Charlie Mox waited calmly as the guards scanned the people in front of him. Soon, it was his turn.
"Welcome to Bora Dalis. State your name and purpose," one of the soldiers grunted.
"The name's Borno. I'm here to do some gamblin'." Mox held out his IdentiCard and weapon permits.
The guard scanned them while the other placed a hand on Mox's shoulder. "Mr. Borno, today's yer lucky day."
Mox wondered if the jig was up. "How's that, mate?"
The soldier smiled. "There's been quite a few winners over at Ro's Casino Royale," the soldier said, slipping him a card. "Tell 'em I sent you. Name's on the back."
Mox stared at the card for a second and then tucked it away in a compartment on his armor. "Thanks. I'll do that." He smiled briefly and then headed off toward Concourse A.
The soldier smirked at his companion. "Heheheh. That's another 50 credits fer me, Kelso."
"Heh, yeah. Poor bastige'll lose his shirt and then some. Four hours left on my shift though, Palmer. Plenty of time to catch up to you."
"You couldn't con a mutant, Kelso. I'm the King of Referrals... and I'm gonna get so many referrals in the next hour, it'll knock the wind out of you," Palmer taunted.
Dale Gurney's lungs burned with the pain of forced exhalation as a steel-toed boot met his gut for a second time. Bloody and dazed, he strained to look up at his attackers and immediately regretted doing so, as a gloved fist plowed into his jaw like a sledgehammer, jerking his head toward the pavement. His face collided with gravel followed by a wet smacking sound. A stream of red pooled around his nose and mouth, until the law of gravity kicked in and brought it oozing down his chin.
"Hey, I feel for you man, I really do. But when Broker gives an order, we follow it," said one of the attackers. Gurney strained to see through the blood seeping from a cut above his right eye, and was certain there were three of them. Groggy and confused, he scanned the ground for a weapon of some kind.
"Whatever you did, you really shouldn't have gotten on Broker's bad side. You're lucky he didn't just order us to pop a spike in your head or worse," said another.
Gurney coughed, hacking up a glob of bloody phlegm onto the pavement. They were in an alley somewhere strewn with trash. He could barely make out something useful lying nearby.
"Just finish this up, guys. I'd rather spend my shore leave with some pretty ladies, not this meatsack," said the third.
"Yeah, a couple more minutes ain't gonna hurt, man," the first replied. He then turned back to Gurney with wild eyes and smiled. "Well, except for you maybe."
Gurney grabbed the bottle from the ground and forced himself up with surprising speed and strength. Cracking over the first attacker's head, the end of the bottle broke off into small shards. As the first one fell to the pavement on all fours, the second moved in to restrain him. Gurney swung around and slashed him in the face with the broken bottle. He watched the man grab his face and scream, before he heard a loud whacking sound and felt the third assailant's fist impact with the back of his neck, jarring him like an earthquake. He fell to his knees, wobbled there for what seemed like ages and finally kissed the pavement with his left cheek. He felt a a pain in his right arm just above the elbow and was sure the bone was broken if not fractured, and couldn't understand when it had been hit. The pain pulsed from it in time to his heartbeat while the rest of his body's bruises and cuts burned and screamed in agony.
"Maybe you'd like to try that on someone else, mates."
The three men turned to see a Firebat step out of the alley shadows and ignite his burner. Filled with terror at what was coming next, the three men scrambled over each other in an effort to escape a wave of flaming tendrils that whooshed toward them, charring the ground they'd been at seconds before. Charlie Mox moved forward and let out another burst, catching one of the men's jackets on fire, which he tore off and tossed to the ground as all three continued running down the alley and vanished into the open square beyond. Certain they wouldn't be coming back, at least not without guns and some backup, Mox shut off the torch and turned to the bloody pile of meat on the ground trying to pass itself off as a man.
"Eh... need some help?"
The Antioch Chronicles™ © 1998, Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. All rights reserved. The Antioch Chronicles™ trademark and associated logos are the exclusive property of Eric Dieter & Ruben Moreno. Characters and distinctive likenesses thereof, character names, item names, place names, named events, artwork and all other related material not disclosed herein are protected under the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any reproduction, retransmission, or unauthorized use herein is prohibited without express written permission.
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