me how to find my crew. Then we leave.”
She ignored him.
“How was I supposed to find a gun in this mess?” she asked.
“They’re right by the door to the central hub,” he said, pointing at the two worn pistols on the wall behind her.
After picking up the ancient weapons and examining them, he said, “I was probably better off using coasters."
He brushed off the caked dust, and then held the pair of pistols out, posing dramatically for the woman behind him.
He smiled as he felt her arms wrap around his waist.
“Can’t resist a gunslinger?” he said, using an archaic term that had come to mean “valiant warrior” instead of “guy who shoots people over the slightest provocation and also smells a lot like a horse.”
He felt Jeska tense against his back. Something weighed heavily on her.
Then he heard her mumble something under her breath.
Daniel didn't catch everything she said, but he picked up the words “serve,” “visitor,” "facility," and “mantle” ... not necessarily in that order.
When she finished speaking, a soft chime came from all around them.
The chime didn't bother him — the Afterthought made random noises all the time — but her quiet words did.
“What’s a mantle?” he said.
“What?” she said.
“You said something about a mantle?”
He'd heard the term before, but without his augmem he couldn't place it.
“Mantle?” she said, looking nervous and examining the dusty floor.