Part 4 Tenth drink and ‘everything else takes care of its self’
Last Orders gentlemen, time to settle all debts
Seconds felt like hours, ticking down noisily as all eyes were fixated on the standoff; neither of the chief protagonists ready to condemn themselves just yet as observers were either vacating the line of fire, or more foolishly moving to get a better view. Bob’s gaze held as he lined up the shot in his head, the Security Officer and his tactical support visibly unnerved, but never the less standing their ground. “When you’re dead I’ll have that ship of yours added to my collection, what’s it called again?” the Security Officer taunting, pushing for a reaction “ah yes, the ‘Gamblers Luck’ I believe”.
Bob so close to reaching for his gun, wired to a point where he no longer acknowledged the heat from the holstered blaster seeping through to his thigh. “Then again, that piece of crap you call a ship isn’t worth scrap” the Security Officer pushing again, the creep just begging to be put down. At the edge of his enhanced vision Bob noticed the bartender holding something below the bar top, that something pointed in the direction of the armed posy threatening his new favourite customer. “When I take this fat slab of uber grade crap down, Blondie gets my ship” Bob’s voice void of the powerful emotions running just beneath the stony calm of his ready stance, fanatical glare aimed at his would be killer “and Blondie, it was one hell of a night”
Bob could sense her wanting to say something, but she must have known the atmosphere was already electric enough without some last minute plea or grade A insult. Bob fell silent, the Security Officer’s uncomfortable squirming showing the mental strain “Go on… shoot… I dare you… why aren’t you shooting coward… COME ON SCUM” the facade of control slipping “you two, behind me; shoot him you useless fuckers. GO ON YOU USELESS FUCKS”, Bob’s steely demeanour a stark comparison to the officer’s fraught panic.
Un-affected tone still arctic cold, Bob feeding off his prey’s terror, talking at the armed guards supporting his intended target, “Your rifles will take 0.5 seconds to fire, that pistol your boss should have just shot me with already, will take at least that long to clear its holster”. Bob sensing their hesitation and pouncing with that razor sharp mind “I can pull in 0.25 seconds, maybe less, 0.25 to recharge my weapon after I floor your boss, fancy those odds guys?” finishing his little set piece with an unnerving flick of a grin.
The armed support were pushing rifle sights closer to their faces, screaming insecurity as they shuffled their feet into a stronger stance, fingers hovering precariously over hair triggers “You want to die because your boss is a thief?, because his lackey treats women like property?, imagine that little prick I humiliated earlier or your boss, alone with your women or your wallet, would you trust them? Are they really worth it?” Bob’s words were meant to hit hard – would it be enough?
The Security Officer was unable to turn his gaze from Bob’s glare, but his focus wavered when he heard the sound of two rifles venting their unfired charge, then heard combat boots scuffing the floor and he was forced to accept that his back-up had withdrawn and the deadliness of his isolation set in. Bob’s emerging grin more sinister than the officers fading smirk “If you take me down you’ll regret it, you’ll be hunted… I’m… we could…” the Security Officer’s pleading reeked of desperation.
The next moment was the most terrifying for the Security Officer, the eyes of a madman fixated on him; a madman with a gun. “You seem tense, is something weighing on your mind?” Bob asked with eerie calm, not a hint of the stress or nerves behind his dead eyes “give me the money you took, I’ll think about letting you leave…” the balance of power had shifted. “I go missing… A respected senior officer… You’ll never get off this station alive…” the Security Officer’s pathetic threat amused Bob more than it intimidated, as with relish he gave the arsehole one last chance “Two words ‘fair warning’ or should I say three ‘fair warning given’”.
The two gentleman had been ever so patient, but their patience ran out and they cut the Security Officer down to size with a kick to the back of the leg, collapsing him to his knees “Should have returned the money, that five hundred you took belongs to my boss” the more mature looking gentleman stonily informed him, demonstrating his contempt with the hilt of his gun across the Security Officer’s face, fresh blood mixing with nervous sweat “and I’m sure my boss will want to hear about your little ‘side line’ in extortion” and with a nod to his junior colleague the two gentleman moved in to fish a wad of cash from the officer’s pocket.
Bob gave himself leave to take a long deep breath; rested his strained eyes for a couple seconds, thankful as the tension evaporated, a wave of relief as he felt his anxiety dissipate; the only thing he regretted was not shooting when he had the chance, venting the unfired round from his blaster as an afterthought, before it burned a hole in his thigh.
As the wad of credits was examined, the junior of the two gentlemen lowering himself so that the thieving officer could see the money being counted, note by single note, emphasising his loss and humiliation. With just a hint of caution, the senior gentleman very calmly approached Bob “We’ll take this ‘contribution’ to our boss and we’ll deal with this former ‘respected senior officer’, you’d be surprised how many accidents happen around here” hinting at something very final; “One favour, don’t leave that trash near landing bay 5” Bob requested as his path took him past his defeated foe.
Given that he was desperate to avoid any more unexpected altercations and neglecting to even say goodbye to Blondie or the Bartender, Bob made a very swift exit, passing through the saloon style doors into the brightly lit corridor beyond, leaving with fewer credits than he had arrived with and just as sober.
Left a little out of sorts at Bob’s rude exit, but holding nothing against his character given the evenings events, the bartender calmly positioned himself in front of Blondie, still perched on her bar stool and looking like she had just caught a sample of Bob’s original positive vibes. “Shame Bob left this bottle behind, doesn’t even look opened” the Bartender indicating an unopened bottle of black market home brew “now I wonder how this will find its owner, bay 5, the ‘Gamblers Luck’”.