The Laqueum IV, Part 1


The dented metal door caught in the wind and slammed shut behind Flynn as he stepped inside the run-down bar. Pressed sweat and stale beer strangled all oxygen out of the air. The place was crowded with bodies and the occasional bulbs overhead did little to lift the shadows. A vidscreen dominated the longest wall, endlessly looping the usual corporate propaganda down to the men sat drinking. Shouting escalated from a corner. A chair slid across the floor followed by the sound of smashing glass. Flynn smiled, it felt good to be off the ship and among humanity again. He scanned the room for his contact. Spotting him alone in a booth at the far end of the bar he made his way over, weaving through the din of indistinct voices.

‘Gorval,’ Flynn nodded a greeting.

‘Flynn, nice to see a proper villain for a change,’ Gorval grinned, flashing stained teeth. ‘Sit yourself down,’ he gestured to the chair opposite. Flynn turned the chair and sat astride it, putting the back rest between himself and the man across the table.

‘Ever wary,’ Gorval said noting the movement. ‘So how’s the mercenary trade treating you these days?’

‘Lets skip the pleasantries and get straight to business.’

‘Still holding Erghast VII against me, eh? I don’t know how many times I told you, I had no idea those gravity fusers were faulty. The guy who sold…’

‘Gorval,’ Flynn interrupted, ‘it was a long haul across the system to get here. You called me about a job, right? So lets get on with it.’

‘Right right,’ Gorval said, stubbing out his cigarette vigorously. He slid a paper folder across the table towards Flynn. ‘So there’s this research and development group. Corporation funded. Word is they’ve come up with something a bit special. Could be valuable to the right people.’

Flynn opened the folder and skimmed the documents. The information was sparse. ‘How valuable are we talking?’

Gorval laughed, ‘Still the same old Flynn. I’ve got a buyer lined up already, willing to pay a hundred thousand standard credits for a prototype. I get my standard cut on delivery, of course. These guys must hate the Corporation more than you to pay so much. ‘

‘A prototype of what?’

‘Not sure exactly. Word is it’s a ship mounted weapon so you might have to pinch an entire ship to get your hands on one. They’re based in an isolated facility on some barren moon not far from here. Grade five security of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking to you now would I?’

‘A ship based weapon. That’s very vague. You know I don’t like working with vague.’

‘Hey, weren’t you listening? That place is funded from up on high and hidden in the middle of nowhere – it’s amazing I got wind of this at all,’ he angrily flicked the folder in Flynn’s hand.

‘I wasn’t insulting you, Gorval. Calm down. Have another cigarette,’ Flynn gestured to the packet on the table. The Corporation’s blue diamond logo adorned the front of it. Their reach was starting to spread even this far along the spiral arm.

‘Look, this is a limited time offer, so if you’re up for this lets get a couple of drinks and I’ll give you the run down, right? If not, I’ve got plenty of other people who would jump at the opportunity for so much cash.’

Flynn glanced out of the scratched window, watching the storm relentlessly hammer the dark, jagged landscape. Grade five security was no joke, but the market for his team’s particular skill set was pretty dry at the moment. Inouye and Quinn would be annoyed if he turned down such a high pay job. He didn’t like it, but he didn’t see much of a choice.

Flynn turned back to Gorval, ‘Okay, I’ll take the job.’

‘Right, I’ll get us a couple of mugs of watered-down piss and lets get down to brass tacks, shall we?’ Gorval rapped his knuckles on the table then stood and wandered off in search of the bartender.

(Continued in part 2 here).

© 2015, Gavin Zanker.

Photo by Tom Francis licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

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