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07.25.2012 , 07:37 AM |
, more or less, sort of tangentially for the scene that presented itself immediately after my starting image. This is my rough spontaneous sketch for the morning. Um, anyway, Imperial Agent Wynston, no spoilers. 800 words.
Wynston stepped clear of a nearly knee-high pile of something he didn't want to think about, and continued pushing through the trackless woods. "Remind me again what we're doing, Kaliyo?"
"Being vultures. There's a cache out here, belonged to a guy I knew, likely to have good stuff plus cred sticks. Old friend tipped me off once the guy died. She's too lazy for the scavenger hunt, but with a cut as generous as she's offering, I'll help retrieve it."
"Your cut's going to be all of it."
"Eh, I didn't say she was a very bright friend. Gorgeous, though. You would like her."
"It's so kind of you to think of me for these jobs."
"I'll make it worth your while," she purred. "Hey, which way's west?"
Wynston tapped his handheld nav gadget and it popped up a compass rose. "This way. I will say, the scenery's nice when we manage to get free of all these - " he waved irritably - "trees."
"Wynston the intrepid outdoorsman. I'll be sure to put this in our next report."
"Doesn't your dead friend have any caches in civilization? Or at least in forests that have been surveyed in the last fifty years?"
Kaliyo looked at her holonav. "We're almost there. I think."
He froze. "I hear something moving," he whispered.
"That's animals. They still have those in some corners of the galaxy."
He wanted to bring up his stealth generator, but it would do him little good in a place where crackling branches ruined all hope of silence. Instead he just walked to the sunlit clearing.
A woman was seated on a fallen log there. She was wearing neat practical leathers. She was, in fact, quite gorgeous, a blonde Zabrak who knew how to dress to advantage. She smiled at Kaliyo when the Rattataki stepped into the clearing. "Hey, lover. Only took you eight hours."
"Thought you said you couldn't make it out here."
"For you, I made the trip."
"Again?" said Wynston. "Honestly, Kaliyo, do you date anyone who doesn't end up trying to kill you?"
Kaliyo rolled her eyes. "You're one to talk."
"I don't go for the murderous ones. I can't remember the last time one of mine tried to kill me outright."
"Three weeks, Wynston. It was three weeks ago."
"That one didn't count. She was getting paid to do it. Your murder attempts, yours are labors of love."
"Yeah," said Kaliyo, "about that. Reiya, I thought you were playing me straight here. You always did good business."
"Money on your head's good business, sweetie. Old Voke back home isn't too happy with you."
"See, Wynston? This one doesn't count either. She's getting paid. Anyway, Rei, Voke can join the club. We gonna fight or what?"
"A fight wasn't exactly what I had in mind." The woman raised a hand, pressed a button, and a small dart shot with perfect precision, hitting Kaliyo's neck with a weird soft thump. Wynston considered, quickly, and decided to get the mystery dart out of Kaliyo's neck first.
"You don't need to worry," sang Reiya. "She'll be fine, at least until she's back in Voke's hands. I can cut you in on the bounty if you like."
Friendliness? He could work with that. He stood up slowly. "That's a generous offer for a total stranger."
"I got no fight with you. I'm sorry about Kaliyo, but if you've worked with her for more than thirty seconds you know she's nerf-humping crazy." She looked him over. "I can think of worse things to do with a bounty than share it with a guy like you."
The nice thing about this setup was that he could give her a once-over as bold as he liked. "Sweetheart, we've hardly been introduced."
"That a problem?"
He smiled. "When you put it that way, no."
Gratingly direct could work. It would get him out of here faster, anyway. He got in close, let her slide her hands up his chest, reached in to touch her waist, pulled a dart out of her belt, and yanked the hem of her shirt free to jab the dart directly into her side. She gasped.
"Sorry, gorgeous," he said. "I happen to be very fond of Kaliyo."
She was fading fast. Impressive stuff, that dart payload. Wynston grabbed another dart to take home for analysis, then gently eased Reiya's fall to the ground. "Tell your friend Voke...oh, whatever you like. But the lady is mine." He looked over at Kaliyo and laughed out loud to think what she would think of that statement. It did have an entertaining ring to it, though.
He hefted Kaliyo over his shoulder, cursed her again for being slightly bigger than he was, and fumbled his holonav active, grimacing as he tried to access the map. He hated wilderness. It was every bit as rough as civilization, but without any of the cantinas.
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