The Last Drink (Short Story)
Here's one that is kind of a free write; I had no idea what this was going to turn into. I love going into something that is just a general thought, with no idea for the ending.
Originally I had a different idea for how to end it while writing this, but that changed by the time I got there, which is always fun.
Washed up, thrown out, and completely devoid of hope.
A lonely Mulu sat at the bar watching his glass with one eye, as the other occasionally slithered out of its socket and onto the fleshy pole of an extender, darting around the room; as if it had a mind of its own. But, it didn't.
It swayed with purpose, looking for the first sign of aggression. Of which, there should be some coming his way now.
Why? The reason was well known, and by now that well-known word should have reached the ears of every two-bit gunner, this side of Free Space. The holo-vids and projections would have, by now, reached every eye of every wannabe bounty hunter, at least on Jex.
Funny, the money on my head is most likely worth more than what I stole.
The only thing Osif A'Gelloo could wish for was to drink enough to numb the pain that was going to be inflicted on him, any time now.
What would be even better than that, would be to spend enough time propping up a bar that everyone might forgive and forget about him, the likeliness of that was slim to none however, and Osif knew it. But, he was allowed to dream.
When they come for me, I won't fight. That much he agreed, mainly because he had already made peace with the idea of his own demise. The main reason for this though was that he didn't want to destroy Dux's Bar. He didn't deserve to lose out on his lively hood.
Osif had been a patron of his for a long time now. All the way through his smuggling days, and even though some of his banditry. Dux bought the place after he himself gave up the smuggling, and decided to use some of his earnings on a place he could stay put in, and make his living. While also serving most of the people that weren't able to get served anywhere else.
The funny thing about the place though, was that it was usually quiet. Most of the time anyway. Osif had seen and been a part of his fair share of brawls, which would seem to erupt over the slightest thing.
"Who's ship is faster?" "Who was able to earn the most in the quickest amount of time?" or "Who had the best crew?" Those were the usual reasons for the scraps, but there were sometimes more serious reasons. Like an old score to settle, or a slight; made through some miscommunication.
Osif was lost in thought and without immediately noticing, someone pulled up a chair beside him. A young Trisken by the look of it, but he didn't make a move to glance at him; at least not an obvious glance.
"One Rotchi Blaster." The Trisken ordered as Dux got to the bar. "Actually, make that two." The Trisken continued, and Osif could feel his eyes on him. One of his own eyes extended and stared at the Trisken, and as expected, it was staring. Those small beady eyes, with the slit pupils, darting from Osifs eye to the rest of him. The scales were mostly clean, not many scars, scratches or scorch marks. This Trisken is new to the job.
His old clean cut ex-military gear was torn and worn, most likely found in a surplus store. The battle armour pads seemed new though. They weren't top shelf, but good enough to save from energy and kinetic weaponry, for the most part atleast. The crowning feature of any Trisken was the jaw cap; his was firmly closed, covering the entire lower half of its face; leaving it devoid of expression. All except those eyes, quick, and emotionless. Lizard.
Soon Dux was back, and placing two Rotchi Blasters on the bar, one in front of each of them. "Cheers." The Trisken said lightly, as he picked up his one and allowed it to hover in front of his face; his jaw cap was lowered now, revealing soft pale skin, and a few rows of razor sharp teeth.
Osif picked up his own; the white gloop in the glass barely moved as he swirled it and he noticed the blue crystalised flakes in the liquid as they sparkled in the dim light of the bar.
"Haven't drank one of these in years," Osif said, feeling as though they may have been his last words.
"I only drink them on a special occasion." The Trisken said, his voice slithered and hissed. "What's the occasion?" Osif had to ask. "I think you already know." Osif nodded; one conscious nod, more like a bow that his body didn't follow through with.
"Osif A'Gelloo, you're something of a legend. Led an attack against a Confederation parade in the Gamma system." "It was an ambush, one that worked out well for us." The Trisken nodded. "The element of surprise usually helps."
"Smuggled weapons and explosives under the noses of them on Dosha too. Which led to a successful uprising." "Their first success of the war." Osif nodded. "Then you turned bandit for a while." "We had our reasons. Our contingent started out as an army, we had a cause." Osif said, mustering plenty of conviction.
"I hear they're still operating from the smallest moon of Besk. I would have imagined you would have run back there, or do you not get along with any of your F.S.R buddies?" "The Free Space Roamers don't exactly take kindly to anyone that goes M.I.A. They don't care about the fact that my loyalty didn't wain, it was them that changed our reason for being; the main goal of our operation." Osif placed his drink down, which prompted the Trisken to do the same. "The Confederation enclaves have all been stamped out, you and the rest of the F.S.R made sure of that." The Trisken said, leaning back in his chair. "Maybe. But, Free Space is a large portion of the galaxy. I would have rathered we re-fitted and came up with a secondary goal, one we all agreed on, rather than being dictated to by someone who wasn't even around when we started."
The Trisken nodded. "That's all history now, right? Not why you got yourself into trouble recently." The thoughts of yesterdays war washed from his mind and Osif had to calm his unsteady hand. "No."
"You decided to rob your boss. You could have stayed employed with him for years. You could have started your own operation, hell, I might have even joined you if you put the word out." Osif nodded lightly. "Suppose I could have, but I was desperate; I knew there were people who needed those FSTs more than I did, or Big Bima for that matter." The Trisken shook his head, and let out one solid laugh.
"If you want to get it off your chest, I'm open to hearing you out, just to get that bit of closure. Someone who was willing to cross Big Bima surely had their reasons. I wouldn't cross any Gnosian, let alone that one." Osif sat back in his chair. He was about to tell him but caught himself before he did.
Project Preservation is looking to do some great work, but with no funding. Osif's final action alive will ripple through the whole of Free Space for years to come, but, if Big Bima found out who had his FSTs, there's no way they would be safe.
"No." Osif finally said, after a long pause while staring at his drink. "Shame, I get a lot more on the bounty if I was to find out. I would try extracting the information out of you, but would there be a point?" Osif shook his head. "No, it would just waste your time, and give someone else a chance to nab the price on my head."
"Good point." The Trisken picked his drink up once more, while he reached for his pistol with his free hand. "Go on, drink up."
Osif picked The Rotchi Blaster up and swished it back in one go. The thick gloop clung to his throat on the way down; it was like it had a mind of its own, squirming and crawling, while also scratching at him.
"It's been an honor to speak with you Osif; also, I just want you to know, you're going to make me a legend." Osif started to smile. "Well, I'm happy to further the career of a deadbeat gunslinger. Maybe you can earn those clothes a real warrior once wore." He spoke through closed teeth, while he closed his eyes. Osif could imagine the Triskens face turn with those last words.
Then he felt it; the cold steel of the barrel as it pressed against the side of his head. He took in a deep breath.
I want to live! He could hear an internal scream, and he opened his eyes. Instinctively he grabbed the blaster with one hand and leaned forward. Just as it got out of range, the blaster went off. The shot burnt his hand, and he let go.
It was deafening, and he got to his feet, but the entire day of drinking took its toll. Osif staggered and stumbled, grappling with the Trisken, who seemed like he was hit hard by the drink.
"Not today," Osif said, but it came out grumbled and disjointed as if he was speaking from his stomach through gritted teeth.
Osif punched the Trisken under his jaw cap, which was one of the only weak spots he knew of. The hit was hard enough to knock the Trisken out and with that, he fell to the ground.
Once the Trisken was down, he charged for the door; there was barely anyone in the bar, but, he wasn't going to take his chances on sticking around.
He had no idea where he was going to go, he knew he'd figure it out though.