Monday, February 7, 2011

Smoking Gun

The bar was poorly lit, a haze of smoke hanging in the air. The ceiling and walls were bare, unadorned, leaving the rusted steel bulkheads and girders visible. It was located in the Egbinger system, in an abandoned mechanic's workshop in the bowels of a station belonging to CONCORD. I sat at the bar, and beside me was thin Sebiestor man, his features seeming ageless, a permanent smirk fixed to his face, his blue eyes twinkling with madness. The bartender set a glass of whiskey in front of me, the amber liquid seeming to glow in the half-light. I drank a measure, savouring the feel of the alcohol burning its heat to my core.

"So, Coffee," I began, "The kid. Has he said anything about his father?"

The other man laughed, and shook his head quickly. "Nope, nothin'. But he's a weird little bastard, insists on helping us where he can, keeps goin' on about 'making amends for past misdeeds'." He drums his fingers on the bar, producing a frantic, off-beat rhythm. "I've put him to work doing logistics and accounts, he's got a head for numbers. Must be all that expensive Gallente schoolin'."

I felt a frown tugging at my mouth, and covered it with another gulp of whiskey. "Nothing? Damn it." A sigh escaped my lips, but my companion only smirked wider. "Well, I guess we can assume that he's gone for good, at least."

"Unless the fucker comes back for his kid." He chuckles, seeming delighted by the prospect. "Maybe even monsters find family important. Hell, you tell me, you're a monster, aintcha?"

"You're one to talk, Mr 'Good Coffee'," I replied, forcing a smile onto my face, and staring into his slightly unhinged gaze. "But if he comes, we'll be ready for him."

The man laughed again, and nodded, then turned away to receive his drink. As he did, I heard from behind my back the door to the bar creak open. I swiveled on my stool, and watched three young looking men saunter nonchalantly into the place. They were out of place for a spot like this, well-groomed, and dressed in the uniforms of CONCORD trainees, arrogant expressions on their faces. I turned away, pulling the jacket of my suit back on, letting them see the embroidered 'V', symbol of Veto Corporation, and finished my drink in a single pull, the liquor making a path of fire to my stomach.

They sat down across the bar from me, ordering drinks, and talking quietly, but I could feel their gaze on my back. Coffee's elbow nudged me in the side, and I turned to see his ever-present smirk.

"Hey Raxip," he grinned, "Some of these things are not like the others. One gets you ten they try and make trouble."

I rolled my eyes, and fished out a bit of coin to pay the bartender. "I don't bet, you know that, Coffee. And besides, that's a sucker bet for you: Why else would they be here?"

As I finished my words, I felt a man's hand fall heavily on my shoulder and a voice from behind my back. "Hey, scumbag. I don't like seeing murdering filth in my new bar, so get the fuck out."

I turned slowly, slipping off my chair, and looking up at the man who spoke. He was the oldest looking, maybe twenty, his hair shaved in a crewcut, his jaw smooth and free of stubble. He was lean, with the build of a martial artist. To either side of him were his two companions: to his left, a chubby looking kid with glasses, but big, probably breaking six feet, and to his right, an arrogant looking fellow with a well-trimmed moustache.

"No problem, boss. I was just leaving," I answered, smiling pleasantly at him and adjusting my suit.

"You mouthin' off at me, boy," he responded, his eyes narrowing. Suddenly, his hand shot out, smacking against my cheek. He hit hard, clearly with some training, and I let myself roll with the blow, turning away from him, and letting him think the strike had connected properly. From behind me, I heard Coffee begin to chuckle, and knew he'd be no help here. I wrapped my fingers slowly around the back of the chair I'd been sitting on, as if to keep my balance.

Raxip, I thought to myself, This is probably a bad idea. They outnumber you and out-weigh you, and you're unarmed. But it didn't matter; I could feel the anger rising up in me. I clamped down on it, controlling it tightly, and channelling it, not letting it take me over. My fingers gripped the chair, and I spun suddenly, lifting it into the air and hurling it towards the big one to my right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it impact against his face with a crunch, his glasses shattering, and blood squirting from his nose. He stumbled and fell back, tripping backwards onto his ass, but I was already moving, stepping in quickly before anyone else could react, and driving my fist as hard as I could into the leader's midsection. He made a 'whomph' as the air rushed out of his lung, and began to bend double, but I wasn’t finished. I moved in again, and reached up to grab either side of his head, bringing it down with all my strength towards my rising knee. There was a loud crack, and a blossom of pain from my leg, as his face smashed into it, and another spurt of blood, as his nose squashed flat from my strike. I let my foot go down between his, and slammed my elbow into his chest, hurling him backwards to tumble to the floor in a heap.

From behind me, I could hear maniacal laughter, and turned reflexively to see Coffee half doubled up, gales of laughter erupting from him, as he pointed at the two men I'd dispatched. Then, time seemed to slow as I registered a faint click from the final man. I turned back towards him, taking in his lazy smile, and the glint of light reflecting from the barrel of the pistol in his hand, the circular opening of the weapon pointing at my face. I froze, and straightened up, letting my hands fall to my sides unthreateningly.

"You don't want to do this, buddy," I told him, keeping my voice even and quiet. "It'll make a mess, and cause you more trouble than it's worth. Besides, your friends are gonna be fine. A little beat up, but they'll get over it." As I spoke, I could feel the anger draining out of me, replaced with a cold determination. I glanced about quickly, taking in my surroundings, looking for my best defense.

"You're nothing but criminal filth," he spat at me, his features twisting in a sneer. "If I put you down right here, no one will care. Hell, I'll probably get a commendation."

"Listen, man. I have clones backed up. And I'll come back for you, I will hunt you down." I kept my voice quiet, but felt the steel of the certainty of my survival creep into my tone. Then I realized that behind me, Coffee had grown suddenly and completely quiet. I began to spin just as I heard the cadet let out a shout, then there was a flash of light and a booming thunderclap, and I witnessed from the corner of my eye the young man's left leg explode in a welter of blood, just above his knee. As he began to fall, I completed my turn, to see Coffee now standing straight, a huge silver revolver in his grip. Smoke curled up from the cylinder and barrel, twisting towards the ceiling. His face had lost its customary smirk, and was set in a deadly flat expression. He raised the gun, and began to sight down towards his victim, now writhing on the ground and clutching his grievously wounded limb.

"Dammit!" I shouted, and took a quick step, slapping Coffee's gun down with the palm of my hand, just as it fired again. I felt the searing gasses escape from the chamber across my hand, but the round smacked into the floor, instead of the kid's head, where it had been aimed. "Void, Coffee, what the fuck are you thinking? This is not the appropriate time to be killing a bunch of stupid kids."

He slowly turned his head to look at me, the smug smile back, and the madness twinkling in his eyes. "He pulled a piece on ya, Rax. No one pulls a fuckin' piece and doesn't expect to get shot. He had it comin'." His voice was measured, completely calm. I rubbed my burned hand, then reached out with the other and grabbed his shoulder, sweeping my gaze quickly over my former assailants. The leader was passed out on his side on the floor, completely out cold. The fat one was sitting against the bar, his broken glasses dangling from one ear, clutching his smashed nose and quietly sobbing. The last one was squirming on the ground, a pool of blood spreading from his shattered leg, as he moaned quietly in pain. I tossed a few ISK onto the bar, telling the bartender to call for some help in a minute.

"Come on, man, let's get the fuck out of here before one of them comes to and calls friends." I led him out, as he chuckled quietly, flipping his hand-cannon open to replace the fired shells.


  1. Great stuff once again mate. I love it. Bar fighting RANSM and VETO style.


  2. Dude that's not RANSM its JAVA style.

  3. Coffee...such a badass. Loved it Raxi. Although, I'm a bit disappointed you did not disclose how big the sec-status hit was. ;)

  4. A small one. Technically, the other guys engaged first, making them agressed to Raxip, so he took none. Coffee would taken an aggression hit, but since they all survived, there's no ship kill penalty.

    Or something.