October 22nd 2012
“You are not in control here.” That was said about eight times in the past two minutes like I didn’t hear them the first time. Each time they’d punctuate it with a jab of the gun barrel to the back of my head. It was getting a little tiresome.
Most of the bar quietly made their way to the door when these two geniuses jumped me and took my gun. Some even took their drinks with them, assuming that whatever they didn’t see probably wasn’t going to last too long.
I hadn’t even gotten a good look at them. Two and a half minutes ago I was settling in, ready to tie one on. It’d been a long month, shaking this bounty hunter from Garron was tougher than I thought. Next time I really ought to avoid the hassle of sneaking into his ship and ripping out his NavDrive and just shoot him.
Another gun-jab to the back of my head. “You hear me Salassi?”
“Actually, no, sorry. Could you repeat that last part?” He cracked the butt of the pistol across my head. I hit the floor and rolled onto my side, giving me my first good look at my attackers.
One was taller, broader but had the shakes of a SLAM-junkie. The one with the gun was thin, nervous, and wheezed like he struggled to breathe. I didn’t recognize them and that was worrying me most. It helps to know why someone’s trying to punch you out.
“You think this is a game? Huh?” Wheezy said, shaking the gun in my face.
“You are not in control, Salassi.” The big Lunk added. “Tarsis said you’re his now.”
Oh. Genevol Tarsis was, or is (let’s not get ahead of myself) a businessman. To the public, a proud Citizen and entrepreneur who runs several geo-corps but outside of legitimate circles, he runs an extensive weapons racket. He’ll buy or sell from or to any Civ in the universe. I had taken on a shipment of Xi’An pop-guns a month ago but had to ditch it to avoid getting tagged by the Law. After that I got sidetracked with the whole bounty thing. Probably should have let him know his merchandise was out on the drift.
“Said you gotta make amends.” Wheezy said before spasming into a coughing fit.
“Right.” I pushed myself up and took a sip of my drink. Wheezy tracked me with the gun while the Lunk waited for any excuse to get those massive fists of his flying. I checked my head. It was ringing up a choir but didn’t look like it was bleeding.
“Alright. Here’s what we’re going to do.” I said, leaning back onto my stool.
“You shut up, Salassi, you’re not in control…” the Lunk muttered with a step forward, putting himself between Wheezy and me. Between me and the gun…
I sank the blade up into his chest about six inches. It’s almost not even fair when they’re this stupid. They want to knock around a guy and don’t even pat him down for additional weapons? Thugs this dumb have a very limited expiration date. Tarsis should thank me for thinning out his employee pool.
The Lunk’s eyes went wide. His fingers grabbed my throat and squeezed. I pulled the knife out and stabbed him again. Wheezy jumped and snapped off a shot. Doing me the courtesy of shooting his friend in the back. Fingers loosened. I reached back, grabbed the stool, and flung it at Wheezy. It caught him square in the jaw, sending him spilling one way with his gun the other.
Lunk sank to his knees as I pried his fingers free. I picked up Wheezy by the throat and smacked him conscious. I placed the tip of my Vanduul blade to his throat.
“As I was saying. I know I’m the one in the wrong here so tell Tarsis I’ll make it right. But, ” I dug the knife into his throat, “if I see any more of his flunkies, I’m going to gut them slow. That’ll look like a mercy when I come for him. Clear?”
Wheezy chirped, too terrified to move against the blade. He was breathing clear for the first time.
“Good.” I dropped him and retrieved my pistol. “Might want to get your friend to a MedStation.”
One of the bar patrons poked his head in the door. He took a quick glance around the room.
“Y’all done in here?”
“Yeah, it’s sorted.” They started filing back in and reclaiming their seats, stepping over the two thugs on the ground. I gave a final pull on my drink and headed for the door.
I stepped out into the Stretch. The noise of the massively overcrowded main street hit me like a wave. Back in the day, all these Orbitals were staging areas for the terraforming crews in the systems but now it’s a haven for degenerates, black marketeers, and fugitives. My people. Quite a fall. People could say the same about me I guess… but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Back to business. I gotta figure out how to make some money. Fast.
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