I stood watching the three mercenaries leave my hatch talking amongst themselves. They were almost unaware of how I'd got them there, to Rislar six.
They commissioned me to fly them to a planet they could have easily taken a commercial hop to, and cheaper, but had other thoughts they didn't think I knew about. I was suspicious from the gate. I am Falin, from the planet with the same readout. Some of us can feel things, some can fly, some can read simpler, unguarded thoughts and minds. I could do all three and then some.
I took their money because I was having trouble getting freight or passengers and took these guys on for just that, money. I charged them quite a lot, almost double my normal rate to see if they really would go through with their half baked plan, as they wanted my ship, I discerned. They had plans to have their way with me, too, then dump me into space after wards.
Falins are known to have all those characteristics earth men love on their women and I am no exception. What they had planned was not a fun thing, or decent, moral, or even in the least bit appealing to a woman of any race, and after take off, I almost dumped them into space, but didn't. They were foul individuals, flaunting their weaponry and acting out things they weren't and I even read, in the forgotten areas of their minds, what they had done to other women, mostly during war, but I could have killed them for it, if it hadn't been for my upbringing. I had a code of action and murder, even of scum like this, was not what I was about.
As soon as they boarded the ship, all three of them walking in together from the back hatch, I did a little trick of mine and froze them in their tracks. I have fields in all the entrances I can do this with. Not with cold, but with a nifty little gadget built into the walls that stops a lot of neural activity and muscular movement, though letting the body stay alive with all its essential functions. One of them tipped over onto his nose, his limbs frozen in its motion, and I actually laughed, it was so comical. By the time I'd taken off, they were all tipped over and laying on the deck plates of my ship like tin soldiers out of their plastic packaging, but they were okay. I landed, tossed a few empty liquor bottles around them, put one of them in the hand of the nearest and stood back. I reactivated them and they flopped on the floor like a sea squid out of water.
"Rislar Six, gentlemen," I announced. They got up, thinking they must have really had one heck of a night drinking and left the ship, looking back at me suspiciously. The dumb bone heads didn't know what happened to them, other than they were at their destination.
I did a voice protocol to have the ship, speaking to Sanja, the brain of our craft, stun them to unconsciousness if they ever showed up in front of me or it, again. And that's how I got there, through deception and cunning.
I tisked, turning away when someone asked, "Captain?" with a voice that sounded refined, and deep. It wasn't one of my former passengers. This voice was different.
I turned and there stood a large man. He too was human but of a higher breed, I gathered. Very well muscled, quite handsome, I could see, and he was wearing those casual things earth people call, Tee Shirts and Jeans that fit him closely. I don't know why the quadrant is so crazy about these earth people that are spreading like wildfire, but admittedly, they do have things about them that beg to be emulated and copied. Heck, I've even got caught up with their way of speaking and dressing myself. Even though I try to stay true to my planet in morals, at the very least, if not in dress, even though I couldn't have claimed that today. I had on a pair of tight black hip huger pants, styled after earth woman's fashions, with my seventeenth century boots that are the latest rage, whatever that meant, but still, I liked them. I was also wearing one of my skimpiest black earth bras under a very fine, see-through, mesh tunic, but I had my weapon strapped to my right thigh for eventualities. Everyone knows what men of any race are like if they see a woman's breasts on obvious display. I wore this kind of outfit simply because it attracted passengers and sometimes freight.
His eyes, I noticed, didn't paw all over me, strip me naked, like most earthlings did, the males at least, for the most part. He was pretty decent, I thought, unable to read his mind, so I knew that it was generally a good sign, though not conclusive. Some very cunning minds work like that, too.
"Are you taking on passengers just yet?"
"I could but I just got here. I may not find freight for a week," I said, lazily walking towards him. "If you're willing to wait, I can accommodate you, but you'll have to pay half up front." Yes, I was aware of how my body bounces in this kind of an outfit, cheap displacer that I am. But still, his eyes staid rock steady. He wasn't thinking of me as a toy. Not just yet, anyway.
"Your rate?" he asked, and I told him.
"But I don't know where I'm headed, just yet."
"I really don't care. I just want to get away from this place."
"You got troubles that might work their way into being my troubles?"'
"No. I'm just bored," he said, quite casually as he came forward a few steps, actually putting his feet on the ramp of Broken Wing, my ship, digging into his left front pocket and pulled out a healthy wad of bills, in large denominations. He peeled several off real fast and slapped them into my hand. I figured he was used to having money and had very quick reflexes.
I told him he had overpaid, giving me the whole amount and them some. But he said, "It's okay. I like to get things done with. Are there any other fees I need to know about?"
"No. This is it," I said, giving him change and looking him over, up and down now, at close range. He didn't budge, merely cocking his head from one side and then the other, watching me. If he wanted something out of me, a surprise attack, or something to that effect, this was the time he could have taken advantage of it, if he was fast enough. I'm pretty fast, too. We were within arms reach of each other. But he didn't move a centimeter, staring me down. He was certainly no flake and you could see a high intelligence smoldering under those clear green eyes.
"Okay," I said, turning and walking down one of the isles leading off the small cargo bay. I could hear his light footfalls on the deck plates behind me. For a large muscular man, he had a very quiet walk. To me that meant he was athletic.
"What did you see?" he asked, as we turned to gain the ladder to the next level up. Our eyes stared at each others, briefly, as I led the way upwards, to the middle decks.
I didn't answer him, immediately. It took a little thought. Already the politics of questions and answers had begun, but this guy, I sensed, he was quite pleasant, not pron to too much game playing and again, he was nice, or seemed to be. Half way up, I said, "You're someone that seems lost."
"I'm not lost," he replied right away. "I'm just looking, current circumstances aside."
I stopped and looked back at him, still walking up the ladder. He wasn't looking at my butt but I knew what he meant. We smiled at each other and kind of chuckled, and that was that. At least he had a sense of humor, and that was a good thing, generally speaking.
"This is your quarters," I said, stopping at a round hatch to a single berthing compartment. "It has the usual amenities. The galley is open all the time. The crystal feed station is that way and equipped to give you anything you want, except Traciant food. Their stuff stinks up an entire ship."
"The Octo, people, huh?"
"Yeah," I said. "Them."
"Do you have a notifier? I'll probably wander around the markets some, in between now and lift off."
I took one off my belt, where I kept several. It would vibrate and give the time of departure in plenty of time to get back to the ship.
"Your lock number for this cabin is, three three niner one. Got it?"
He did, nodding, then repeated the numbers.
"What do I call you?"
"See ya around," I said, leaving him to settle in.
"What do I call you?"
"No first name?"
"You want to keep things detached and professional, is that it?" he asked, with a smile.
I pointed my index finger at him and held my thumb up and let it depress onto my hand, like a projectile gun, something I'd picked up from some earthling. It meant, Yeah, you got it.
We smiled at one another and I walked away.
Having at least one passenger already gave me hope I could get a full cargo and passenger load this hop, wherever I was headed. The freight would determine the route. People had to adjust themselves around it. It has always been that way, especially if you're catching rides on a small freighter like mine.
I secured the ship, and left via a hatchway. I told the ship's brain to allow Hayden in and out access. It was a person in that locked and bolted titanium shelter and they are much easier to work with than computers, plus, they're quicker about everything. They have full access to their minds, unlike most people and other ships that run with computers. Another earth invention that is transforming space travel out here.
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /