A curious eight-foot-tall spider reached out and felt Talia’s silver hair, as the Androsion sidled past her in the crowded market place. De’Zahna threw it a warm smile, not in the least offended. She was used to being an oddity wherever she went. No less wary of her surroundings, the warrior’s keen eyes scanned buildings, individuals, and all the activity going on around her, ever vigilant and ready for action, if necessary. As usual.
The establishment the Chellios picked was only a few yards away but it would take her several minutes to squeeze through the crowds. She groaned under her breath and wondered if the friendly aliens took into consideration how long it took for a human to cover the distance between the bar and the hanger bay. The silly goofballs, she thought, didn’t understand the concept of risk either or they would’ve thought about the many opportunities for an ambush along the way.
She stopped at a gon’tho cart just short of the bar’s entrance, and picked up a yellow melon. It made a perfect place to check for a tail and she silently thanked Cheikra for the blessing. The spicy melon’s skin felt rough in her hands and she made a convincing display of tapping it while looking for any sign of a shadow. A familiar tingling ran down her spine as she spotted the small, nondescript alien before buying a bag of her favorite food and then made a beeline for the door.
How interesting. Someone wanted to keep track of her movements and went to great lengths to be subtle about it. And they had plenty of money if a Verzio was handling the job because the little espionage specialists didn’t work cheap. The sad thing in all of it, she thought, was they wasted it because she’d made their tail in less then twenty minutes.
She stepped into the bar and immediately could see why the furballs had picked it. Quiet, unobtrusive, and lacking the seediness of the ones closer to the hanger bay, it was the perfect place to carry out a business deal. However, Talia doubted they were there to speak about trade given how adamant the Chellios were about meeting.
A Pair of Chellios, their black and white fur making them stick out like a sore thumb, sat in the corner where they could watch the door. Ok, that was strange because the friendly aliens never sat anywhere other the center of a room. What would disturb them enough to force the Valiant into a four-day course change and then meet in the dimly lit corner of a bar?
I don’t think I want to know.
The Androsion waved a pair of legs and it’s voice boomed off the walls. “Greetings! Take a seat anywhere.”
She nodded and then smiled. “Thank you, I will.”
One of the Chellios extended a paw. “Sit down…what’s the phrase you humanoids use? That’s right! ‘Take a load off.’”
Talia plopped into the seat. “I got your message.”
The Chellios on the left nodded. “We appreciate your coming, Talia. I’m Aran Karri, director of the station.” He jerked his head. “This is my brother Gosi.”
“We’ve been trying to reach your for three months.”
“I like it that way.”
“We have a problem. They say you can help.”
Talia crossed her arms. She truly hated when the furballs tried to draft her “Do they? I wish ‘they’ would stop.”
“It’s affecting our trade stations and we’re not equipped to deal with it.”
She furrowed her brow. “You specialize in trade, how can you not be equipped to handle what passes through them?”
“We do our best.” Aran said. “But this is beyond our specialties.”
“You don’t need four warriors to handle a trade problem.”
Gosi leaned forwards. “Talia, my brother’s too shy to say that we have a problem with slavers.”
She closed her eyes for a second before sighing. They asked her to detour four days for that? “Slavers have been around in the past and always will be. I couldn’t stop them with the entire Gahl battle fleet at my disposal.” Talia stood up. “I’m afraid I’ve got to be at Melkor Two. It was nice meeting you.” She started to walk away.
“It’s humans, Talia.”
She stopped and then turned around. “Now you’ve got my attention.” Talia said as she sat down.