There was a fourth man who had been part of the mutiny who’d had control of the engine room. He’d been captured, executed, and dumped overboard within moments of the deaths of the others. No one likes a mutineer and the law of the sea ruled. An hour later all of the salvage was stowed aboard the two boats and they were back underway, the large salvage boat being piloted by Miguel, Nate’s loyal and experienced second in command. Crewing two boats left both shorthanded but it was doable.
Nate was furious at the disloyalty and waste … of time, manpower, and resources. When they had still been tied up to the liner Alfredo and the other men kept waiting for Emi to report them but she didn’t, not even when asked a direct question by Nate in front of the other crewmembers. Instead she suddenly threw a knife at a stray crazy that had grabbed the railing right behind Alfredo. She walked over, pulled the knife out of the corpse’s eye and then used her foot to push it off the deck and into the water where it disappeared below the surface almost immediately. The fact that something large and torpedo shaped helped it to disappear wasn’t missed by many.
“You really should watch your back Alfredo. You never know what might happen if you keep being this … careless.” Nate and Kiko took note of Alfredo’s sudden pallor but know they can’t afford to lose one more man if they hope to make it back to port.
After they had been underway and the sun started to set Nate guided Emi back to his cabin. “You done showing you’ve got bolas de laton?”
“You sound like a gringo.”
He shook his head as he gently pushed her into a chair. “That’s because I am one. You gonna let me look at that arm.”
It wasn’t a question but an order. Still Emi tried to tough it out. “I’m fine. Just …”
“You aren’t fine. You’re warm to the touch … low grade fever and possibly an infection setting in.”
Emi, too tired to fight which is a very odd sensation on her part, capitulated. Since she doesn’t give him any trouble Nate is able to clean and redress her arm quickly. But then he starts on a lecture that looks like it was going to last a while and included nonsense about how it hadn’t been necessary for her to put herself at risk like she had and what did she think she was doing as he was perfectly capable of handling the situation. She snaps, “You ain’t getting out of the deal now that you’ve made it.”
Her words throw Nate off his stride. “Huh? You’re fever must be higher than I thought. Make sense.”
“Don’t play stupido Nate. You die or something then I go on the block.”
He strung her words together and finally understood what she meant. Something goaded him to ask, “Is that the only reason you did it?”
“Be real Gringo,” she called him to egg him on a bit. “You ain’t Prince Charming and the last thing I am is some princesa de cuento de hadas that wants rescuing. But when I make a deal it’s rock solid. So I covered your back and it came out good. Stop looking for something to bellyache about.”
Nate sighs and knows he should be grateful but it irritates him all the same. To relieve some of his feelings he gripes, “We’re a day behind schedule. Gonna get a nice chunk of my leg chewed off by the Elders for that.” Then when he saw he wasn’t getting any sympathy he shrugged, “But it hasn’t been totally without recompense. Kiko will use some of his percentage of this salvage run to pacify the Elders.”
To clarify what she was hearing Emi asked, “So Kiko ain’t gonna catch no trouble?”
Again getting irritated Nated snapped, “What do you care?”
“Aside from what we done talked about?” Emi asked reminding him. “I pay my debts and it seems I now owe him for putting me where you’d get curious. And if you really mean for us to go to the church with this …”
“I don’t play those games Emi any more than you. And I keep my word.”
“Fine. But that means making sure Kiko comes back in one piece and no problems will maybe give me something to keep your sister off my back. I don’t figure for an easy time, not even looking for one, but I ain’t above trying to lighten the load that is likely gonna come down on me.”
Again reversing course on his temper Nate ginned and said, “For a fact she isn’t going to know what to make of you.”
“I don’t need her to make anything of me; but if she does I just don’t want her to make me out to be the enemy.”