In this log from old-school OtherSpace, the mercenary Falkenberg meets with Slicer (played by Colchek) and Abernathy (played by yours truly). With a cameo by Mern! Gives you a sense of what life could be like on the criminal underworld planet of Tomin Kora.
The Motherlode – Freewheeling
Shadows cloak much of this tavern’s interior, perhaps by design. Through the stinging cig smoke, you can make out the vague shapes – if not the specific features – of sentient beings of most every stripe from humanoid to reptiloid to insectoid, huddled around tables or hunched over the bar counter. Some sit alone, contemplating the darkness. Others talk business in urgent and occasionally panicked tones. The voices are muted beneath the wail of the jukebox.
Falkenberg is seated at the bar, sipping a drink.
Slicer is also seated at the bar nearby, enjoying a whiskey as he occassionaly glances towards the holoviewer.
Not seated at the bar, but likely to be in the near future, Mern steps in, stepping out of the way of some hulking bruiser as he makes for the jukebox, wrinkling his nose at whatever is currently playing.
Abernathy strides into the bar with his usual pair of guards and a hover orb. He makes his way to the counter, standing between Slicer and Falkenberg. He taps his fingers on the bar, but the human behind the counter doesn’t immediately respond. He taps again. The bartender seems obsessed with getting a speck off the glass he’s cleaning. “We really need a better bartender,” the majordomo growls. “Newbies.”
“Well, the last one met a rather unfortunate end,” Falkenberg says, gesturing to the stain on the floor behind the bar. “I think they still haven’t scraped up all the brain fragments.”
“There’ll likely be more at this rate.” Slicer comments, looking to the bartender as he takes a sip of his whiskey.
Selecting something more human-sounding from the machine’s repetoire, Mern turns to make his way towards the bar. He offers Falkenberg a seemingly grudging nod of greeting once he spots the pirate and stays well out of arms reach of Abernathy’s mooks.
The bartender finally notices the majordomo, quickly sets aside the glass, and asks, “What can I get for you, sir?” Abernathy frowns and replies, “Whiskey.” The orb bobs along behind Mern, sweeping him with a scan beam. While the bartender fixes his drink, the majordomo turns toward Falkenberg and says, “Speaking of our dead bartender, you let those two idiots get offworld alive?”
Falkenberg sips his drink, a faint smile forming on his face. “Yes,” he says. “I thought they’d be more useful that way. Their visit was very….educational.”
Slicer turns to listen to the conversation a bit as he sips his drink once again.
A hand strays to a dagger as Mern sees the orb scanning him, but his eyes slide over to the crime org lieutenant and his goons and decides to let the little device be for now. He orders something clear in a glass instead.
“How so?” the majordomo inquires. The bartender arrives with his whiskey. Abernathy picks up the glass, but he doesn’t drink. Instead, he lets his gaze drift around the tavern. Old habits, keeping an eye on his surroundings. The orb moves on to the next table, leaving Mern to his business for now.
Falkenberg sets his glass down and turns toward the majordomo. “If Lonnie had been turned by Vanguard intelligence, they’d have chalked it up to bad luck and covered up any connection to him the moment he was killed,” Falkenberg says. “Remember, I was IN the Vanguard once, before they decided they’d be better off without me. I know how they operate. One thing I know they would NOT do is send two idiots in full uniform with no backup to a hostile planet to try and find who killed their covert asset and take revenge. I think those two idiots were working Lonnie on their own.”
Slicer continues to listen.
Happy to have done away with his observer, Mern turns half his attention towards the nearby conversation and the other half towards what’s going on around him as he nurses his drink.
“Our boys were freelancing?” Abernathy’s brow furrows. “Really? To what end? They had to know that waltzing in here without any kind of backup would be suicide, especially if they started, oh, I dunno, blowing the heads off my goddamned bartenders.”
Falkenberg nods. “Well, if they weren’t morons they’d know that. They seemed to be of the opinion that being Vanguard would protect them. They actually told people they were on Vanguard business and to stay out of it. I don’t think they really understood the danger they were in,” he says. “I think they probably came across Lonnie on one of his many gambling sprees, probably on someplace like Antimone. He got in trouble, and mouthed off like he always did when he was drunk, and they saw an opportunity. They squeezed him, and he broke, and then they figured they owned him. He handed over good intel, which they used to impress their superiors. Then, Lonnie turned up dead, and their information pipeline dried up. They were mad, and came here to…express their frustration.”
“Vanguard walking in here acting like they own the place is a death wish. They had to have been morons if they thought they could get away with it.” Slicer comments, taking another sip of his drink.
Mern doesn’t comment, he just half pays attention, rolling what’s left in his drink in his glass as he watches a couple of Grimlahdi making out. A disgusted grimace is plastered across his face.
Abernathy takes a sip of his whiskey, then sets down the glass and asks, “So, tell me, what do we gain by letting them live? Do you expect them to come back again?”
“They know who I am now,” Falkenberg says. “And they made clear they want revenge. I expect they’ll come after me again, especially if I can make myself available somewhere less intimidating.” He picks up his glass and takes a sip. “One of them said something along the lines of, “what goes around, comes around.” I think we should prove this correct.” He sets his glass down. “With your permission, I’d like to do to them what they did to Lonnie.”
Slicer finishes his drink and slides it aside. “Something tells me you might be in need of my services in the near future.” he says with a sly grin as he turns to fully listen in on the conversation.
The young thief nearby tears his eyes from the horrendous sight nearby and looks over at Falkenberg, smirking a bit at his suggestion.
Abernathy shrugs. “Give it a shot. Maybe they can be useful.” He shoves the glass toward the bartender and says, “This is stout, not whiskey. The next time you give me whiskey with foam on top, I’m going to leave you bleeding in a dark alley full of hungry rats.” He nods to Slicer, then peers at Falkenberg. “You’re clever. Try not to be too clever. Lord Fagin likes smart people that he can use. He’s not so keen on smart people that might grab for power. Play your cards right, though, and you’ve got a real future on Tomin Kora. Can’t say that about many of these mouth-breathers.”
Falkenberg smiles and nods. “Thank you, sir. I’ll take care of it and report back to you.” He turns to Slicer and nods. “And yeah, I can probably use your help. Really, we only need to turn ONE of the idiots. The other can be used as an…object lesson. And your, ah, persuasive talents might prove useful.”
Slicer grins with sheer, evil pleasure. “You’ve just warmed my stone cold heart.” he says with a bit of a sly grin. “Just say the word.”
Still grinning faintly, Mern sips at his drink again, now allowing more of his attention to wander towards the conversing trio.
“Keep me apprised,” the majordomo replies. He then turns and strides toward the exit, followed by the bobbing hover orb. Abernathy’s guards follow close on his heels.
Falkenberg smirks, thumps both hands on the bar and says, “Bartender, a round for the house, on me.”
Slicer slides over his whiskey glass. “Your generosity is appreciated.” he says with a grin. “Bartender, more whiskey. Neat.”
Oh, Mern’s definitely getting in on that and he drains the last of his drink in a fell swoop before nodding to the bartender and tapping the glass.