Monthly Archives: December 2014

1-6. Entendre

“You have got to be kidding me,” Laurie said. Her pistol cleared its holster, discharging into the hooded figure’s escorts. “Let’s go, boys.” She charged straight ahead, leaping over the body of Voss to plant her shoulder in the chest of the hooded figure. He fell to the ground, and she ran down the hall, Chip and Scorch close behind her.

They descended the front stairs, plunging into the crowd, making their way to the front door.

“Hey!” The bartender yelled at them. “Hey!”

“Sorry, can’t stay to chat,” Laurie tossed over her shoulder. She pushed the door open, stopping to hold it open for Chip and Scorch, looking back to the bar. “The guy who killed your boss is about to come down behind us.”

The bartender yelled something in reply, but Laurie was out the door without hearing.

“What now, Cap?” asked Chip.

“Back to the Venturess. Let’s get off this rock and regroup.”

“You know,” Chip said as they reached the landing platform. “I’m sensing a pattern with this job.”

“How’s that?” Laurie panted.

“Everywhere we go, everyone is dead.”

“Or someone is waiting for us.” She stood erect as the tall, stick-like figure of Knoff’s assassin emerged from behind one of the light poles. “I thought I might be seeing you again.”

His voice carried across the platform, low and even and clear, the kind of voice that sounded like stone and made blood run cold. “You have failed your mission.” He strode slowly, with purpose towards them.

“Did I? Wasn’t the whole point to get Yoss killed? Well, he’s dead, or hadn’t you heard?” The assassin stopped for a moment. “Or did you kill him? And you just needed someone to pin it on?” Her voice was strong, unwilling to be bullied or played by the crime lord.

“You forget your place, little girl,” he said, advancing again.

“Do I? And what place is that? Dead?”

He stepped forward, now just several feet away from her, when another voice stopped him. “Hold it.”

Laurie turned her head to see the bartender at the edge of the platform. He edged his way onto the platform, keeping his pistol trained on the assassin. “You didn’t give me a chance to talk to you, Captain. That person you were after is a government agent. You might think of Yoss as a gangster, but that was only to gather offworld funds so we could fight the Fuesillian government.”

“So what’s in the case?”

The assassin drew a pistol, gleaming silver, with a long, thin barrel. “Shut up, you,” he said to the bartender. “Or she dies.”

“You are all going to die if you don’t surrender this instant,” said a new voice. Laurie swore under her breath as the hooded figure stepped onto the platform. He trained his weapon the bartender. “You are a traitor, so you might as well die anyway.”

“Hey!” Laurie shouted, and everyone looked at her. “This is all about this case, right?” She held it up. “Well, go get it!” With a heave, she threw it as hard and as far as she could, off the platform, sending it plummeting down into the abyss of streets and buildings. She drew her pistols, aiming for the assassin, while Chip trained his rifle of the hooded Fuesillian.

“We are leaving,” she continued. “You can sort this out however you want, but do it without us.”

“That’s not possible,” the Fuesillian said. “You’ve participated in a scheme to over throw this government and must be brought to justice.”

Laurie shook her head. “No. We’re leaving. Now.”

[Voting is closed! Check back on 01.09.15 for the next chapter!]

1-5. Cloaks and Daggers

She took off down the hall without a word, shoving past patrons. The hall was empty when she reached it.

“Where’d he go?” Chip asked. There were only two doors, one leading to the kitchen, the other outside.

“Look in the kitchen. I’ll check outside.”

She jogged to the end of the hall and burst through the doors, almost colliding with Scorch.

“What are you doing here?”

“I saw you following that being. This seemed the most likely way for him to go.”

“Did you see him?”

“No one has come out besides you.”

A light rain had begun to fall, and she turned slowly in a circle, wondering where her object had disappeared to. She swore and turned back to the door. Chip was within.

“Find anything?

“Nada, cap. They weren’t too happy with me popping in, either.”

“We’re about to be implicated the murder of a mob boss. I’m not to concerned with the happiness of their kitchen staff.”

“Captain?” Scorch spoke up from behind her. She looked up at his large metal frame.

“Yeah, Scorch?”

“I’ve been scanning the hall. There appears to be a hidden doorway just ahead.”

She went to the portion of wall Scorch indicated. There were no marks anywhere on it, the ancient stone was smooth. She felt along it, but found no purchase.

“How do you open it?”

She watched Scorch trace his crescent-shaped eye over the wall. “There is a heat signature on the opposite wall. Try pushing there.”

She placed her hand on the spot he was pointing to, and a thin silver line appeared, tracing a door in the white rock. It pushed back of its own accord and slid aside. They stepped through with weapons drawn. The door slid closed behind them, and Scorch lit a light mounted on his head to ward of the dark. Ahead of them, steps ascended.

“Bet I know where those go,” Chip remarked in a whisper.

Laurie didn’t reply, just nodded her head and started up the stairs.

As expected, the emerged in the rear of Yoss’ office. The bodies still littered the floor, only now several figures stood in the center of the room, including the hooded figure they were pursuing.

It was short and hunched, with thin slits for eyes glowing from beneath the hood. “Thank you for coming, captain. You have something I would like.”

“I’m sorry, you are who, exactly?”

“I am the rightful owner of that which you possess. I would like it back.”

“You mean Scorch? Had him for years. I guess I could sell him for the right price.”

“I am not referring to your automaton friend. Where is the case you were told to deliver here? Give it to me and your lives will be spared.”

“Was that the same deal you offered Yoss? Because it doesn’t look like that’s an offer I should accept.”

The cloaked figured chuckled, a low sound which rattled the bones. “Yoss has many sins to account for, stealing my property being the least of them. I will only ask once more, hand the case over.” Behind him, his much larger companions rattled weapons intimidatingly.

[Voting is closed! Check back on 12.26.14 for Chapter 6!]

1-4. Yoss’ Place

Another blast screeched over Laurie’s head. “But they don’t really seem inclined to talk, do they?”

They do not, captain,” Scorch replied unnecessarily.

If you can do anything about that…” Laurie crouched down beneath the desk, waiting for Scorch to take a shot. Another blast buried itself in the desk, and as soon as it did a salvo from Scorch’s wrist blasters silenced the shooter.

She stood cautiously, pistols aimed at the dark corner the shots had originated from. Chip crept over to the prone figure laying it the shadows.

Uh, Cap, you should see this,” he said in a morose tone.

Laurie walked over to him. “Aw, hell.” She looked at the body, lights from below bathing it in shifting colors. “She’s just a kid.” The body was a young Fuesellian, with the dotted yellow skin and fleshy horns on her head.

Kind of young to be mixing with this crowd, don’t you think?” Chip said, resting his rifle on his shoulder.

How old were you when you fell in with a bad crowd, dock rat?” Laurie didn’t look away from the small body.

I didn’t have any parents, so, uh… I see your point.”

Captain, perhaps it is time for us to leave.” Scorch spoke from behind the two humans. “No doubt we will be discovered here any moment.”

Laurie nodded and went back into the hallway. “Let’s see what we can find out below. Split up and mingle. Maybe whoever did this is still here.”

They went downstairs, returning to pulsing lights and loud music. Scorch skirted the crowd, working his way to the doorway. Chip walked towards the crowded tables, populated with a wide variety of life forms, while Laurie returned to the bar.

Her eyes swept the crowd for anything or anyone unusual, but nothing stood out to her. She leaned against the bar, elbows resting on the cool stone.

Talk to the boss?” the bartender asked.

She shook her head without turning. “Door was shut. Knocked on it, but no answer.”

Ah, he’s had people in and out all day. Waiting on some big package.”

She supposed that would be that case she carried, which made it increasingly likely it was why Yoss was murdered. She turned to the bartender, a hairy Fuesillian. “Got anything back there from Earth?”

I have just the thing.” He shook a finger for emphasis. “Just came in last week.” He set a glass out and filled it with honey-golden liquid. “Not too many humans come through this way. Enjoy.”
She smiled and lifted the glass. “Thank you.” She sipped it, glancing around as she did. “Know who was bringing the package in for Yoss?”

The bartender shrugged. “He never tells me that kind of stuff. Only tells me if he wants someone kept out.”

So you don’t know who’s up there at the moment?”

She supposed that could be the case, but she also knew for the crime boss’ who operated over such establishments, the being at the bar was their eyes and ears. She doubted his ignorance, but her next question was interrupted as Chip ran up.

Cap, look.” She followed his eyes down the bar, to a small hall where a hooded figure hastily ducked out of sight. “Got up and started moving as soon as I came near him.”

Laurie inhaled sharply, glancing back to the bartender, who had beat a hasty retreat to the other end of the bar, and was reaching for something under the counter.

Cap?” Said Chip insistently, already beginning to move toward the back hall.

[Voting is closed! Check back on 12.12.14 for the next chapter!]