X3TC » Way of the Gun - An Interlude

Chapter 3

Interlude

Argon News Network bulletin: Aladna Hill

Local police and federal authorities are still looking for leads in a recent triple murder case. The victims, two Paranid and a Boron, were slaughtered in their hotel room on the trading station in Aladna Hill just three days ago. They have now been named by their respective governments. Tuli Sa, professor of micro-biology and former head of genetics research at the Royal research facility in Great Trench was shot twice and is believed to have been the first victim. The two Paranid have been named as Taimancketlat, reknowned astrophysicist and one of the few members of the Empire willing to deal openly with Argon corporations, and Krakonmosslat, a known pirate. It is unknown why the three were together and raises significant questions for both the Kingdom of Boron and the Paranid Empire. We'll bring you more on the story as soon as we get it.

***

Yohandris Ugralias Rotussiss the sixth eased his tired body into the comfortable, expensive and ancient wooden chair he had procured years before from an auction on Argon Prime. Despite having been built for a human occupant it was barely big enough to contain the fat lizard's bulk. As he sat he glanced around his office, taking in the oppulence and splendour that only a lifetime of trading, cheating and swindling could provide. Rare works of art lined many of his shelves, alongside books and scrolls, many of which were in languages or dialects so old he'd spent almost each items value in credits to have them translated into his native Teladi tongue.

Then his eyes happened upon the large, red leather bound tome on his desk. He'd bought it for a song some months before, but given how old it was his contacts had valued the translation at some 10 million credits, more than he'd ever paid for a single piece. Being a lover of anything older than his own hundred years the Teladi yearned to devour it's secrets, but he needed more money. It was high time he called in a debt. He reached for his computer console and began to type.

***

The assassin paused in her ministration to the battered freighter's hull and shut off her repair laser. Her space suit was indicating an inbound message. Knowing full well who it would be from she swore, then opened the comm.

From: Y66@Profitsss.net:
To: Lost_Soul@UnderworldGuns.org

Wren

It's been 5 days, You know I normally wouldn't push, but I need that money. Get it to me by the end of the week or I'm closing your account.

Yohandris.


Wren thumped her suited fist against the side of the freighter.

"Bollocks."

***

Daye Bro glanced at the two cards in his hand. The Ten and the Jack of Blades. He would have sighed at the sight of them, but that would have only alerted his companions to his poor hand, and he wanted to win back some chips. The Teladi, Trantaeos, had over half of his stack on his side of the table.

"Raise to two twenty." He grunted, tossing a handful of chips into the middle.

To his left there was a flicker of motion as Tata Ga, the female Boron, called. For about the fiftieth time that night Daye wondered if the encounter suit she was wearing to survive outside of her natural environment was the cause of the watery, high pitch voice, or if all Boron sounded like that anyway. The Teladi called, flashing Daye a sly grin as his chips landed in the pot. 'Smarmy bastard.' Daye thought silently.

To Trantaeos' left, the small blind, Etmanckosset the huge Paranid, folded. Daye smiled to himself. Of his four companions Etmanck was the only one he'd known before they were thrown together by the assassin, and he knew from playing poker on the Hatikvah's pirate base that the burly three eyed warrior would only flat call the blind if he had a shoddy hand.

To Daye's right, the big blind, sat the Split. Kao t'Snt grunted and shoved all his chips into he middle. "Split say: All in!" he cried. Daye smiled as he called, knowing that Kao had even less chips than he did, and that he'd be safe...unless the Teladi shoved even harder. Tata reached out a tentacle loaded with chips and dropped them into the middle of the table, followed swiftly by Trantaeos' claw. The Teladi fixed Daye with another sly look and winked one of his slitted yellow eyes. "Deal." he hissed.

"Keep your scales on." Daye replied, burning the first three cards and laying out the flop. He winced as he saw the cards. The Queen of Scales, the Ace of Stars and the Queen of Cups. He needed a king for a straight and right now he had nothing. With Etmanck having folded and Kao all in he was first to act. He'd learned early in that checking to the Teladi was a bad move, so he decided to shove.

"All in."

Tata Ga groaned hesitantly. "We...fold." she concluded., setting her cards to the side and leaning back in her chair. "Good play." she said, bobbing her head to Daye.

"Ssssneaky, human." Trantaeos hissed, his eyes narrowed and fixed on his two remaining opponents. "Very well." he finally hissed "Let usss ssssee if your hand issss any good!"

Daye grimaced as he saw the hands. The lizard had pocket kings, meaning at best there were only two left in the deck. When he saw Kao's cards though he knew he was done. Queen and Ace of Blades.

"Split say: Full house! Split win!" Kao pronounced cheefully.

"Frak's sake!" Daye growled. For a moment he considered pulling his gun and shooting Kao, but as he glanced about his companions he took note of each of their weapons. Kao wore a Split ritual dagger at his belt and a rifle comfortably hung from his right shoulder. Etmanck carried dual pistols and had fists big enough to crush a man's head. The Teladi carried a single sidearm but had sharpened his claws to a fine point, and the Boron wore a brace of throwing knives on a sash around her torso and a pair of pistols at her back.

"Don't even think about it shit head." came a voice from the back of the Hermes' common cabin. Daye turned to see the assassin, leaning calmly against the bulkhead next to the airlock's inner door. He scowled.

"You some kinda frakkin' mind reader, 'boss'?" he replied.

"Better'n you know honey." she replied without missing a beat, and taking a long stride towards the poker table. "You keep your guns in check as long as I'm holdin' your contract, or I'll kill ya meself. Capisce?"

He thought about it for a moment. Then his hands slid away from his belt. He'd heard enough about O'ren Rock to know she wasn't someone to be frakked with. As she strolled past him towards her private cabin she winked. "Very professional. Good boy."

Chapter 4

Posted by Kirlack on Wednesday 20th March, 2013   ·   Comment 0 comments   ·  


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