Rain slapped Talia in the face, causing her to sigh in resignation, as she exited the spaceport. A wide concrete plaza stretched away from the building to the street where a row of taxis were parked, waiting for fares. Thank Cheikra Reyes gave her a nearly unlimited credit chit! If she’d ended up walking all the way to the bar, Talia might’ve gone crazy.
She watched the people rushing past as she sauntered across the open area. Halfway to the taxis, Talia stopped and pretended to be looking through her pockets for something. Good, no tails.
I can’t believe someone put an eight million credit bounty on each of our heads. And for what? Almir and friends’ efforts to try to prevent Anna Jameson’s assassination? I swear I’ll never understand humans.
It really didn’t matter because she felt sorry for anyone who tried to collect it. That bounty hunter would end up biting off more than she could chew and would be lucky if she left with her life. While Almir had been dangerous, she was nothing compared to her and her twenty thousand years of combat experience.
The driver looked up as she slipped into the back seat. “Where to, young lady?”
She ran a hand through her soaked hair. “The Millennium Club, please,”
“Kid, you don’t want to go there, it’s nothing but a bunch of cutthroat smugglers and drug dealers.”
Too bad, Reyes’ contact’s there.
“I know,” she said pleasantly, “My brother is a ‘cutthroat’ smuggler and I’m visiting him for a couple weeks,”
The man turned red. “I’m sorry, Ma’am,”
Talia raised an eyebrow at how easily humans were embarrassed. It was one of their better traits.
“Why didn’t you take it up, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Talia’s smiled like a shark after a meal. “I never said I didn’t, did I?”
“Kid, you’ve got brass balls, you know that? Hell, the ride’s on me. Anyone who can look so sweet and innocent and yet smuggle? You’re good, girl, you’re good.”
I wonder what I’d get if I told a bigger lie?
She looked out the window and frowned as the car bounced over the roughest streets she’d ever ridden on. On both sides of the road, the poorly maintained houses and businesses were more then she could count. How could anyone let a planet turn into this?? Now she could see why Selkirk was the butt of many jokes, much like New Jersey had for the United States.
A towering building of glass and steel came into view and she raised an eyebrow. The rain ran down the ten story building and the entire facility glittered like a diamond. Something caught her eye and she looked closer at the sign as they drove past. Were those bronze doors? What the hell? Who had that kind of money?
I should’ve known. A government building. How disgusting! No wonder people hate their leadership here!
The grimy interior left a lot to be desired. In fact, it downright disgusted her. Cleaning damaged ion drives weren’t this dirty! I recognize the coffee, but this other one…is that stains from sex?? Gross!
She noted the row of bars and clubs lining both sides of the street. Why was it where ever she went that the smugglers and syndicates always managed to create a neighborhood or station section for themselves? Time to watch her back.
Talia reached for the door handle when a whistle made her stop.
The driver had a pistol pointed at her.
“While I said the ride was on me,” he said, “It didn’t mean I wouldn’t take everything you’ve got.”
How sad, pathetic really, that he’d try this stunt. I really don’t want to hurt him.
Talia looked at the pistol, and then snorted. “Why don’t you put that thing away before you get hurt,”
“Honey, I’ve got the gun,”
“Sweetheart, you don’t know who you’re fucking with,”
“You might be a big shot smuggler, but that don’t mean jack shit here.”
She lashed out, the action faster than the driver could see and comprehend, and then grabbed the man’s wrist. Bones snapping sounded like loud rifle shots in the taxi’s confined space and the wannabe robber screamed. The pistol fell from his hand and she caught it on mid-air before setting it down on the seat beside her.
Talia clicked her tongue as if admonishing a child. “Now,” she said softly, “didn’t I tell you to put that away before you got hurt?”
“This…unpleasantness…could’ve been avoided if you listened. What is it with you humans? Are you fucking stupid?”
The driver continued to wail.
Talia released his wrist. “Now, I suggest getting some medical treatment for that, and oh, by the way, I don’t think you want to tell them a woman broke it. You’ll lose face amongst your friends.”
“Yes! I will! Just go!”
Talia opened the door and stepped out before leaning back in. “I could’ve killed you, and for what? My credit chit? If you’d told me the truth, about needing to feed your wife and child,” she pointed at a picture of a woman and child taped to the dash. “I would’ve stopped at a machine and given you enough to help you out.”
The man looked at her, his eyes red from crying and compassion started to build inside her. He really didn’t deserve any because there was no honor in being a petty thief. However, Talia reminded herself, even the best person would resort to crime if they had a family to feed and no other way to find the money.
Besides, if I kill him then I’m depriving a wife of a husband and a child her dad.
She stepped out of the car and then moved around to the front door. The driver cowered back as she reached into her pocket for her credit chit. Good, hopefully he’d think twice before robbing his next fare.
He watched, sobbing softly, as she pushed a couple buttons on the meter and then swiped her card.
“I’m feeling compassionate today, which for me is a rarity. I’m a much better killer then someone who’s kind. If you check your meter, you’ll find there’s enough money to feed your family for a month and get your wrist fixed.”
He stared at her, mouth agape, while holding his broken wrist.
“Now I want you to learn from this. Stop being a petty thief. It’ll cost you everything.”
She shut the door and then backed away from the vehicle. It would be a short walk to reach the club, and maybe things would be quiet. However, there always was moron in the bunch.
I hope the others are having a better go of things.