The old man's outcry spurred the bar back into movement. And at that moment, the next problem came to light.
The leader of the bandits, a broad, hairy man, cheeks ruddied by the sun, smashed his pint glass on the table he was sat at. His friends rallied behind him, smirking. He bellowed out in a thick accent.
“Fleet-cher you pig! We've had enough of your tricks. Eet iz time you left here for good.”
On his nod, his men rose behind him, snickering. The red-haired saloon girl grimaced.
“My friends, my friends, a moment with my colleagues, please,” announced Fletcher.
His adversary thought a moment before speaking.
“Go ahead, I have all day. You, however, have no more.”
There was another collective laughter from his entourage.
The strange threesome crept together, in a football huddle, much to the bewilderment of the bar. The first thing to be said was by Sinclair, who uttered through gritted teeth: “Oh dear, Fletch, old sport. You really have no luck making friends anywhere, do you?”
Chess grinned like a cat.
“Still the chaos magnet we used to know?”.
Fletcher flashed a smile at her.
“Well, we can take them anyway. A couple of pistols versus Sinclair's lasers. They're toast.”
Sinclair beamed in pride.
But Fletcher's expression said otherwise. Sinclair noted this look, the smile fading.
“Uh oh, Fletcher, what have you done this time?”
“You see...in order to set myself up here, I may have swapped some...ah...weaponry, for funds. With Ferdos”.
“Did you give them my...my babies?”.
“They're not your babies, Sinclair. They're laser-guns.”
“Fletcher, you fool!” hissed Chess.
She broke the huddle, and punched him square in the jaw, a move that sent him thumping on the ground. Her scarf was down by now, and her freckled, feminine face was exposed. Seeing Fletcher being hit by a woman amused Ferdos's crew, who laughed, as Ferdos lumbered forward.
“Are we quite ready?” he teased, bringing out a laser-firing beam from his hollister.
Fletcher rubbed his jaw, and regarded Ferdos, mumbling “Oh, feck”.