Writer’s Note: Drifters: Part Three was published originally in Jump Point 5.3. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.
“Sorry, table’s taken,” Mags said to the two people that were now looming over them. There was something immediately off-putting about the pair. They were far too calm, too self-assured, to be random people. Her other hand quietly drifted under the table and closed the lockbox with the fortune’s worth of eriesium.
“Hey, you two deaf or just stupid? Drift. Unless you wanna find out what it feels like to get spine-punched from the front.” Trin certainly wasted no time.
The man sighed while the woman watched Trin like a hawk. Trin just stared right back.
“That belongs to us,” he nodded to the lockbox.
“Hell it does,” Trin snapped back.
Mags’ mind raced. She didn’t see any visible weapons on these two, but their heavy layered clothes were perfect for stashing guns.
“I understand that you’re confused,” the man said. His voice was pleasant and calming. Mags got the distinct impression that he was the talker of the two. “You pulled this . . . item . . . from the wreckage of Echo Calling which had been working for our employer. Nearest we can tell, you weren’t the aggressors in the fight that caused its destruction, so by all accounts, you wandered your way into this mess, which is why we’re giving you this chance to turn our property over and walk away. You do that? We’ll call it square. You don’t? There’ll be problems.”
“I don’t know. We’re problem kind of people.” Mags looked past the two to where Ozzy had posted up at the bar. He was gone.
“Four Points kind?” he replied.
That froze everyone at the table. All of them had heard about the Four Points syndicate in some form or another. Mags knew three people who disappeared after botching a heist in Prime. Even Trin seemed fazed by the mention.
“Thief Magdalena,” Soahm finally spoke up. The former Xi’an policeman now security consultant stood from the table. The woman broke her stare on Trin to keep an eye on him. The Xi’an simply looking back to Mags. “I will leave you to your business.”
“How about this.” Trin slammed her hand on the table, attracting everyone’s attention (except Soahm, who kept walking). She’d used the momentary distraction to pull a grenade. “How about I prime this puppy and waste the lot of us?”
“Uh, Trin?” Mags slowly edged away from the device. No one else in Cafe Musain seemed to be paying them any attention. She did clock about eight visible weapons on patrons.
“Well now,” the man said, sounding truly engaged for the first time. He stepped closer to Trin. “That is interesting. You really ready to blow us all up?”
“Sure, figure then nobody gets the eriesium. Think I can die happy knowing that.”
The man looked like he was enjoying this. “Osane here’s fast. Real fast. Could probably put rounds in you before you armed the device.”
“Yeah, you might be right,” Trin said, glancing past the man towards Osane. She turned her hand to show more of the grenade. It was already beeping. “If I waited to arm it.”
Mags pulled a snub pistol from her pocket and put two shots into Osane’s chest. The woman dropped heavily to the floor. The man dashed to grab the grenade in Trin’s hand. Everybody in the bar turned as drinks crashed to the floor. Mags grabbed the lockbox with the eriesium and vaulted out of the booth.
Her feet hit the floor and she was off, pushing her way through the confused onlookers. An energy round zipped past her from behind and caught a guy just ahead of her in the face. His head snapped with a sizzle. Mags risked a look back.
Osane pushed to her feet, her subcompact assault rifle struggling to aim for another shot. Smoke rose from the two holes in her clothes, exposing the armor vest below.
Mags shoved as hard as she could. She thundered up the stairs and burst outside as gunfire erupted behind her.