[AP] PRODIGAL SON, A Rogue's Tale - Book II

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Scion Drakhar
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Tue, 1. May 12, 03:38

Thanks guys. I'm glad you like it.

Okay so here's chapter:




9. Where’s My Money?

Beni was a coward. Beni had always been a coward. Beni knew he was a coward. After thirty jazura Beni had even gotten to the point where he was okay with being a coward. Sort of. It wasn’t that he enjoyed being a coward. Succumbing to fear is never something to be exactly proud of. It’s just that he stopped fighting it. He’d worked with a therapist for a while and the therapist had told him, after taking a great deal of his money, that resisting his nature would always be painful and that he needed to simply relax and let nature take its course. So Beni relaxed. Beni went with the flow. Beni surrendered to the way things were. Beni had developed the serenity to accept the things he could not change.

Beni had also learned to see his good qualities. He did have his strengths after all. For instance he was good with numbers. There was peace in numbers. There was order in numbers. Numbers made sense. Unlike people, who often made absolutely NO sense whatsoever and threatened to hurt you just because they felt like it and you were smaller and weaker than they were ... !

Beni remembered to breathe when his thinking ran away with him. It was another thing that therapist had taught him. He could control his fear by controlling his breathing. Well, sometimes. Except when things really WERE wrong! In which case trying to slow his breathing and his heart rate was kind of ridiculous because giant men with guns really WERE threatening to kill him!

Breathing. Breathing.

Breathing.

Beni was also good at doing what he was told by the guys that weren’t cowards, the guys that said they’d look out for him. The guys who did look out for him ... except when they were threatening to kill him. So it was a good arrangement. Most of the time. Except when they were threatening to kill him.

Breathing.

About twenty jazura ago the guys that looked out for him had realized that he was good with numbers. Really good with numbers. Amazingly good with numbers. So they had put him to work. They’d even put him through school. They’d kept the bullies away and even helped him get good grades in the classes he wasn‘t very good at. Like phys ed. Most of the time, after the guys that looked out for him intervened that way, those teachers who'd needed convincing tried to avoid being in the same room with Beni. He‘d gotten straight A‘s though.

After school he’d gotten a good job in a banking firm. It wasn’t a GREAT job! ... Breathing. ... But he did get to work with numbers and he did get to do what he was told. Most of time it was a normal job. He was an investment banker and he handled various accounts and investments for clients of the bank. It’s just that he also handled money and investments for the guys that looked out for him. They sometimes had him take their money and invest it in very specific companies. Almost always those were companies that where about to do really well. But most of the time he would just move their money around so that it couldn’t be linked to anything illegal. The law called what he did ’insider trading’ and ‘money laundering’ and said it was a bad thing but Beni didn’t care. It wasn‘t like he killed anyone or anything, although the guys that took care of him sometimes did. He’d never seen it but Beni wasn’t stupid. He knew it happened from time to time.

So Beni kept his head down. He wasn’t stupid. He did what they told him and most of the time he was even ... happy. Sort of. He had a nice place and plenty of money. He was taken care of. Nobody bullied or threatened him ... except for the guys that told him what to do. Sometimes they threatened to KILL him ... but it wasn’t often. Most of the time his life was good. He did have plenty of money, and a nice place, and whenever he got lonely one of the guys that told him what to do would, usually, send some girls over to take his mind off his problems. So it worked. You know. Most of the time.

Today wasn’t one of those times.

Beni was pacing back and forth in front of the comm screen. “This is TERRIBLE!“ he shouted. A moment later he realized he was biting his nails. He forced himself to stop and immediately began dry washing his hands in front of him. He forced himself to stop that by clenching his fists and thrusting them into his pockets. He couldn‘t stop pacing, though. “I can‘t BELIEVE this!” The comm screen showed a weary looking Teladi wearing a long suffering expression. “YOU are actually telling me is that Drakhar ... DRAKHAR!!! ... Argon Prime’s most famous psychopath! ... Drakhar! The guy that doesn’t just kill his enemies, he EATS them!! Drakhar! Drakhar ... you’re telling me DRAKHAR is not only NOT-DEAD! ... he’s HERE?!? ... IN THIS SECTOR?!!

“Beni,” the Teladi lisped back at him, “you need to calm down ...“

“Calm down?!“ He whirled around to stare at the comm screen and saw the Teladi rolling her eyes at him. “CALM DOWN?!! The man... NO! The PSYCHOPATH! ... that I stole half a BILLION credits from! ... Because they told me he was DEAD! ... is not only still ALIVE! ... he’s HERE!! In THIS SECTOR!!! AND YOU WANT ME TO CALM DOWN!!!!!?

“Give yourssself a heart attack then,” she shrugged. “Sssee if I care.” She leveled a blood red stare at him. “Just make sssure you sssend me my money firssst.”

“Do you know what that psycho is gonna DO to me?!” Beni wrung his hands in front of him. Then he ran them through his hair so that it stuck up in all directions. “He EATS people!”

“He eatsss Boron, Beni. Are you Boron?”

“I’ve heard that he ate the TERRANS he captured too! And all they did was kidnap him! I stole half a BILLION credits from him! What do you think he’s gonna do to me!?!”

She was shaking her head. “No, Beni. That wasss that crazzzy Sssplit that worksss for him ...”

“Well what’s to stop him from chopping me up and giving me to that Split?! Huh?! Tell me that?! Ohgodohgod! I DON’T WANNA DIE!!!”

The Teladi muttered something in that bird-speak of hers. Then she exhaled dramatically through her nostrils and glared at him. “Look, Beni, I’m not sssaying you ssshouldn’t be afraid of him. But really, you’re not important enough to kill ...”

“I’m not important enough to keep ALIVE either!!”

“Yesss, I sssuppossse that’sss true. Well why don’t you make sssure you go to your death with a clear conssscience and sssend me my money?”

“AAAAH!!” Beni screamed. “I’m gonna DIE and all you care about is your MONEY?!”

The Teladi shrugged. “Yess.”

“Well what if I don’t send you your money?! I mean if Drakhar is gonna chop me up into little peices and feed me to his pet Split it’s not like you’ll be able to collect now will you?!”

The Teladi’s eyes narrowed. “Ssssuit yourssself, Beni.”

*****

Argon Prime. In some ways bein’ here feels a lot like comin' home. In others, it’s like returnin' to the scene of a crime. I hate this place. Every time I so much as enter the sector I find myself rememberin' things I wish I could forget. Forget forever. Bein' here, bein' here and starin' down at that pretty blue world, with all it's beauty, and all it's luxuries, and all it’s pretense to enlightenment and democracy ... bein' here I can almost hear the screamin' I grew up with. Leo and my mom screamin' at each other at any hour a the day or night. Screamin' and things breakin'. Screamin' and furniture bein' tipped over. Screamin' and the sound of a fist hittin' a wall ... or a face. Screamin' ... the soundtrack a my childhood.

Yeah. Bloody hell. I really want that drink. Right, well I'm here on business.

I need to find a guy named Beni Goleman. Back when I first stole that Disco I had access to an anonymous account. The instant I had the credentials to set up a real one I contacted Beni. In retrospect that was a mistake. But I knew Beni, or at least knew of him. Everyone Gil had worked with back in the day used to talk about how Beni was a wiz with numbers. He was some kind of genius. When I met him, well, Beni is somethin’ of a flake. He did what I needed him to, though. He set up accounts in my name for a personal fund and another for the House of Dreams. It was all legal and legit and, at least I thought it was safe. Turns out I should have known better.

Hang on ... somebody’s callin’ me.

*****

I flipped the comm switch and an angry lizard stared back at me. She was a dark scaled Teladi with blood red eyes and fully developed cranial scale plates, which were currently a deep, flushed red. There was a tension about her that made me glad I wasn’t close enough for her to bite.

“Yeah?” I growled at her.

“Drakhar,” she hissed.

“Who’s askin’?”

“No one,” she glared at me. “I know who you are. I have a busssinesss proposssition for you.”

“You do, huh?”

“Yesss. My name isss ...”

“Somethin’ somethin’ somethin’ the twelfth. Whatever. What do you want?”

She scowled at me and those plates on her head became a more angry red color. “Money,” she said. “What elssse?”

“From me?” I laughed. “Sister, you got the wrooong ...”

“For twenty thousssand creditsss I will tell you where to find Beni Goleman.”

I cocked my head sideways to look at her with my good eye. “Explain.”

“Do we have a deal?”

“Not yet but I’m thinkin’ about it. How do you know where Beni is and how do you know I’m lookin’ for him?”

“Becaussse I work ...” she looked me up and down. “Worked. For him. I told him that you were here in Argon Prime and he wasss sssupposssed to pay me twenty thoussssand creditsss for the informasssion.”

“Uh-huh.”

“He took the informasssion but did not give me the creditsss. I intend to get paid.”

“All right,” I said. “I’ll send you the money. But Yalamandis?”

She squinted at me, concerned. I hadn’t let her give me her name. “Yesss?”

“Do you see that pretty white scout ship streakin’ toward your freighter?”

I watched as she checked the sector map. The scale plates on her forehead became a sickly greenish brown. She looked back to me. “Yesss,” she hissed. “I sssee it.”

“Good. You cheat me and that Rapier will keep tabs on you til I scatter your ashes across the trade lane. You get me?”

“Yesss, Drakhar,” her scale plates flushed into a sudden, satisfied green. “I underssstand.” She then told me where to wire the money. After it was done she nodded, satisfied. “He isss aboard the Ssstock Exsschange. His ssshuttle’s IFF-ID isss ACVX-91. He knowsss you are here but I don’t believe he hasss had time to reach it. You might be able to catch him on the ssstation before he getsss aboard.”

“Thanks chica,” I said. “Good doin’ business with you.”

“Would you give that arachlechi my regardsss?”

“Sure thing.” I cut comms and watched the stock exchange grow larger in the viewscreen. I’d leave the Rapier tailing her until the info checked out but I was pretty sure it would. Despite bein’ cut throat business ... er ... lizards, the Teladi tend to be lousy liars. Those mood ring plates on their foreheads give them away. Besides it made a twisted kind of sense. Teladi don’t like bein’ cheated. Mess with their credits and you make an enemy. Beni was a bit ... twitchy. And when he got excited his judgment wasn’t exactly sound. Refusin’ to pay a messenger for givin’ him bad news sounds right up his alley.

Of course what I was doin’ might not be all that smart either. I didn’t want to give Beni the opportunity to get onto his transport when I could get my hands on him in person. So I was goin’ in by myself without any backup. Gin and Gunny were still on the Endless and Beni would probably have a bodyguard. Well, sometimes you just have to get your own hands dirty.

I brought the Tenjin in and landed on the fighter deck. The first thing I did was cross reference all the ships currently landed at the station with the IFF-ID that Beni’s angry lookout had given’ me. It was still aboard. It was an unarmed civilian Buster that couldn’t have outrun my Tenjin on its best day, which had long since come and gone. It was also still powered down. The best part, though, was that it was sittin’ in the cradle right next to the Tenjin. In fact Beni would have to walk past the Tenjin to get to it.

I nodded to myself and checked the station’s comms. Beni was listed but his status claimed he was ‘unavailable‘. Which meant he was either still cowerin’ in his office or on his way to his ship to run. I nodded again, satisfied. I was about to power down the ship when a thought occurred to me. I was about to accost, likely assault, and probably kidnap Beni Goleman. This all might go somewhat smoother if I had ... certain credentials, and the Argon have been offerin’ to license me to work as a privateer to monitor freight traffic and police their border sectors for some time now. I decided that it was time to accept that offer. So I paid the fee. The credits were transferred out of my account and a few moments later I was the proud recipient of an Argon Law Enforcement license. The irony was enough to make me laugh out loud.

Still shakin’ my head at the joke I disembarked the Tenjin and began makin’ my way across the hangar deck. Which is when I noticed the traders offloading their ships. A quick glance at the labels on some of the crates got me thinkin’ that I might be overlookin’ some tradin’ opportunities. So I tapped a couple orders into my wrist comm, tellin’ the Merc to jump into the sector and rendezvous with the Endless, which was currently lumberin’ toward a spot ten klicks above the center of the sector to drop an advsat. Earlier in the day’s madness I’d picked up some argnu beef, cloth rimes and silicon wafers that are currently doin’ nothin’ but takin’ up space in the holds of the Merc and the Endless. I asked Gin to look for any opportunities to offload the stuff and have it all transferred to the Merc for sale. Then I made my way toward the station directory and the lifts.

As I was walkin’ toward the directory the nearest of the lifts opened and I immediately started to grin. Beni was on it. I couldn’t see him yet but I could hear him talkin’ at somebody faster’n Hayla ever did, and that was sayin‘ somethin‘.

“You just make sure you’re ready!” Beni was naggin’. “This guy’s a complete psycho and I don’t want to get whacked cuz you’re not takin’ him seriously! Don’t roll your eyes at me! ... Hey! Don’t look at me like that either! I’m still your boss, you know?! And I know some people who wouldn’t be very happy with you if I told ‘em ... what? What’s the matter?” Beni’d stepped out of the lift right behind an ape in a suit. The ape had been wearin’ an expression of pure martyrdom and Beni’d been shakin’ his finger at the him with one hand while holdin’ a briefcase in the other. When the ape saw me he stopped and stared. It took Beni another moment to catch on but when he saw me he sucked in a sharp breath and shook from head to toe.

“Heya Beni,” I said with a smile. “How ya been?”

*****

Beni screamed like a little girl. “That’s him!” he shrieked. “That’s HIM!” He shoved Karl, his bodyguard, to get him moving. Karl wasn‘t too bright at the best of times and this was NOT the best of times. “Kill him!” Beni screamed. Karl was actually looking back over his shoulder with disbelief. “KILL him!! What the hell am I payin’ you for?!” Beni screamed at him and pointed at Drake. “KILL HIM!

Amazingly Drake just stood there with his hands on his hips and his head cocked to one side, calmly watching the scene unfold with that one, icy grey eye of his. Karl had maybe thirty kilos more mass than the guy but there was something about him that was just ... scary. Scary the way a wild animal that might kill you and eat you is scary. Beni watched as Drake glanced at him, almost like the guy had just read his mind. Then Beni watched him GRIN! When Karl finally looked back at the guy Drake calmly shifted that grin to Karl. Beni actually wondered if a wolf getting ready to rip his guts out would smile that same way. He had a feeling it would.

When Karl finally went for his gun Beni almost laughed with relief. But then Drake moved! It was like being in a nightmare! Beni actually got to watch as his world unraveled around him. It happened so fast that Beni couldn’t seem to credit what his eyes were telling him. One moment Karl was reaching for that cannon in his armpit. The next moment the big ape was on the ground. His eyes had rolled up in his head. His nose was a fountain of blood, and he was convulsing and drumming his heels on the ground like someone having a seizure. Beni looked from Karl to Drake and saw the guy just watching him with that one ice colored eye and that wolf‘s grin.

Beni shrieked. He was distantly aware that he sounded like a little girl but right then he couldn’t care. He made a lunge to get past Drake to the safety of the crowd gathering on the hangar deck but Drake was too fast. He grabbed Beni by the arm and shoved him back into the lift. Beni staggered and hit a wall at a run, nearly knocking himself out in the process. He managed to get himself turned around and clutched his briefcase in front of him like a shield. Drake followed him into the lift. Smiling that predatory smile while the lift doors closed behind him. Drake glanced at the controls and hit a button, sending the lift into motion. A moment later he hit another button and the lift stopped in between destinations.

“Drake!” Beni squeaked, sounding even to himself like a mouse trying to reason with the cat. “Drake don’t kill me! Pleeease don’t kill me! I didn’t do it! I swear I didn’t do it ...”

“Beni,” Drake scolded him, puttin‘ a hand flat against Beni’s chest to press him against the wall. “Beni, Beni, Beni.” Each time Drake said his name he slapped Beni’s face, not hard enough to spin his head around or anything but still hard enough to sting. “Now is that any way to greet an old friend?”

“Drake I didn’t do it! I swear I didn’t do it! I had nothing to do with ...“

Drake was watching at him with what looked like concern. “With what?” he asked, amiable and friendly.

Beni just stared at him with his mouth open. He was pretty sure Drake had just KILLED Karl and now the guy was smiling at him like they were just two old friends chatting at a bar somewhere. Beni knew the guys that looked out for him were killers, or at least he knew that they hired killers from time to time ... but this was different. This casual indifference to the life he’d just ended was ... horrifying.

Drake took the briefcase away from him and set it down. Then he slapped Beni in the mouth again. “Beni? Anybody home, Beni?”

“Huh?” Beni knew it was a trap. He could feel it. He was pretty sure he was already caught in it but he still couldn’t bring himself to say anything that might spring it.

Drake was smoothing the front of Beni’s jacket and straightening his tie. “You.” Drake explained, fixing Beni with that one grey eye. “Didn’t. Have. Anythin’. To do. With what?

“Eeep!” Beni was shakin’ from head to toe. He could feel his heart poundin’ against the hand on his chest. “Drake?” He could feel the trap closing and there was no way out.

“You got somethin’ to tell me, bud?” Drake asked around that smile.

“Please don’t kill me, Drake. Please? I’m beggin‘ you. I‘ll do anything you want just don‘t kill me ...“ Beni was looking and looking for a way out. He just couldn’t find it. Then the trap slammed home. Drake pulled him off the wall and drove a knee into his balls hard enough to lift Beni off the ground. A sudden, sick pain spread outward and upward from his groin and his stomach threatened to hand his lunch back. “OH!” Beni groaned and as he started to double over Drake grabbed him by the throat and shoved him back against the wall hard for his head to bounce. Then he was slapped in the mouth again.

“Come on, Beni,” Drake said with that same mock geniality. “Look,” Drake shook him gently by the scruff of the neck. “I’ll even give you a hint.” Beni met the man’s eye hoping, praying for a way out. Drake was still smiling ... but then he’d been smiling when he killed Karl too. “I mean I understand that to a big shot like you,” Drake’s smile vanished from his face like it had never been there and his voice became an icy growl, “half a billion credits,” the smile returned and his voice was friendly again, “might be easy to misplace.” Drake looked him up and down. “Tell you what,” that smile was as warm as ever. “Why don’t we go back to your office and you can find it for me. Then you can forget I was ever here.”

Beni trembled. “Ooooh God!”

“Whatsa matter?” Drake asked him. There were bright spots of color intruding at the outside of Beni’s vision. “You don’t like that idea?”

“Drake!” Beni squeaked. “Drake I-I don’t ... I don’t ...” Drake just smiled at him and Beni‘s voice became a whisper. “I don’t have it.” He stared at the other man.

Drake was still smiling at him. “No?” he asked, calm and friendly.

Beni shook his head.

Drake tsked-tsked-tsked and then sighed dramatically. “That’s not good, Beni,” he said sadly and slapped Beni‘s chest hard enough to sting. “That’s not good at all.”

“Please don’t kill me, Drake.”

“Kill you?!” Drake laughed like that was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. “Why would I wanna kill you?” he asked. “It’s not like you stole my money. Right Beni? You didn’t steal my money, did you?”

Beni trembled.

Drake’s smile disappeared in the blink of an eye. “Where’s my money, Beni?” Drake asked him. His voice was barely a whisper.

“Drake!” Beni squeaked. “Drake, I can’t! They’ll kill me if ... uhn!”

Drake had drawn and shoved the tip of his pistol up under Beni’s chin so fast that it felt like he’d been punched. His teeth clicked together and his head hit the wall behind him. “They aren’t here, Beni.” Drake growled, low and deep in his chest. It was the last straw, that growl. It was as pure and real as the growl of any animal that ever lived. It was like feeling a wolf’s teeth brush his throat. A sudden warmth spread across his crotch and down his legs. Drake wrinkled his nose, then glanced down and stepped back, making a disgusted sound in his throat. The pistol left his chin but was instead pressed into the center of Beni’s forehead.

“Enough,” Drake growled. “I want my money, Beni.”

“I-If I tell you y-you’re just gonna k-kill me,” Beni felt the tears running over his cheeks.

Drake laughed. “Maybe,” he said, almost soothingly. “Maybe not. At the very least you should know that this isn’t a black or white situation, Beni. There are a lot of ways to die. Some are quick and painless ... like a shot to the forehead.” Drake’s voice became cold and distant. “Other’s, though. Others’ll make you beg for the end looong before you get there.” Beni whimpered reflexively. “Now the plain and simple truth here, Beni, is that the more you help me the less I hurt you. In fact, if you tell me where my money is right now ... I’ll leave.”

Beni’s eyes snapped to Drake’s face. “You mean you won’t kill me?”

“At the very least I won’t kill you today,” Drake said. “All I want is my money, Beni. Now I know you were the one who took it.” Beni moaned again. “But I also know you never woulda done that if someone hadn’t told you to. So you just tell me where my money is and I‘ll leave. Tell me who told you to empty my account, Beni. Just tell me.”

Beni shut his eyes as tight as he could. “S-Sin,” he whispered. “It was Sin.”

“Sin?” Drake echoed.

Beni nodded.

“Sal Vassar’s boy?” Beni nodded again and the pistol vanished from his forehead. Beni opened his eyes. Drake was smiling again. He clapped Beni on the cheek again. It still stung. “See,” Drake said. “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

Beni shook his head.

“Good," Drake grinned at him. "Now tell me where I can find him.”

*****

I got Beni to talk by both scarin' the hell out of him and tellin' him that I wouldn't kill him if he told me. I told him that if he told me what I wanted to know I'd leave. What I didn't say is that he'd be comin' wit' me.

If I'd let him go he'd be runnin' back to the men he worked for right now to tell 'em I was comin', and I don't want that to happen. These are men who think they can steal from me and get away with it. I don't want 'em to see me comin' until I've got 'em by the balls.

So I beamed us both directly from the lift where I'd interrogated him back onto the Tenjin and stuffed his ass in one of the cargo life support coffins. When I climbed back into the cockpit I took a moment to survey the hangar deck. Beni's had told his bodyguard to kill me and the guy had gone for his gun. I'm pretty sure a self defense argument will hold up if anyone pursues it. Either way the guy's dead and there was still a crowd around his body when I sat down in the cockpit. Security was shouting back and forth and I saw a man in the control booth shouting at what I'm guessin' was a comm screen. When I powered up the Tenjin that guy seemed to look right at me even though you can't see through the Tenjin's canopy from the outside. Betty then informed me that the station had locked the Tenjin’s docking clamps and asked if I wanted to override it. I remembered the Law Enforcement license I'd signed for and laughed. Moments later I was heading for the Endless.

I want to get something to eat and maybe take a nap. I want my wits about me tonight. I'm gonna be headin' to the surface. I'm goin' to a night club called 'Dark Flow.' It's on the outskirts of R. Gunne City ... near a ghetto I know all too well.
A Pirate's Story.pdf(KIA) by _Zap _ From Nothing.PDF(complete) by _Zap _ Prodigal Son(active) Original Thread, Prodigal Son_PDF

Falkirion
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Joined: Mon, 4. Jan 10, 11:16

Post by Falkirion » Tue, 1. May 12, 05:14

So that brings us to the preview chapter you wrote up at the end of From Nothing then Scion? Gotta say they keep getting better and better. I love the perspective from the other side. We generally don't get to see things from the targets perspective. At least not without multiple flail/hammerhead hits.

User avatar
Olterin
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Joined: Fri, 27. Feb 09, 21:34

Post by Olterin » Tue, 1. May 12, 10:33

Mmm, delicious updates :D. As I said before, Tasha and Malcolm are out and about - I thought I'd post the first bit here, hope you enjoy. Also, Scion, if you'd like me to move this somewhat separate bit of story away from this thread, let me know.



_________



"So... now what?" Tasha looked a bit confused and worried. They had been adrift a hundred clicks off the ecliptic with their main power down for two days now. A bit over a day ago they watched the DEMC explode in a big nuclear flash, then a bit later they watched the sat feeds go down, simultaneously.

"Now? To be honest, I don't know, Tasha. All my funds were with Drake, so we have no cash... And I don't suppose we'd be very welcome in Argon space if I introduce myself by name. Neither would we be welcome in Boron, Split or Paranid space." Malcolm looked thoughtfully out of the window, his grey eyes locked on some point far, far away from here. "We both know how thoroughly the USC operate, and guessing by the fact that my account reads '0 credits' and by the fact that all our nav sats were shut down simultaneously, I'd say that Drakhar Enterprises is no more, so there's no point in trying to find anyone. I just hope Drake survived..."

"So, first order of business is to build up some money, yes?" Tasha looked out towards the sun. "Get a ship of our own, maybe?"

"Now that sounds like a plan. We'll have to get rid of this Kestrel if we want to have any chance at trading in at least border sectors... Hmm... We'll also need at least minimal fighter carrying capacity, which means we're going to need a TM... Agh, I'm getting ahead of myself here. We need some money, and then we'll see." Malcolm replied. He really hoped Drake survived. And even though Drakhar Enterprises was a pirate organization, this battle didn't feel like he was on the wrong side of. The losing side, yes, but not the wrong one.

"Just what exactly is it with you and doing the right thing?" Tasha asked.

"What? How'd you-"

"I know that look on your face by now." Tasha replied. "Look, Mal, we'll have to lie low, you know, so doing paid assignments often is off the table. So are the stock markets, unless of course you know people who can set you up with a fake identity."

"So, Ms Kerrin, when did you learn how to survive in the Commonwealth on your own?" Malcolm asked with faked surprise on his face.

"You know, doing the low-paid lowlife jobs for some no-good pirate hotshot before getting picked up by you did teach me a thing or two. Plus, it's common sense, really." she replied, faking a defensive tone.

"... Right. So, what do you suggest?"

"Trading. Doing planetside jobs, perhaps. I'd go with pillaging the trade lanes, but I somehow doubt that would work out well, what with us sitting in a missile-turned-M5 and all..."

"Ok. It seems you have it all worked out. Go ahead, set a course, I'll go catch some sleep if I can, I heard sleeping inbetween cargo crates can be quite cozy..." Malcolm replied, sounding genuinenly tired. Yes, we'll need a bigger ship, he thought. Then he wondered whether he'd be able to sleep having witnessed so much destruction recently, but he reminded himself that them both staying awake for two days wasn't doing anyone any favors.
From Nothing, a DiD by Scion Drakhar
Tranquillity(indefinitely on hold)
"Do or do not, there is no try"
"My Other Overwhelming Mixed Assault Fleet is a Brigantine" -Seleucius, commenting on my ship naming scheme

Gosnell
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Joined: Sun, 20. Apr 08, 19:48

Post by Gosnell » Tue, 1. May 12, 12:36

Excellent read again.You really know how to make your characters believable.As i read i can see the scene unfolding vividly in my mind.

Glad to see malcolm survive,He is one of my favorites.

Triaxx2
Posts: 7180
Joined: Tue, 29. Dec 09, 03:15

Post by Triaxx2 » Tue, 1. May 12, 14:32

Naughty, naughty SD. I've seen that movie too...

And Neither Mal nor Tasha should worry. Piracy in a Kestrel is no where near as hard as it might seem. Of course, I make it look easy. ;)

I shall soon, have a post of what H'nt is up to.
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Tue, 1. May 12, 16:28

Thanks guys. I do appreciate the appreciation.

Falkirion, yeppers, or close to it anyway.

Olterin I have no objections, although if you're starting your own game with Malcolm and Tasha I'd recommend, but not require, a separate thread. In other words it's your call.
Triaxx2 wrote:Naughty, naughty SD. I've seen that movie too..
Not sure which movie you're talking about, bud. Although I have heard it said that there is no such thing as an original idea anymore and if I put my mind into search engine mode I can come up with a couple movies that are similar to the tone of this last chapter. Point Blank and Payback come to mind, as well as several GTA video games, but nothing was done deliberately, or at least consciously.
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Post by Triaxx2 » Tue, 1. May 12, 20:28

The Mummy with Brendan Frasier. The scene with Beni. I suspect it wasn't intentional. I just had to poke fun about it. Still an awesome chapter though.
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Post by Scion Drakhar » Tue, 1. May 12, 20:44

LOL I'll have to watch that again. I vaguely remember Beni. He was the guy that switched sides when Imhotep saw the Jewish star around his neck, right?

Well it wasn't an intentional reference. If anything my Beni was a pseudo-tribute to Ken Rosenberg of GTA Vice City. :D
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Post by Triaxx2 » Wed, 2. May 12, 12:32

I only know because my sister loves the movie.

---

H'nt's Kestrel wasted no time in burning it's way out of Avarice. There was still a Terran patrol of Rapiers, scanning the sector for survivors. No stranger to combat, even at high speed, H'nt didn't hesitate. Killing his engines and drifting into place behind a hunk of burning debris, remnants of one of the Raptors, he waited. The first of the Rapiers nosed around the side of the hunk of debris, searchlights on the nose looking for space suits. One was hanging in space, it's readings showing it empty of life. It was facing H'nt and he could see the distorted face of a Teladi, exposed to the vacuum of space. The helmet's face shield was cracked.

The Rapier didn't notice or didn't care, because it opened fire with it's EMPC and shattered the suit. The light swung further sweeping over H'nt's ship. It instantly picked up a brilliant light emanating from the Kestrel. The Remote Guided Warhead slammed into the Rapier even before it could fire back in hopes of defense. H'nt felt his ship shake as the shields absorbed some of the radiant energy of the blast. Sensors bleeped to inform him that there was a second Rapier heading his way, obviously intent on discovering the source of the explosions. It appeared over the top of the wreckage for nearly a full second before the PAC's ate through the shields and a Hurricane finished it off.

There was one Rapier left and it tried, very hard to reach a jump beacon left in the sector, apparently by the Terran capitals. Unfortunately, in addition to being more capable than the Rapier, the Kestrel was also far faster. H'nt caught up to it 28km from the beacon and stripped the shields off the Rapier with a burst of PAC. The Rapier twisted, spun and caught him a shot across the nose with it's own EMPCs. The second round went wide. The Wasp missile didn't miss. 8 kilojoules of warhead left nothing but a piece of scrap floating in space.

H'nt had two RGW's. While they might be important later, it was more important to H'nt that he eliminate that Beacon which he found truly offensive. Two hundred kilojoules of warhead winged their way to the target and disintegrated it instantaneously. H'nt turned, and pushed the throttle wide open, screaming out of the sector at more than six hundred meters per second. He knew where he was headed. Even if it wasn't his favorite destination in the universe...
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Post by Gosnell » Wed, 2. May 12, 18:40

Im really hoping lucifer survived.I always picture him as Snake from escape from new york.

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Post by Coupaholic » Wed, 2. May 12, 22:07

GOSNELL wrote:Im really hoping lucifer survived.I always picture him as Snake from escape from new york.
Yeah? I always imagined him look more like this guy.

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Post by Scion Drakhar » Thu, 3. May 12, 03:36

Thanks for the post, Triaxx.

That's funny. I always pictured Lu a bit like this.

Well, thanks for hanging in here, folks. I hope you enjoy chapter 10.





10. Dark Flow

When I got back to the Endless I turned Beni over to Gunny t’Kt’s security people and then made my way to the captain’s quarters with nothin’ but dinner and a nap on my mind. On my way I ignored half a dozen messages from all around the ship about the imminent collapse of the universe and two dozen more from Hayla about how she was going to spontaneously combust if I didn’t talk to her right now. I asked Gin to arrange for her and Gunny to accompany me to the surface. Then I sat down in our quarters, ate a slice of meatsteak and a Terran C-Ration that came from God only knows where and washed it all down with some water. Then I collapsed into a coma for the better part of a stazura.

I woke up to Gin’s hand on my shoulder. When I opened my eye and looked up at her she offered me that quiet smile of hers. I reached up and touched her face and she covered my hand with hers.

“It’s not too bad is it?” I asked. “Here and now?” She gave me a confused look. “I mean I don’t have a few hundred million credits, and the coffee sucks, and we’re not drinkin’ ambrosia and eatin’ gourmet steaks ... and most of my friends are dead ...”

She bent over and kissed me. A few moments later she straightened up and brushed a lock of my hair back behind my ear. “Kao won’t be able to come with us tonight. People have been breaking into the hold to steal supplies. His people are still new to the job and unsteady so he wants to make sure there are no incidents.”

I nodded and groaned. I was still half asleep and so tired I could barely think straight.

“I traded the cloth rimes for about fifty thousand credits and some more food,” she went on, “including some taurian coffee?”

I blinked and met her eye. “Real coffee?”

She laughed at me then pointed to the night stand. There was already a sealed cup waiting for me. I grinned. “You are too good to me.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “I am.”

I chuckled and sat up. She was smiling at me. I picked up the cup and turned the lid so the holes were open. The aroma of real coffee wafted out and I actually groaned with pleasure as I took a sip.

“People are scared, Drake,” she said, and flattened my hair against my head. “They need hope.”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I know. Well, with luck my old friends will feel so bad about stealin’ from me that they’ll just give me back all the money they stole and we can go our merry way without any headaches or bloodshed.”

She gave me a sideways look and that line appeared between her eyebrows.

“Yeah,” I groaned and stood up. “I know. Pigs’ll fly and they’ll be havin’ snowball fights in hell before gangsters return money. Frak I was really hopin’ to have Gunny along.”

“Latasha Seldon has agreed to come in his stead,” she said and I nearly spilled my coffee.

“Seldon?!”

She nodded.

“Shit! I forgot she was on the ship,” I started grinnin’. “Have you seen her? How is she?”

Gin smiled at me. “She’s well. She favors her left leg some but she’s mobile.” Gin chuckled then.

“What?”

She shook her head. “She’s cranky too.”

“Oh yeah?”

She nodded. “She’s been helping Kao train the ship’s security and while we were talking she blistered the ears of over a dozen of her people.” She smirked. “Any recruit that close enough for her to spot a crooked gig line or scuffed boot got sorted out in a hurry.”

I snorted. “Well, at least she’s enjoyin’ herself.” I took another sip of my coffee. I think I moaned again. I swear I could taste the sunlight and the black earth that had grown the beans. After that freeze dried crap it was heaven in a cup. “Aaah!” I looked at Gin and smiled. “Thank you.”

“Actually that’s a safety precaution.”

I blinked. “Safety precaution?”

“When you don’t get your coffee you tend to murder people.”

I snorted again. Then I sighed. “What about her emotional state? Seldon. Did she seem ... I don’t know ... competent?”

“Yes,” Gin nodded. “Very much so. In fact I think she needs something to do to keep her occupied. You know, so she doesn’t think about Slamer?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “Alright then, I guess we’re on.”

A short time later Gin and I met Latasha Seldon on the hangar deck. Surprisingly she was already in the cockpit and the Tenjin seemed to be under pre flight power. I glanced at Gin but she just shrugged. A couple moments later we climbed up into the cockpit and watched Seldon runnin’ through the pre-flight diagnostics and checkin’ gravidar orientation. She heard us clamberin’ up the ladder and looked up.

“Hey Commander,” she said to Gin, then “Admiral,” to me. She wore the same ‘in-your-face’ grin as always, but it had grown strained somehow, since the last time I’d seen her. “How’s it hanging?”

“Long, loose and full a juice. Thanks for askin’.”

Gin raised her eyebrow and looked at me sideways. Seldon roared laughter. They both looked like they’d never really seen me before. “I suppose that’s better than high and dry, right sir?” Seldon grinned and winked at Gin. Gin rolled her eyes and took the co-pilot’s chair, but she had a smile on her face.

“It’s good to see you, Gunny,” I said and meant it. The last time I’d seen her she’d looked like a sick little girl tryin’ to hide her tears in a hospital bed. “But you shouldn’t call me Admiral anymore. I’ve got one heavy transport and a couple of beat up fighters. Not exactly an armada in the makin'.”

She gave me that sideways look women seem to master pre-puberty. “Whatever,” she dismissed me. “You forget, skipper. I’ve been with you since the beginning. I saw you turn less than this into an armada scary enough to have the Terrans pissin’ their pants. So forgive me if I don’t buy into the self pity, kay?” I raised my eyebrows at her as she went about bringin’ the Tenjin to life. When I didn’t say anythin’ she glanced up at me. “What? I have faith in you. You have a knack for,” she grinned, “acquiring what you need.”

I hissed through my teeth. “You mean stealin’ shit? Yeah, I guess I do at that.” I gestured to the pilot’s chair and the controls in front of her. “So do you know what you’re doin’ or are ya just pushin’ buttons hopin’ you don’t accidentally launch a missile into the hangar deck and kill us all?”

“Can’t fire a missile while the docking clamps are engaged, sir. We also don’t have any power to the weapons systems, there are no missiles in the tubes, and nothing we have aboard would so much as scratch this baby’s paint.” She gave me a lecturin’ look. “You really need to get some thunderbolts for this thing. Good range for a solid kick in the head.” I laughed and looked at Gin. She was noddin’ with a respectful set to her mouth. “I’ve got about a hundred and seventy stazura in a simulator,” Seldon told us, “and I’ve done my homework.”

“I guess so.” I conceded.

She shrugged. “I’ve been trying to expand my skill set so that I can do something besides just being a grunt.” She met my eye for a heartbeat. “You know?”

I nodded. “Yeah, I guess I do,” I said, “but if you’re lookin’ for a safer profession flyin’ a fighter ain’t it. You know that right?”

“Who said I was looking for ‘safe’? Besides right now I just want to keep my options open.”

I nodded. “Alright, then,” I said, takin’ a seat near the hatch to the cargo hold and strappin’ myself in. “Show me what you got. Take me to R. Gunne city.”

“R. Gunne city, aye,” Seldon echoed the order.

Moments later the Tenjin fired from one of the Endless’ tubes and I watched as Argon Prime appeared in the viewscreen ahead. We cruised on in silence for a time and Sonra vanished behind the planet’s horizon. Then Gin and Seldon started talkin’ about some of the different situations that could arise in a fighter and some of the tactics for handlin‘ ‘em. I heard Gin offer to take her out to practice combat maneuvers when there was time but I was already far away. In front of us the planet had grown huge and dark and I could see the strings of lights stretchin’ across it’s surface, gatherin’ together in bright places that could be towns or cities. On one of the northern continents one of those bright spots was larger and brighter than any other and I knew I was lookin’ at home, or at least I was lookin’ at the shiny, smilin’ mask that my home wore for the rest of the universe.

R. Gunne City, or Argon City, or Argon Prime dependin’ on who you talked to was a megalopolis with a metropolitan area that covered over twenty thousand square kilometers and housin' well over five hundred million people. The club Beni had named was new but I knew the area. It was right on top of Old City. Of course that could be said of much of Argon city. You see Argon City hadn’t just spread out, it had spread up. The first skyway had been built nearly eight hundred years, or five hundred and ninety jazura ago, about a hundred meters above the original streets and had been a testament to the glory of human civilization. It had been complete with parks and shoppin’ centers, museums, art galleries, and transportation. It was another level, draped like a spider web between the two and three hundred story spires of the city. It was, for all intents and purposes, another city, a ‘new’ city, built directly on top of the old one.

Over the centuries the city continued to grow, spreadin’ both outward and upward. It was considered a ‘never endin’ work of art‘. The city itself was strung together like one giant buildin’, supportin’ ever larger and higher spires. New levels were added, new cities built above the old ones. Each one the next and greatest testament to the grandeur of the Argon Federation. After a thousand years there were well over a hundred levels, some existin’ only for the span of a few blocks, others reachin’ from the grasslands in the north to the white sea in the south. From outer space it’s a massive shinin’ palace. It’s the home to the Federation’s Parliament and the financial center for two entire races, since the Boron joined with the Argon in the Founder‘s guild. All the richest and most important people in the Federation have residences there. Sometimes I wonder if they realize just how close they are to the poorest and least significant, and if they do what they think about it. Cuz no matter how high you get in Argon City, Old City is always just a few hundred meters below you ... crouched in the shadows.

As we neared the atmosphere there was a routine I was unfamiliar with. It’s been a while since I was planetside. It feels like a lifetime since I left this place. A lifetime of lifetimes. So I wasn’t used to the challenge we received from the Argon Air Patrol. My current standin’ with the Federation made it pretty simple. They confirmed that the ship was mine and recorded our destination. Then they let us go. About ten mizura after that we were descendin’ over the white sea with the gleamin’ radiance of Argon City in front of us. I felt like I was gonna be sick.

A few mizura after that and we made our way into the city. The traffic in Argon Prime made a cubical grid throughout the city. Hundreds of levels of speeders and transports and cargo haulers passed back and forth in level upon level upon level of traffic in endless streams one on top of the one below. We were restricted to the largest traffic lanes by the size of our ship. Despite the Tenjin bein’ just a fighter it was still much larger than the speeders flittin‘ about. So in order to descend into the city itself we had to follow the same paths the cargo haulers used. Which made the goin’ slow. Which, unfortunately, gave me plenty of time to think. So I was completely lost in bitter memories when I realized Seldon was tryin‘ to get my attention.

I blinked. “Sorry, what?”

“You okay?” Seldon asked and Gin was lookin’ at me.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “Yeah, I’m all right.”

“So this is where you’re from, huh boss?”

I looked out the window at all the lights and flickerin’ traffic, at the ten story billboards and people laughin‘ in groups on the skywalks. “No,” I said and the tone of my voice got ’em both lookin’ at me. “Not exactly,” I said and pointed. “See there? Where those supports disappear past the platform?” I was pointin’ at the edge of a skywalk below us, and the supports for the levels above disappearin’ into the dark below. We were somewhere in the lower levels, but still hundreds of meters off the ground. “If you follow those supports all the way down you‘ll eventually get to a place where it’s always dark, even at midday. It’s a place where the air is damp and moldy and stinks like garbage and unwashed bodies. It’s where all a the lost and forgotten things from the city up here eventually end up.” I nodded, and clenched my teeth together. “Down there,” I said, “that’s where I’m from.”

After that it was quiet in the Tenjin’s cockpit. Neither woman said anythin’ and I felt bad about dampenin’ the mood but I couldn’t bring myself to do anythin’ about it. A little while later we passed over Dark Flow, the night club Beni had mentioned. It was a five story cube lit up like a neon hooker. It easily could have fit ten thousand kids dancin’ inside it and there was still a line of people stretched down the block waitin’ to get in. It was a brand new buildin’ and there was a digital banner over the main entrance announcin’ the club’s ‘Grand Opening’.’

“Grand openin’,” I said as the club slipped out of sight under the Tenjin‘s wing.

“You say something, Boss?” Seldon asked and Gin looked back at me.

“Yeah,” I said. “I was just thinkin’ out loud. What do you think a brand new Night Club like that goes for?” Seldon looked down at the club and shook her head. Gin never took her eyes off me. They both thought they knew what I was thinkin’, that Sin Vassar had spent my money on his Night Club, and they were right. But that wasn’t all I was thinkin’. Starin’ at that banner I was thinkin’ about Sin, not just the money, but the man.

Back when I knew him Sin had been an over-privileged punk usin’ his daddy’s name whenever he wanted to be taken seriously. He was one of those guys who wouldn’t think twice about sendin’ you to get killed if he thought it would get him what he wanted, or if he didn't like you, or if he thought it would be entertainin‘. I don’t think he saw people. I don’t think he really saw anybody, you know, other than himself, and maybe his daddy. And standin’ next to Salvatore Vassar I think he found it hard to measure up. It made him strange, somehow. Gil had always refused to work with him. I wish I’d done the same.

Honestly it didn’t surprise me that Sin had come after my money. I’m guessin’ that he’d known about Beni settin’ my accounts up for some time. So when he heard about the Terrans takin’ me down, leavin’ all that money sittin’ in my account, an account he could get back door access to, to Sin it must have seemed like Christmas come early. He always did think he was entitled to anythin' he wanted.

He was wrong.

*****

The club overwhelmed the senses. A heavy, driving bass pulsed through every nerve. Red and silver strobe lights flashed in time. A sea of young people gyrated and pressed against each other in primal expressions of lust. Then the bass gave way to a powerful female vocalist. All of the dancers on the floor slowed to sway and tremble as the singer's voice soared into a stellar soprano and then fell all the way into a deep, rich contralto. A moment later the bass rhythms erupted from the speakers again and the vocalist moaned in breathless ecstasy. The entire club exploded into motion and the rafters echoed with cheers and laughter. The vocalist panted in time with the bass, sounding like she was closer to an orgasm with every breath. The sea of people writhed in time below.

Sin Vassar looked down on the crowd and nodded with the music. The DJ was excellent, and making him a fortune. People were coming from all around the planet to dance at his club and it was making him rich. A pair of small hands snaked around his waist and began unfastening his belt buckle. He smiled as he sipped his gin. Another pair of hands wrapped around his chest and both girls giggled as they pressed together against his back.

"Hey Sin, we're feeling neglected." It was the blonde. He couldn't remember her name but he did like her tits. She moved around in front of him and dropped to her knees with a devilish grin. "I don't like feeling neglected."

"Ok," he said as she unzipped his fly and began rummaging around behind it. "But make it quick. I've got things to do tonight." He looked back to the dance floor and smiled as she put him in her mouth. It was good to be him tonight.

"Hey!" The shout came from out in the hall. It was Rik, one of his guards out in the hall. "You can't be up here." Sin only paid it the slightest attention. Occasionally one of the guests would explore. It was nothing to worry ... "You have to go back downstairs! Hey are you listening to ... oof!"

Sin put a hand on the blonde's head. "Wait," he said. "Hey! I said wait!" She had enthusiasm goin' for her, he had to give her that at least. But out in the hall something was wrong.

"What the hell are you ...! Wait-wait! WAIT!" It was Hal, the second guard in the hall. An instant later the double doors into his office burst inward, and the two goons fell to the floor in the wreckage. The girls cried out and tried to take cover behind him. He shoved the blonde away from his crotch and spun around, thinking of the gun in his desk drawer, but crashed into the brunette pressing against his back. "Frak! Move you cow!" He shoved her aside and tried to dash across the room for the gun.

A shadow erupted out of the dark in the hallway. It was through the door and across the room in the blink of an eye. Sin was just touching the drawer with the gun when the shadow rolled across his desk and stood up behind him. In an instant the side of his head was grabbed forcefully and pulled backward and to the side, levered into the press of the guy's shoulder. Sin was suddenly bent over backward, clutching the guys arms, and up on his toes trying to relieve the pressure against his neck. A thin line of pressure appeared against his right cheek. It was cold, but where it touched burned. He glanced down by rolling his eye in it's socket and saw the shining tip of a blade less than a centimeter from his naked right eye. It's edge was already cutting through his cheek.

"Oh shit!" he breathed.

"Hi there," it was a coarse, gravelly growl in his ear. "Sin." It was pure aggression. It was the jaws of a wolf at his throat. His knees nearly buckled with the hatred in that voice. His bladder threatened to let go. The girls took one look at the scene and ran screaming.

"H-hey! Hey!!" he shouted and his panic gave him strength. "Look! Guy! Whatever this is about we can w-work it out alright?!" He could feel the stubble on the guys chin against his neck. He could feel his breath across his ear. It was slow and measured. Steady. He couldn't be sure with his head pinned the way it was but he thought the guy was smiling. "Alright?!"

"Yeah, Sin." The guys voice was like crushed bones and a hot wind at his ear. Teeth close enough for him to hear them click together as the guy talked. "That's good. I want to work it out, see. I do. So just answer me one question."

"Y-yeah! Yeah sure! Whatever you need, guy! J-just don't ...!"

"Where's. My. Money?"

"Huh?! What the hell are you ... " Realization hit like a bucket of ice water. His knees tired to let go underneath him. "Oh shit," he breathed. "Drake." The knife pressed through his cheek and flesh parted as if under a scalpel. An instant later he felt a sensation unlike any he'd ever known. It was a pain so bright and clear that it literally drowned out thought. His eyes swam and the music in the club disappeared. He tried to struggle but he was held perfectly. The more he resisted the closer to breaking his own neck he got ... but that pain!

"Nothin' quite like the feel a steel on bone is there?"

"OH-HOH-ho! Oh my frakkin' stars!" Sin wept. "Stop! Drake STOP! You have to listen to me! That account wasn't yours! It was never yours!"

"I don't give a shit about the account! I just want my money! Give me my frakkin' money!"

"Drake you can't just steal from the syndicate and expect to get away with it! It wasn't yours! You know it wasn't! Did you think you could just ...?" The two goons were gettin' to their feet. "Help!" Sin shouted. "Help me!" The first had climbed off the second and just reached his feet when the singing, metallic sound of a phase discharge rang out twice from the shadows in the hallway. The chest of the first erupted in a fountain of blood and bone and soft tissue. The second's head was atomized while he was still on his knees. They were both dead before they hit the floor.

Sin screamed.

"I am gonna cut your eye outta the socket and flick it on the floor you maggot! Don't frak wit’ me! Where's my money, you cocksucker?! There was nearly five hundred million credits in that account and I want it back!"

"I don't have it!" Sin screamed. "I don't have it, Drake! I don't frakking have it!"

"Who does?!"

"Toni! Toni Azara! He took the account! He took it! I don't know what he did with the money! I don't have it! Oh frak! Don't frakkin' kill me!"

"Toni Azara?"

"Yeah!"

"Your fat, greaseball cousin has my money?"

"Yes!!"

"And you expect me to believe you had nothin' to do wit' it?!"

"Toni has it, Drake! Not me! Please! I'm beggin' you ..."

"Shut the frak up!" Sin was shoved across his desk. An antique blotter and real ink pens tumbled onto the floor as he tried to catch his balance. "And put that thing away before I cut it off!"

Sin realized his dick was still swinging in the breeze and tried to both put it back in his pants and look over his shoulder at the same time. The result was neither got done and instead he tripped over his own chair and fell to the floor. He landed on his side and stared up at the shadow looming over him. Medium height. Medium build. Dressed in black from head to toe. Straw colored hair pulled back from his face in a ponytail. It was Drake alright. But he was ... different. Scary. The guy'd always been intense but now it was like standing next to a blast furnace.

"It's been a long time, Drake," Sin said breathlessly. "I hear you did pretty well for yourself." He grinned maliciously. "... for awhile, anyway." Drake's head whipped around and Sin got to see that the rumors were true. The guy's left eye was covered with a black patch. An instant later, though, and a sick, liquid numbness exploded upward from his crotch. He never even saw the kick coming. It had hit before he realized it had started. "Oh!" he moaned. A moment later the pain caught up to his guts and he rolled over to vomit.

"You never did know when to keep your mouth shut, didja? What was it you used to call Hayla?"

"The back-alley queen," Sin laughed through the puke.

"Yeah," Drake growled, "like she was some kind of hooker, right?"

"She was a hooker, Drake. All the guys that hung out at Mickey's used to say she gave the best head in to-OW!!" A second kick from Drake broke at least one of his ribs.

"Just keep talkin' dumbass. Really. I want you to."

"Who is Toni Azara?" It was a woman's voice and something about it got his attention even through the pain. It was beautiful ... but cold somehow. Whoever she was, she had to be the one that shot Rik and Hal.

"Toni ..." he breathed. "Toni's never gonna give you that money, Drake ..." Sin smiled through the pain in his face, in his guts, and the incredible pounding from his newly broken rib. He rolled his head over to meet Drake's single eye again. "You know it's true ..."

In the blink of an eye Sin was staring at a blaster that seemed to appear out of thin air. "Then I guess I don't need you anymore, now do I?"

"Whoah! Whoah-whoah-whoah! Take it easy!"

"Why should I? I've killed thousands of people, Sin. Tens of thousands. Most of 'em I never even met. I had nothin' against 'em. But you!" Drake thrust the tip of the blaster at him like a finger. "You, I don't like! You, I want to kill! So why should I wait? I mean I'm not a very patient man at the best of times and these are not the best of times, Sin. So why should I ...?"

"I can get you you're money!"

Drake's eye blazed and he seemed to relax a hair, if a viper could be said to relax anyway. "Go on," he growled, "I'm listenin'."

"Just let me talk to Toni ..."

"Just let you talk to Toni?" Drake grinned as if he'd just heard a joke.

"Yeah! I can talk to him. I'll tell him ..."

"What?" The grin vanished like somebody'd flipped a switch.

Sin stared at him.

"What will you tell him, Sin? What are you gonna say to convince your low life, piece a shit cousin to give me my five hundred million credits?"

"Drake, please don't kill me. Please! I'm beggin' you."

Drake's lip curled in disgust and he shook his head as he looked away. A moment later he looked back. Then he reached down and grabbed Sin by the collar. "You better hope your family loves you, Sin," he growled. "Get the frak up!"

"Just let me talk to him! Drake! Drake don't do this! Just let me talk to him!"

"I'm gonna let you talk to him."

"You are?"

"Yeah," Drake nodded and flashed that grin at him again. "Over the wireless. From an airlock on one of my ships. And Toni'll either give me my money or you get to find out what it's like to try screamin’ in a vacuum.” Drake leaned in and fixed him with that one frozen eye. “I'm told the human bein’ can survive for up to a mizura in space." Drake showed his teeth in that terrible smile. "I'm guessin' that's a really long time when you're prayin' for death."

Sin's mouth worked but his voice had left him.

"Move it, asshole."

*****

I would have had Gunny beam us out of the club but there was somethin’ in the walls that made that impossible. So we went out the way we came in, through the kitchen. There were a couple of guards that got in the way as we went, but after Gin killed the loudest one they stayed out of our way. Once we were outside we beamed back to the Tenjin. Now we’re back on the Endless and I’m provin’ true to my word.

Sin Vassar is in an airlock and we’re about to talk to his cousin, Toni.
Last edited by Scion Drakhar on Mon, 24. Sep 12, 13:25, edited 6 times in total.
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Gosnell
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun, 20. Apr 08, 19:48

Post by Gosnell » Thu, 3. May 12, 04:14

Damn it its 3am here and you posted,I blame my poor performance at work tomorrow on your excellent tale.

Falkirion
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon, 4. Jan 10, 11:16

Post by Falkirion » Thu, 3. May 12, 05:18

Oh yeah. Love it when Drake gets vicious. Can't wait for the next entry SD!

Triaxx2
Posts: 7180
Joined: Tue, 29. Dec 09, 03:15

Post by Triaxx2 » Thu, 3. May 12, 13:13

Awesome. More H'nt.

---

H'nt's Kestrel appeared out of the gate through Montalaar, and exploded to maximum throttle, even as he rolled for the north gate. There was no blockade the way he expected, but he wasn't interested in waiting for someone to come looking for those Rapiers, so he didn't hang around.

There were pirates hanging around both in Montalaar and in Light of Heart, though in both cases they were already engaged with the local police forces. Haktikvah's was a bit more exciting, with a Carrack waiting as he arrived through the gate. Thankfully it was already firing on drones released from an OTAS freighter that had gone ahead and he was able to roll around the gate and punch it, until he was clear of the area. Haktikvah's was awash with piracy. Heading north, he watched a battle between a group of pirates in a Brigantine, a Split task force headed by a Raptor, and an Argon Cerberus and group. Nothing survived since the moment the Brigantine went down, the two groups began to fight, over some stray shots between the two capitals.

H'nt screamed past the handful of surviving Scorpions, limping their way home at a fraction of their original speed. Through the gate into Thuruk's Beard, Hn't decided to stop at the local trading station. The local military outpost would have a security station aboard and they could tell him where Vo'l'nt's Tiger was. H'nt smiled as he approached. She would be very jealous to learn that Ea't was last seen in a Tiger.
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