“I’ll take a shot of hell straight into the vein for five please Bob” BH’s glass raised in fervour, the barkeep unimpressed “give an old merc a drink?” that hint of begging signified a change of tack, the barkeep still unimpressed “what the hell you want, my cash is dryer than my glass and I’m this close to pulling” a fine vintage of frustration flavouring BH’s exacerbated tone. The pasty looking wreck with his glass still lingering midair had just drunk the best part of two bottles, and still wanted more “I’ll trade your real name for a refill” the barkeep taking advantage of BH’s apparent desperation “unless you like that empty glass wear y’gripping” a rattlesnake couldn’t have said it more venomously than the grinning barkeep.
The staring contest dragged out another torturous minute as both men refused to give ground, until BH flicked a wicked grin as he delivered a fatal line “BH stands for Black Hound” savouring the stunned silence that stretched throughout the establishment, his pause just long enough to relish the stench of fear that replaced the very air around him “my actual name carries a tombstone shaped price, and my sidearm just loves to collect” BH’s glass found purpose again with the kind of speed a bullet would be jealous of.
The continuing silence was only perforated by the slamming of a single glass upon the metallic bar, BH offering its hollow form again with notable more success than his first attempt “I apologize sir, may I offer you a bottle of our finest?” an air of politeness and respect “but I must ask you pay for your previous beverages” the barkeep expertly concealing the rampant dread he felt eating away at his calm, the urge to cower on his knees and beg oddly appealing.
The whole room hung on BH’s next fate deciding words, choking anticipation producing an even more refined atmosphere of tension that BH had ever encountered “By all means, would you like credit chips or cash?” he calmly answered the detectable relieved barkeep, the other patrons cheerfully reanimating as if a noose had been removed from their necks.
Silence fell upon the room like an anvil on a cricket again, a small voice unexpectedly finding some very unwanted attention “Black Hound?” the voice squeaked nervously, there was suddenly a very notable void of people between the hapless questioner and BH’s place at the bar, a clear line of fire “I was just… curious… didn’t mean to… I’ll shut up now”.
The pasty looking wreck that was BH stood in such a way you could almost see authentic fire burning in his eyes, violent intent more than just suggested in the steady hand drifting around the holstered energy pistol loosely strapped to his thigh. BH had to be careful in managing the knife edge situation, weakness would allow the other steady hands floating over holstered pistols a fatal opportunity, too much strength would provide justification “The Black Hounds were the meanest, no… Most ruthless mercs, we ate tech units for breakfast and chewed out elite soldiers for sport” his hand slowly hitting the charge button on the beaten up pistol.
“The LESD, your sacred space cops or as I know them; those wastes of space we helped into power” sly grin turned to resentful sneer “look deep enough into their nightmares and fears, there’s a Black Hound laughing” BH himself letting a vicious snigger add to the tangible tension radiating from his presence. “Now I’m vacating this bar, if you want to vacate this mortal coil, feel free to follow” nobody was foolish enough to even consider resisting the invincible force of will BH exerted upon the room, a simple flick of his free hand was enough to part the shell shocked crowd so he could exit without further incident.
On the slow but sure walk out BH abruptly stopped in front of the man whose curiosity triggered his exit, not even turning to face the clammy, nerve shattered resemblance of a human “And barkeep” the barkeep eagerly responded “give that bottle of your finest to my curious friend here, he looks like he needs something to steady his nerves” BH gentle/cruelly patting the poor sods shoulder before completing his departure.
Another piece of this particular puzzle is here, enjoy!