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The reason they go aboard is to see what they can confiscate that might be of value to Huck and Jim.
Jim skeeters off to the raft, but Huck inches closer to the voices to see what’s going on.
We get some more info: Jake Packard is the man with the gun; he’s trying to convince his buddy Bill to kill the third man, Jim Turner. It seems Jake is afraid Jim will "turn state’s evidence."
Jake has a better idea: instead of shooting Bill, they should plunder the rest of the steamboat and then wait for him to drown when the boat goes under. This way, they’ll have clean consciences!
Huck hustles out to Jim and tells him they should hurry and get the sheriff.
This would be a great idea, but the raft has broken loose in the storm and gone off down the river.