Ferdos's face pulled taught in a greasy smile directed at Chess. His men started to chuckle in anticipation of a brawl.
“Lady, why are you in man's clothes, ey? Come join me and my men, and you can...take them off”.
Another collective chuckle.
Chess's eyes burned with fury, Sinclair held his death ray with shaking hands. Fletcher muttered from the floor.
“I've seen you dressing in Maiden's clothes when you think no one is looking. Give the girl a break, Ferdos, a'right?”.
Ferdos's laugh turned to an expression of shock, then a snarl. He pointed his laser at Fletcher's head in an instant, and his gang followed suit, pinpointing the foreheads of the three with red dots like bindis.
“You just had to push it, didn't you,” murmured Sinclair.
Chess closed her eyes, bracing death. Here, they would die. Fletcher would never return, and the Institute would look over the history and find out they had all died there. The Clean-up squad would be sent in, blank the natives, and take back the technology. And the case would never be solved. But just then, a tumult made her open eyes once more.
The red-haired saloon girl, previously unnoticed by the trio, had slit the throat of three men and confiscated their weapons. In an apt and flawless manoeuvre, she operated the weapons, taking down each bandit one by one, as they flailed and tried to escape her. Finally, she just left Ferdos.
“Hermia!” gasped Sinclair. Fletcher grinned.
Ferdos looked broken.
“My darling, why? I thought...”.
“You thought wrong, Ferdos”.
In fury, he tried to pull out his laser, but her heeled boot kicked it high in the air, and she caught it in her hand. Then, she held it to his head.
“Go ahead,” she purred. “Make my day”.
“Still not a western,” grumbled Fletcher.
“I don't care!” she shouted at him from across the room. Then, gun still to his head, she knelt down and kissed Ferdos.
“Goodbye, my sweet villain”.
Puzzled looks came from her friends. She merely cocked her head, and smiled coquettishly.
Brushing past them, she said, “Well, come on then! How long till the time pad expires?”.
Sinclair pulled up his sleeve, revealing a number of bizarre, wrist-watch like devices. Staring at the actual watch, he cursed, “Oh, Moriaty's pickled toe...”.
“I'll take that as a 'Soon', then. Make haste, come on kids!”.