Saturday, March 15, 2014

Closed Doors (Part 2)

This is a continuation of something I dredged up while searching through a few word docs. The first part of it can be found here.

The initial inspiration for the concept of this story and its world goes to hearing tales from Eve Online and its insane double crossings, trickery, and player-driven scams.


     As one might guess, it was of course not that simple. Those in the shipping field could take a glance at a bulletin board if they needed work, and colonists could easily be recruited in large groups, but those in the field of recovery had to dig deeper for theirs. Those who needed them weren't going to simply put it out in the open air that they had been robbed. That ruined reputation.

     At times, it would be best to put one's ear to the ground, and listen for a good rumor flying around. During others, one might consult a few who kept track of such things. In desperate times, one simply went straight to the source. For Alan Everett, this was growing close to a desperate time, but had yet to reach that point just yet. It was at this point where Frank Coban again became useful again.

Fanning out a number of pages across the table, he looked up at Alan with a decent sized smile, “This is what I could pull up.”

     Flipping through each page one by one, Alan made sure to add his commentary to each, “Didn't Ruby Mendez try to shoot you?”

     “It was an odd night for me, what can I say?”

     “More like an odd morning for you, but hey,” Alan replied with a smirk, “Anton's out of the question."

     “He pays good,” Frank rebutted.

     “He also has something against me for some ungodly reason,” Alan said, tossing the paper down on the growing pile of rejections, “I think I looked at him funny at a party or something.”

     “That'd do it with him. What about Chris Matthews? You look at him funny too?” Frank said, noticing how small the remaining options were getting.

     “Didn't he try to shoot you too? Was that an odd night too?” Alan said, flipping to the last page, holding up the picture to where Frank could see it.

     “Al, no,” Frank said, voice growing incredibly wary, “Please for the love of everything you hold dear in your life, no.”

     “Frank, she's probably the only person in this pile who doesn't want us dead,” Alan said bluntly.

     “Yeah, and there's still a good chance she'll try to off you,” Frank replied, snatching the photo from him and reading the description he had managed, “They don't call her a black widow for nothing, Al.”

     “She's got work, it looks like it pays well, and you know me. I'm one of the most charming people here.”

     Frank looked around the empty cafe, “In here maybe, Al.”

     Without any kind of warning Alan stood up, plucking his hat off the table and headed for the door, “I'll be back.”

     “You ain't sure of that!” Frank shouted as he exited the cafe, muttering to himself once he was gone “We seriously need to get off of this damn planet.”

     The tall metallic building gleamed in the bright noon sunlight. Alan had to cover his eyes as he approached as to keep the bright red metal from blinding him. Myers' Shipping Yard's main office was a tall building, standing high above the lifts and machines that surrounded it. The land around it was made up of warehouses, loading docks, and more, with people rushing here and there, items being moved, coming and going in one constant wave of movement. Most knew the business by another, simpler name, that being Myers' Movers. It was shorter, and more to the point. The company was a rather well known name by the area's standards, and held a fairly decent reputation, save for one thing. Its owner.

     Allison Myers was known to many as 'the Widow'. As with some nicknames, it wasn't undeserved. You'd never catch anyone referring to her as the Widow to her face, of course, unless you liked the long trip down before you crashed onto the road below her office window. The name had been earned as one might expect, through the sheer number of men who had been at her side one day, and headfirst in a dumpster whistling through a hole in their skulls the next.

     Of course no one ever noticed. In the Imports District if Lee didn't own it, Allison Myers likely did. Those who did notice tended to keep their mouths shut. Most enjoyed living, despite whatever meager existence they might have lived in. One look explained why some continued to try to woo her despite said past results. She was a pretty woman, short cut hair, short stature, but pretty. Her brown eyes never left Alan Everett from the minute he entered her office to the minute he left.

     “Oh Alan, I was hoping you'd be the one to show up,” she said, leaning forward against her desk, voice sweet and noticeable.

     Taking his hat off when he reached her, Alan eyed her over, every single one of his motions oozing caution, “That so?”

     “Oh yes!” she exclaimed, resting a bit farther forward, her dress forcing him to make sure he kept his eyes towards the north. The fact that he did so seemed to only feed her. “You're just so much better than anyone else. Everyone else is just so stiff and professional, but not you.”

     He frowned slightly, “Not sure if that's a good thing or not, considering I like to think I'm pretty professional.” He was trying to make it sound like he wasn't getting annoyed by the small talk, somewhat succeeding.

     “Well. I think it's a good thing, and the customer is always right, right Alan?” she asked, sounding overly amused by what she was saying. Why was beyond him, but he wasn't about to ask. The flirting act wouldn't buy him, it never had before.

     “Can we focus a bit here?” he asked, trying not to roll his eyes.

     “Focus on what exactly?” she asked, feigning ignorance, “Should we focus on you, or maybe me? Or somebody else.”

     “Work, lady. You got work. What is it?”

     Her head tilted forward a bit as she pouted, “That's not a very nice Alan,” she said, puffing her lower lip out even more. With a sigh, she slide a small screen over to him, “Fine, fine...Yes. It's always got to be work work work with you. I don't get it. Don't you ever take out some time for fun?”

     “Not with folks who I'm afraid'll kill me, no,” was what Alan wanted to say. Instead he bit his tongue, looking over the screen, letting out a short whistle, “Crate of off-worlds. That's a nice haul for somebody. Rare minerals to boot. Boys dropped the ball, huh?”

     She frowned, voice growing colder, “That's none of your business, now is it Alan?” Allowing herself to rest back in her chair, she smiled, the cold tone of her voice filtering out through her expression.

     “Guess it isn't,” he said, motioning to her with the screen in his hand, “I'll get back with you when I got it.”

     Allison steepled her fingers, watching him for a moment, “I'm sure you will.” Her gaze lingered for a moment, before her smile turned into a mischievous grin, “Not even going to offer me a time?”

     He shook his head, turning his back on her as he headed back for the elevator, “Nope.”

     Even though he wasn't able to see her expression, he was more than certain that she was pouting again. She was welcome to, of course. He was past caring.

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