The First Drink

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The First Drink

Post  Jana Randir on Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:16 am

The muted roar of the wind tore at my helmet, as I crossed the cityscape at incredible speeds. I jockeyed Strawberry Bitch in traffic high above the ground. She was outrageously fast and I was reckless. She could do upwards of 600kph flat out and turn fast enough to churn your eyes into jelly, if you weren’t alert. Strawberry Bitch was an old rubbish S-Swoop that I’d picked up in a trade. I’d intended to sell her, but we fell in love. I invested a lot of blood and sweat to get her back up to spec. Riding her at the limit was always a good way to blow off steam.

It was the final week of school. Exams to pass, chemicals equations to formulate and cybernetic design specs had cluttered my days. My head was spinning from the whirlwind of legitimate work I'd had to do. Now, the hard part would begin.

I had to pay for it all.

School wasn't free in this galaxy for anybody but the upper classes, and even then my papa told me, there was a cost. I didn't know much about all of that, but I'd had the opportunity to see a bit of those elite backdoor dealings. Some of it chilled me to the bone. If I screwed up, it was only my neck on the line, not billions of sentients facing firing squads or forced relocation.

What I do to pay for school is a walk in the park, by comparison.

The dimly glowing display on my helmet visor chimed the hour. My contact wouldn't wait if I was late, and I was behind schedule. I gripped the thin frame of my speeder with my armor-clad thighs and slammed the throttle to the stops. I narrowly dodged a few slow moving barges, as I wound through traffic. The manic speed turned my swoop and I into a bright pink streak across the sky. Every moment narrowed the gap between the goal and myself. Adrenaline surged in my veins, quickening my reflexes. My breath was hot, and fogged my helmet visor a bit. My steed and I were on fire, and I loved every second of it.

A few days prior, I'd managed to score some off-market arms for next to nothing. I suspected that they were hot and that the local street lords would probably be looking for them. I'd have to sell them quickly and get them off-planet, or out of the city, at the very least.

Most of my normal haunts were out of the question. The arms would hang around my neck like an albatross. I could think of half a dozen sentients that would love to have their revenge upon me, given the chance. They’d squeal for next to nothing, and I would be dead or in some condition far more unpleasant. Besides, I had gotten my degree, and it was time to move on anyway.

After a few whispers in dark corners and in places no nice girl was wont to go, I heard rumor of a place where I could find anonymous folks to do dirty deeds, dirt-cheap. I'd even managed to wrangle a decent blaster and vibro-knife in the process. I never have really been much for weapons, but I'd been in a few scrapes where I wish I'd had them.

A red indicator strobed softly on my helmet visor. I read the data it provided, and plotted a radical descent. I dialed back the throttle, leaned far forward and urged the swoop into a steep power dive, away from the stream of air speeders and barges. I leveled off just above the streets and merged with the ground traffic. My destination was near, and my time was close. As I negotiated the darkened avenues, I noted that I was in a seedier neighborhood than I was used to. The place was near a starport, so I could be sure to find watchful government types, as well as the sort of element I sought. I’d have to be careful.

I brought my swoop to light upon an area designated for the business, and cut the engines. I whipped the battered, pink helmet off of my head, and stowed it. I locked down the bike and swung my legs to the ground. I did a quick check of my cargo pocket, noting that it still had weight and was fastened. My blaster was right where it was supposed to be, secure across my chest. I checked my hip for my blade sheath, and made sure my harness was straight. I quickly fluffed my kinky hair to rid it of helmet head, and made my way through the foot traffic.

My hard soled boots sounded tersely upon the plasticrete of the walk space. There was an enterprising togrutan orphan selling homespun trinkets on a corner. His horns were small and far underdeveloped for what I guessed his age to be. I could tell that his shabbiness was a ruse, but I took pity on him anyway. I made a mental note to buy something on my way out. A derelict pau’an woman with glazed eyes and broken decaying teeth, meditated upon the stoop of a large building. Alcohol and uncleanliness stained her heavy worship robes. A stocky dockworker leered at me through unkempt stubble and dust. I returned his gaze with fiery threat. He paled and vacated my path.

I noted that the holosign emitter for the business was ancient, and showed signs of carbon scoring from blaster fire. There was a broken image of a cheerily gyrating twi’lek, which looked odd and out of place amid the squalid surroundings. The letters spelling out then name shone legibly enough, although the image flickered and wavered.

I entered the place. The door creaked, as it swung to allow me to enter. The air was fetid, filled with fumes from burning plant matter and flesh. Mixed amid the smells was the stench of many sentients crammed together in one room. The place was dirty, boisterous and dangerous.

Surely, this was a place to do business.

A greying wookiee sat beside the entrance picking his teeth quietly. He seemed to keep a watchful eye over everyone. From his demeanor, I guessed it was he, who kept order in this place. It looked like he’d seen plenty of action in his day and although he appeared to be getting old; I didn’t think that anyone smart would want to test his mettle. I made note of a sign disallowing unreasonable actions, rifles, and lewd acts.

I assumed that the last rule only applied to patrons, because the dancers in this place were pretty gross, by my definition. Some of them danced on a raised platform in the middle of the place, and they were the raunchiest. The good dancers performed for individuals at their tables and collected their credits directly. The music to which they all danced, was canned and pumped through a sound system that was loud more than anything else. It provided a good source of white noise, to create a bit of aural privacy, which I liked. There was a light show that flashed in time with the music, adding color and excitement to the din.

The smell of burning flesh was coming from a grill that was serving the patrons’ orders. A squealing rodian was pushing out orders at breakneck speed. He looked like he was good at it, and ran a tight kitchen. The servers were far less attractive than the dancers, but they were efficient.

There was a long bar running the length of the place on the eastern wall. Manning it were a few no nonsense muun. Several private booths lined the western and rear wall of the place. A door marked “PRIVATE”, guarded by a surly looking human, was also on the back wall along with appropriately marked privies. Serving droids bussed tables and bore the brunt of the patrons’ abuses.

My contact was not here.

I checked my chronometer. I’d made it with ten minutes to spare. I hoped nothing was wrong. Maybe my contact was shrewder than I gave him credit for. Maybe he knew I was desperate to offload my merchandise, and was playing a card to unnerve me. Maybe finals were making me over think everything and he was just late. At any rate, I’d have to be patient and wait this out. Although the move definitely raised my hackles, I’d have to be patient and allow my prima donna contact make an entrance. I hated dealing with people as smart as me. It puts me at a disadvantage.

I walked over to the bar and ordered something non-alcoholic while I waited.


Last edited by Jana Randir on Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:21 pm; edited 13 times in total (Reason for editing : Clarity)
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Jana Randir
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