Finney folded her hands across her stomach and propped her feet beside where he sat on the console apron, the portion with no switches, buttons, or other controls.
Kristoff rested an arm on the toes of her crossed boots and leaned forward. “Seen the beauty that sent those two young bucks into a fever?”
“Heard about her.” Finney’s brows twitched downward. “Haldis is smitten, but he’s still a boy.”
“Meaning nothing, sir.” Wickedness gleamed in her enigmatic eyes.
Kristoff studied her with narrowed gaze, but Finney did not yield.
“Turns out she’s from Port Nora. Governor’s daughter.”
Finney shrugged. “So?”
“So she’s worth some money.”
“I thought we didn’t do ransom.”
“We don’t.” Kristoff tapped the side of her boot. “But we do arrange things when they suit us.”
Finney squinted in speculation. “And what exactly do horrific honesty and the governor’s daughter have to do with these change of plans you mentioned?”
He hated when she did that squinty thing. It meant she was scheming on top of his scheming, and her ideas were generally better. Not that he was jealous of her mind. Not at all. He was downright proud to have such an intelligent crew. But—still—a man didn’t like to always be bested.
He sat upright and crossed his arms. “Well, I, uh, thought we’d notify the governor, tell him the circumstance, and offer to make it right. For a fee, of course.”
“Well? What do you think?”
“We have cargo to unload.”
“Couple of days, and we’ll be needing new work. The girl’s been compromised already, just by being with that fella. Way I figure it, Poppa Governor will be more than happy to send us some money for evidence that his daughter’s married and respectable. That way he can tell folks it was a quiet wedding, and that he knew all about it. And”—Kristoff leaned forward again—“we make friends in high places.”
“Pirates can always use another important politician in their debt.”
“That’s what I figure.”
“You forget: This particular governor already does business with us.”
“True”—Kristoff held up one finger—“but is he in our debt?”
Finney dropped her feet to the floor with a bang, slapped her thighs, and stood. “Well.” She hooked her thumbs in her belt. “I think I’m gonna go see this paragon of beauty for myself. Probably more looks than brains. Why else would she head for space with a jerk and a moonling?”
Alarmed, Kristoff followed her out of the wheelhouse. “Now, Finn, you’re not gonna make any trouble.”
She didn’t turn around.
“Finn. Finn.” Blast that woman! Kristoff stomped after her. “C’mon, Finn! No messin’ with the plan!”
c. 2008, Keanan Brand