OtherSpace: Tomin Kora – Log 1: Brother, Can You Spare a Demmie?

This one-off scene re-establishes Tomin Kora as the dangerous criminal underworld HQ of Lord Fagin the Pirate King:

The door of The Motherlode Tavern whooshes open and a tall but scrawny-looking Demarian with orange and white fur lopes in. He waits for the door to close and then peers out through one of the triangular windows offering a view of the violet-bathed street outside under the Freewheeling dome on Tomin Kora. Fetchfire Starbound closes his eyes as he leans against the tavern wall and tries to catch his breath.

One of the bar’s regulars looks up from a booth in the corner, his expression mainly hidden behind the mirrored sunglasses he wears. Lifting up the black fedora atop his blond mop a bit higher, he observes the newly arrived, and obviously stressed, Demarian. Needless to say, Slicer’s interest is piqued. Leaning back in his booth, he watches.

Slicer’s commlink gives an urgent buzz. The bartender – a Timonae female tonight – fixes a drink for a Zangali patron as her gaze drifts on occasion toward the frightened Demarian. “If you’re drinking, find a seat,” she grumbles. “This isn’t a hovercab waiting area.”

Slicer looks down to his commlink, and activates it so it connects to his earbud. “Speak.” he says simply.

The gruff voice of Abernathy, right-hand man to Lord Fagin the Pirate King, speaks into Slicer’s ear. “Be on the lookout for a Demarian. Goes by the name of Fetchfire. Your employer wants a word with him. If he won’t come willingly, Lord Fagin is willing to try a seance.”

Slicer gives a rather sinister grin. “Funny you should mention that…. he just walked in. Package retrieval in progress.” he says quietly, and casually gets up, and begins to casually make his way towards the door, and given his proximity to it, the Demarian.

“Leaving already?” the bartender inquires as Slicer makes his way toward the exit. That draws the attention of Fetchfire, who turns to see the man approaching. His amber eyes narrow. His left hand disappears into the pocket of his gray overcoat.

Slicer doesn’t waste time. Using a nearby chair for leverage, he springs towards the Demarian, and with the speed of practiced swordsman, draws a longsword that stops just short of slicing into the Demarian’s neck. “Not so fast, my furry friend.” he says.

Fetchfire seems to consider his options – the tip of the sword at his throat against the slim hope of whatever he grasps in the trenchcoat pocket. Ultimately, it appears that he doesn’t like his chances. He withdraws the empty hand from his pocket and raises his arms toward the ceiling. “Not to kill,” he pleads. “Meant no harm.”

Slicer carefully reaches into the pocket to retrieve what Fetchfire was going for, meanwhile keeping a firm grip on his sword. “What you meant I care little for. My employer wants a word with you, and we can either do it with you alive and intact, or I can just cut your head off and maybe the medics can scan your brain for what he wants. How we proceed from here is entirely up to you.” he says, his expression changing little now that he is in business mode. The mirrored sunglasses make him look almost soulless as he stares at the Demarian.

In the pocket, Slicer finds a slugthrower that contains a couple of bullets, but the barrel is loose and the trigger wobbles. It might fire or it might explode in your hand. “Look,” Fetchfire says with a shrug. “Just want to make money. Need fresh start. Heard Tomin Kora good for that.”

Slicer looks at the weapon, and permits a bit of a smirk. “Braver than you look carrying this around.” he says, but the sword does not waver. “First a word with my employer. If he wants to talk to you, you talk to him, or you go to the morgue. It’s as simple as that. Welcome to Tomin Kora.” he says with a thin smile.

A hovercar whirs to a stop outside the Motherlode. The driver, clad in a uniform of silver-striped navy blue, walks around to open the rear door for his passenger. From the vehicle emerges a middle-aged human male, about five-foot-ten, with close-cropped white hair and a trim beard framing his chin and jaw. He nods to the driver, who then pulls a pistol from the holster under his jacket and follows the passenger toward the entrance of the pub. The tavern door opens to admit Majordomo Abernathy, who finds Slicer standing with a blade angled toward the wayward Demarian. “Efficient as ever,” the majorodomo says with a smirk.

Slicer nods to the approaching Majordomo. “One Demarian, as requested.” he says with a nod, but the blade still remains steadfastly pressed to the Demarian’s neck.

“Want no more trouble,” Fetchfire insists. Abernathy’s driver walks into the pub, weapon in hand, so the majordomo tells Slicer: “Relax. But don’t wander off. Might still have need of your services.” He nods toward an empty booth and tells the Demarian to sit.

Slicer nods, and the sword is slowly withdrawn, but it is not placed back in its scabbard. Rather he holds it across his chest with crossed arms, the blade ready to go back into action in a moment’s notice.

Somewhat relieved by the withdrawal of the sword, Fetchfire ducks his snout and moves cautiously toward the indicated booth ahead of Abernathy. The armed driver waits by the door, gun ready. The majordomo slides into the booth, blocking one path of possible escape. He then looks toward Slicer and gestures at the space across from him. “Join us.” He looks at Fetchfire and proffers a warm smile. “And allow our friend here to explain what landed him on the wrong side of our benefactor.”

Slicer grins and slides into the booth, now effectively blocking the other route of escape. “Not a good place to be.”

The Demarian sits with slumped shoulders, looking from Abernathy to Slicer. “Just came to make credits.” His gaze then drifts to his clawed hands on the table. “Did not know that was bad.”

“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with earning a profit on Tomin Kora,” the majordomo assures Fetchfire. “The problem, you see, is failing to pay proper tribute to Lord Fagin. You cannot come to Tomin Kora, strike up a little private business, and then deny the Pirate King his due reward.”

Slicer nods. “If you want to play, you have to pay. It’s just that simple.” he says. “You’ve already had a taste of what can happen.”

“Understand,” Fetchfire says. He looks at Abernathy. “Proper channels. Will follow now.”

The majordomo inclines his head, brow knitting. “Good to hear. I wouldn’t want to ruin the upholstery of this booth again.” He regards the frightened Demarian with something approaching a kindly smile. “Provide your basic information to your new friend Slicer here. Secure lodging in one of our approved properties. Someone will contact you about next steps.”

“You won’t be hard to find, if the need arises.” Slicer says. “Best to stay on the path to redemption. We’ll be in touch.”

Abernathy stands beside the booth. He turns to walk toward the door, but stops and turns back to regard the Demarian. “Redemption is hard to come by on the streets of Freewheeling. Lord Fagin doesn’t settle for letting someone off with a simple warning. Now that you see things more clearly, I think you can spare an eye.” Abernathy nods to Slicer. “Left or right…your choice.”

Slicer stands up, and his sword is brought to bear once again, aiming towards the Demarian’s eyes. “I suggest you do not move…” he says as the blade wavers between eyes… until it is suddenly thrust forward into the Demarian’s left eye socket. “Consider this your true warning.”

Fetchfire gasps in shock when the tip fouls his left eye. Blood spurts from the socket. His hands instinctively fly up to knock the blade aside and cover the wound. He barks a sob and topples over sideways in the booth, curling into a fetal position. The majordomo tells Slicer, “Get him to a medic. Then we’ll find out what use he can be.”

Slicer pulls out the sword, pulls out a handkerchief, and casually wipes the blood from the blade before storing the sword back into its scabbard. “Understood.” he says.

The Timonae bartender frowns as she watches the majordomo depart with his guard. Her jaw sets as she eyes the weeping, bleeding Demarian in the booth. “I’ll get a mop,” she concludes.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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