by Orson Scott Card
Free Lancers: Alien Stars IV, ed. Elizabeth Mitchell (Baen, September 1987)
The Folk of the Fringe (Phantasia Press/Tor, April 1989)
The road began to climb steeply right from the ferry, so the truck couldn't build up
any speed. Deaver just kept shifting down, wincing as he listened to the grinding of
the gears. Sounded like the transmission was chewing itself to gravel. He'd been
nursing it all the way across Nevada, and if the Wendover ferry hadn't carried him
these last miles over the Mormon Sea, he would have had a nice long hike. Lucky.
It was a good sign. Things were going to go Deaver's way for a while.
The mechanic frowned at him when he rattled in to the loading dock. "You been
ridin the clutch, boy?"
Deaver got down from the cab. "Clutch? What's a clutch?"
The mechanic didn't smile. "Couldn't you hear the transmission was shot?"
"I had mechanics all the way across Nevada askin to fix it for me, but I told em I
was savin it for you."
The mechanic looked at him like he was crazy. "There ain't no mechanics in
If you wasn't dumb as your thumb, thought Deaver, you'd know I was joking.
These old Mormons were so straight they couldn't sit down, some of them. But
Deaver didn't say anything. Just smiled.
"This truck's gonna stay here a few days," said the mechanic.
Fine with me, thought Deaver. I got plans. "How many days you figure?"
"Take three for now, I'll sign you off."
"My name's Deaver Teague."
"Tell the foreman, he'll write it up." The mechanic lifted the hood to begin the
routine checks while the dockboys loaded off the old washing machines and
refrigerators and other stuff Deaver had picked up on his trip. Deaver took his
mileage reading to the window and the foreman paid him off.
Seven dollars for five days of driving and loading, sleeping in the cab and eating
whatever the farmers could spare. It was better than a lot of people lived on, but
there wasn't any future in it. Salvage wouldn't go on forever. Someday he'd pick
up the last broken-down dishwasher left from the old days, and then he'd be out of
Well, Deaver Teague wasn't going to wait around for that. He knew where the gold
was, he'd been planning how to get it for weeks, and if Lehi had got the diving
equipment like he promised then tomorrow morning they'd do a little freelance
salvage work. If they were lucky they'd come home rich.