The market air was thick with with the bleating of livestock and trade negotiations, and tempers were primed by the stale summer heat. Jack took refuge in the shade under the awning of a butcher's booth. The tired butcher didn't seem to mind, but Jack kept his eyes low under his wide brimmed hat regardless. His skin was liable to burn, he'd say if anyone asked. Nobody did, and Jack liked it that way.

He watched the caravan make its daily trek down Route 31, brimming with goods from Omaha. Although he watched it arrive every morning, seeing the rickety old wagon lumber to and fro, jostled along by its horse and donkey drive team, filled him with a curious wonder. Jack imagined the markets of Omaha, gleaming with old-world towers and ten times bigger than Columbus' rugged collection of worn booths and dusty shop windows. Every morning this caravan—the market's lone representative—battered and broken, but carried on like so many of Columbus' own.

Jack re-read the scribbled list of supplies Wade requested for his storefront. He had the usual ones memorized, but Wade always penciled in a few special items toward the bottom. Today the note read, "1 bottle Naz - Sousa by noon. Watch yourself, kid. -Wade."

The caravan was close, and shopkeeps prepared their trade offers. The butcher wiped down his bloodsoaked counter and sifted through his stockpile of cured meats looking for something worthy to exchange for a new blade. Jack used this opportunity to swipe a snack for himself. Biting into the jerky, Jack moved in on the wagon.

The caravan slowed short of reaching the market. Something spooked the wagon horse, and Jack heard aggravated shouts coming from its driver. Jack slipped behind another stall, watching closely for the reason for the commotion.

Oscar Geshwyn and his goons slowly surrounded the wagon, brandishing weapons crafted from old farm blades and other rusty tools. The thugs wore their signature dark,oily face markings and ratty clothes. Oscar threatened the driver with a special weapon of his own. He carried a slender metallic baton, which had a large battery strapped to the hilt and loose wires dangling up to the tip, emitting sparks each time Oscar jabbed the air in the driver's direction. Electric suppressors are standard issue for members of The Ward, who usually kept the peace uptown. Oscar's was heavily modified from any suppressor Jack had ever come across, though. The shaft still showed defaced Ward markings, and Jack figured it was as much of a trophy as much as a weapon for Oscar.

"Get outta the wagon if you know what's good for ya!" Oscar yelled at the alarmed wagon driver, who was busy wrestling with the reins. The driver cracked the reins and his horse and donkey sped forward in an attempt to escape the robbery, trampling one of the goons and nearly crushing Oscar himself. Oscar retaliated by zapping the donkey's torso with a hot, electric burst, sending the poor animal into a frenzy of pain and fear. The wagon's old wooden wheel cracked under such violent and unexpected loads, toppling the cart and spilling its goods across the dry dirt road.

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"Next time it'll be you that gets zapped!" cried Oscar, scurrying away with an armful of whatever items he could carry.

Jack rushed to the scene after the gang had scuttled off. He found the wagon driver unconscious in the road, sprawled out among a pile of broken goods. Jack used his immense strength to right the caravan wagon and jammed a round piece of scrap metal in place of the broken wheel. He laid the driver down carefully in the wagon bed after piling up a bed from a heap of clothes that had fallen out of one of the crates during the crash. Jack rummaged through a few more crates before finding some ointment—the kind he had seen Wade use for buts and burns—and applied some to the donkey's wound before walking the caravan into town.

The driver was revived by the aid of a few market shopkeeps who gathered around the cart. He sat up, confused, and among the bombardment of questions thrown his way, learned that he had arrived alone.

"Ay Jack, you keep helping me and you will have good things come to you. Stay away from the bad ones like Oscar, ? Nothing but trouble from that one. Tchau, meu filho," Mama Sousa said in her usual thick accent and motherly tone, blowing kisses as Jack hopped back onto the street and headed home.

Jack and Wade inventoried the supplies absconded from the caravan and other market shops. Jack kept quiet about the wagon accident. Usually he had a clean conscience for this sort of thing, but this time a pang of guilt struck each time he placed one of the items pocketed from the crash onto Wade's shelf.

After the two finished their duties, Jack took back to the street to clear his head, wandering north to the old church. A crowd had gathered at the front steps of the old brick building. The rickety caravan was propped up against the old church pillars and several volunteers had begun passing out crates of Tharsemide, or FeelGoods as Jack called them. A smaller group surrounded a bed where the caravan driver was being treated for his injuries alongside other sick and wounded, and Jack heard him recounting the story of the robbery.

Jack approached the amateur clinic to listen in. "Fordy men, I tell ya, fordy! All with them spikey bats and blades. Their leader shot my donkey, Mylo, with a 'lectric one, sparks went everywhere! Mylo went wild and I caint member nothin after that. I ain't sure hows I ever got back to market!"
He bumped into a bystander, who had evidently come this way for the gossip. The man turned to him and said, "Hey, watch it pal, I'm tryina listen here! This guy was attacked by raiders. Whoever rescued him is a real hero, unlike scum like you. Get outta my face."