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The Back Room

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430th Year of
Emperor Valek Foger XXVI

 

Vaughn pulled out a wad of bills, and peeled off a hundred crench and handed it to her.  She stood up, took his hand and led him towards the back.  Inside the back room, dark red couches lined the walls.  Half the room was filled with Geraldinians, while Fresia danced in the center of them.

Amber took Vaughn to the other side of the room, pushed him down onto the couch, and started swaying her hips back in forth to the music.  “I don’t really like this song, so we won’t count this one,” she said softly, pulling her slinky dress up over her head.  Amber turned around, backed up a step, and started dancing, standing between his knees.  Vaughn looked around her at Fresia, waiting for her to give him some kind of signal.  She twirled her head around, smiling at him.  He’d seen her naked before; aboard, ship showers were limited.  Fogerians, with their non-existant sexuality, didn’t have any trouble showering next to someone of the opposite gender, and didn’t make any provisions for Human modesty.  Maybe it was the atmosphere, the thumping music, or the fact that a beautiful woman was grinding on his lap, but he’d never seen her in a sexual light before.  She was stunning.  Small, firm breasts jiggled perfectly as she danced.  She was obviously not as experienced as Amber, but she seemed to be perfectly comfortable being naked in a room full of men.

She winked at him, acknowledging his presence, and turned around.  Vaughn put his hands on Amber’s waist and steered her out from directly in front of him.  His grasp was insistent and firm.  She grabbed his hands and pulled them off of her, then shook her finger at him.  “No touching,” she said.

“Let’s just chat for a moment,” Vaughn replied, pulling her down to the sofa beside him.

“Uhh, okay.  Sure.  What line of work are you in?”  Her momentary confusion quickly masked by professional experience.  He’d very obviously been enjoying the dance, she’d felt proof of that when she sat on his lap.  Perhaps he was enjoying too much, thus the quickly moving her off of him.  Her experience in the job wouldn’t allow her to embarrass himself by getting overly excited.  She knew once that happened, he’d leave and she wouldn’t get another crench out of him.

Fresia swung a leg around quickly, lifting it high over the Geraldinians heads, spinning herself around until she was facing Vaughn.  She nodded to him and spun around again, this time kicking the first guy directly in the temple.  His head rocked to the side, causing him to hit the guy next to him, and Fresia pretended to stumble.  “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

The one she kicked was unconscious, leaning on his buddy.  Two of them started to get up.

Vaughn patted Amber’s leg.  “I’ll be right back.”

He lept off the couch and crossed the room in two steps.  The two Geraldinians had Fresia’s arms, and she frantically kicked one of them between the legs.  He dropped to his knees.  Vaughn, still with the element of surprise, stepped on the couch, jumped off and drove his fist into the base of the neck of the other one holding Fresia.

Now free, Fresia kicked wickedly at another one on the couch, then backed up.  She and Vaughn stood shoulder to shoulder facing five Geraldinians.

“I thought you’d never get here.  I had to dance for these bastards for thirty minutes!”

“I was right on time,” he replied.  The five men stepped forward, every one of them taller than Vaughn.  He looked up at the closest one, who happened to be the biggest, and tilted his head to the side.  “You’re a big fucker, aren’t you?”  Vaughn made a fist and drew his hand back in a feint.  The Geraldinian stepped into Vaughn to block the punch as he kicked forward and down with his foot, hitting the huge man directly in the knee.  Vaughn felt the joint give, and there was a sickening crunch.

Fresia didn’t waste any time, punching another hard in the gut.  She twisted her body, throwing her full weight into the punch.  The guy she kicked in the groin was standing back up.  Two others rushed Vaughn, who they took to be the bigger threat, and drove him to the ground.  Fresia took one step and kicked again, connecting with the head of the man she’d previously nut-shot, knocking him unconscious.

Vaughn, down on the ground, punched two times quickly with his left hand. When the ring connected with the Geraldinians, ten thousand volts surged through them, addling their brains and momentarily stunning them.  He followed up with two hard chops to the back of the head.

He and Fresia were almost backed up to Amber now, who was still sitting on the couch.  “Good.  Two left.  Look, fellas.  We don’t want to hurt you anymore. We just want some answers,” Vaughn said.

“How about we just kill you,” said one of the Geraldinians.  His voice sounded like he’d recently chewed up and swallowed a large mouthful of gravel.

Vaughn drove a quick left into his throat.  The ring shocked him, and he collapsed.

“Last chance,” said Fresia.  “How were you involved with Tomas Werts?”

“Is that what this is about?” the guy asked, holding his hands out in front of him.  “He was a runner.  Tried to sell us out to the ES.  Boss ordered a hit on him.  Jongus put him down.  Real clean-like, induced a heart attack.  Boss said the dude was old, no one would ask any questions.”

Fresia growled, “Where do we find Jongus?”

“He’s the first one you kicked.  Still on the couch.”

Vaughn stared the man down.  “Get out of here.  Tell your buddies the Alley Cat is off limits to your kind.  If I ever see you in here again, I’ll be back.  And I’ll have friends with me.”  At the very end, he lurched forward.  The Geraldinian turned so quickly he tripped over his buddy, scrambled along the floor and then ran out the door.

Amber stood up, walked to Fresia and kissed her on the mouth.  “I knew you weren’t a dancer.  But you’re welcome here any time.”

She turned to Vaughn to offer the same treatment.  At the last second, he turned slightly, and she kissed his cheek.  “And you.  You’re welcome to do whatever you want.  Damn, I love a man that can take care of himself.”

Fresia started to put her clothes on.

“Thanks, Amber.  I’m sure my wife would probably disapprove.”

“So bring her too.  I play well with others.”

Fresia looked up grinning. “Yeah, but he doesn’t.”

Vaughn grabbed Jongus, stood the unconscious man up and wrapped his arm around his shoulder.  “I’ll take him back to Halle.  You get this mess cleared up with the ES, and meet me there later.”

Vaughn dragged the Jongus out of the bar.  He slid a few crench to the bouncer.  “I don’t think you’ll have a problem going forward.  My friend here had a little too much moge.  You know how it goes straight to their heads.”

“Yeah, man…  No problem. I’ll get you a transport.”

The bouncer walked down to the curb while Vaughn propped Jongus up against the wall.  Vaughn could hear Empire Security sirens coming.  Finally, an open transport stopped.  Vaughn tossed the unconscious Geraldinian in the back-seat and climbed in beside him.  “To the docks, please.  My co-pilot’s had a little too much Moge.”

“Yes, sir.”  The transport pilot turned left at the end of the block, and they passed a line of empire security forces heading the other way.

Dockmaster Frailg saw Vaughn struggling to get the Geraldinian out of the transport and came rushing out of his office.  “You need a hand, Captain Troupe?”

“Nah, thanks.  He had a little too much moge.  That’ll teach me to hire a Geraldinian as a navigator.”

“I’ve heard that about his kind.  You sure you don’t need a hand?”

“Yeah, I signed a contract.  I’m stuck with this big oaf for the next three months at least.  If he’s going to make a habit of this, I’m going to have to be able to load him up myself.”

Vaughn struggled to get Jongus’ arm over his shoulders, and then started dragging him towards the ship.  When he got near, Halle lowered the cargo bay ramp, but it was too steep for Vaughn to get the Geraldinian up in that fashion.  He set the huge man down on his back and grabbed his wrists to drag him up backwards.

Jongus grabbed Vaughn’s wrists and heaved, tossing Vaughn down the ramp onto the dock.  He instantly regretted not searching the man.  The Geraldinian was on his feet in a flash, holding a small plasma gun.

Vaughn stood up just as the man fired.  The shot went wide and Vaughn dove behind a stack of shipping containers.

The Geraldinian fired several shots at the containers before Frailg calmly stepped out of his office again and walked towards the ship.  “You are in violation of the rules of the Fogerian empire and of this facility.  Lower your weapon.”

“Fuck you,” the Geraldinian replied.

Vaughn laughed and called out, “Big mistake!”  In all the years that Frailg had been in charge of the docks, there hadn’t been a single successful incident of piracy.  Frailg was small, but astoundingly nimble. His race was marked for their speed.

Frailg walked straight towards the man and Jongus fired at him.  He leaned his head to the side just in time for the bolt to pass by.  Jongus fired again, this time Frailg side-stepped and continued towards the Geraldinian.

“Last warning.  Lay your weapon down,” Frailg ordered.

The Geraldinian kept firing. Frailg moved so quickly he was a blur.  His blows didn’t contain a lot of power, but in the space of three or four seconds, he must have landed nearly a thousand.  He punched Jongus in the jaw, and before the Geraldinian’s head stopped its backward motion, Frailg was on the other side of him, punching it back the other way.  Blow after blow landed, Frailg was all around him.  Eventually the Geraldinian collapsed under the hail of blows, unconscious once again.

Vaughn climbed out from behind the crate.  “I’m sorry Frailg.  I have no idea what came over him.  I’ll get him off your dock.”

“I’m sorry, Vaughn.  I have to take him into custody.  Piracy is a serious crime.”

Vaughn saw the Geraldinian’s hand move.  He started to warn Frailg, but the Geraldinian reached out and grabbed the small man’s foot.  The Geraldinian picked the dockmaster up by his foot and slammed his head into the dock.  Leaving Vaughn with no other option, he grabbed the small gun off the ramp and shot Jongus in the chest.

He tossed the gun to the side and ran to Frailg.  Blood was pouring from a gash in his forehead. “Frailg! You okay?”

“Ugh…”

“He’s dead.  I shot him.”

Frailg opened his eyes, and the long slits of his pupils expanded to an almost perfect circle in the dark.  “You gotta get out of here, Vaughn.  Toss me the pistol.  I’ll explain it to the ES.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, go.  How could you have known he was completely mental?  Glad we got him before you two were on the ship alone.”

“Thanks, Frailg.  You’re a good man.”

“You too, Vaughn,” he replied, holding his head.  “Get out of here before the ES shows up.”

Vaughn ran up into Halle and closed the ramp.

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