“You I could use,” the boss told me. “Master Sevenson here...”
“We come together,” I affirmed. “Or not at all.”
The man looked at Michael again. “How long have you carried those marks? You’re a bit young to be a hardened criminal, aren’t you?”
“I’m twenty-one. As for the marks...” He had to think about it. “I’ve borne them for two and a half years now.”
The train boss’s lips pursed in a silent whistle. “Then you must be pretty tough, after all. I’ve heard that men starve, once they’re marked unredeemed.”
“’Tis not so bad as that,” Michael said. “I do get cheated out of my pay from time to time.”
“I won’t cheat you,” the train boss said. “Not if you don’t cheat me. Or cause trouble in my train. You do that, you’ll be out in a minute, and with nothing to show for whatever work you’ve done. Understand?”
Michael held out his hand. After a moment’s hesitation the train boss shook it.
If we weren’t already plotting to cause trouble on his train, I’d have been hoping we might get paid.