tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 33: across time and space
by horace p sternwall
illustrated by rhoda penmarq and roy dismas
"you're not afraid, miss hartford?"
"oh, no, captain. especially not now - that you have invited yourself on board."
was she was one of these modern smart-aleck dames, acting all sarcastic? if she was, burke barraday had to hand it to her - she was doing it in a time of supreme danger - her ship, the "mary read ii" had been badly strafed by dimension 22 pirates, and had been careening wildly through hyperspace when barraday had spotted it, on his way back to i i g headquarters after a little r and r on sublevel x-3.
"you've got a hyperdrive badly in need of repair - you know that, don't you?"
"really? i don't think the hyperdrive has anything to do with the situation we are in. although i appreciate the thought you showed in coming on board." miss hartford reached into the side pocket of her spacesuit and took out a pack of venusian cigarettes, and a lighter in the form of a clown. " i would offer you one, captain, but i understand the space corps is strictly forbidden to indulge. how about a drink? the failing hyperdrive seems to have spared the bar - it looks fully functional."
barraday looked out the cracked window of the ship. "are you insane? if you don't want me to repair the ship at least you and your crew can come on to my ship! look! the nebulae are turning red! a sure sign this ship and everything in it is about to be destabilized into y-atoms! let's go!!"
"relax, captain." miss hartford took a deep drag on her cigarette. "everything is under control."