Electric Dreams

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Original poster
Kirsi Radmirovna spread her hand on the table. Her remaining opponent, a woman who'd introduced herself as Irian, was smug about her full house - tens over aces. Unfortunately for her, however, Kirsi was a much better cheater. "Straight flush, spades. I do believe you owe me the codes to that fancy ship you've been bragging on all night," she said, grinning.

Kirsi got up, stretched, and collected the rest of her winnings. She'd netted almost three thousands credits tonight from the poor fools who hadn't figured out yet that she could count cards, plus a nifty handgun and a matching holster. She figured that'd be useful in the event that she needed to defend herself - and she almost certainly would, being only 155 centimeters tall and looking about 45 kilos*. Looking, because she actually weighed nearly twice that. It came with being a GI. Not that she wanted anybody to know that, mind, and the gun would help her keep from being outed. The credits were stuffed carelessly into her pockets - she could neat 'em up later - and she pulled the holster into place under her shoulder, frowning as she discovered that it didn't tighten down quite small enough for her.

"I think you said Heaven's Grace was at slip E-41, right, Irian? I'll meet you there in twenty minutes. Don't try and steal my ship, or I won't be happy with you."

With that, she turned and sashayed out of the bar, giving her hips that extra little swing to distract the men in the bar - and a few of the women - from the fact that she really shouldn't be walking straight after the amount of alcohol she'd drank during the poker game. Of course, if she was lucky, nobody else would have been keeping track.


Nineteen minutes and thirty-one seconds later, she was in landing slip E-41, waiting impatiently at the bottom of the ship's ramp for Irian to show up. To be fair, the woman still had twenty-nine - er, twenty-eight - seconds...and didn't have an internal clock...but, dammit, the least she could do is be punctual!

*(About 5'1" and 100 lbs.)
Kris was pretty much completely and utterly devoid of hope. It seemed that no one on this planet really wanted to hire someone with his skills, most of them already being of the same breed. Which, he thought, ought to promote solidarity, but in the real world simply didn't if there weren't enough credits to go around.

And speaking of credits. He stopped dead in the middle of the street to stare at a pretty decent score of them. This was a windfall of the type hitherto unseen. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, he picked them up, shoved them into his pocket, and glanced around. It seemed his unknown benefactor was a small woman with a holster at least two sizes too large, which spoke of the same kind of down and out luck the others on this planet typically had. What didn't was the fact that she walked with a confident, almost arrogant gait in the middle of what might as well be a den of thieves, and also the careless way another cred popped out of one overstuffed pocket as she walked, egged on by the jostling of the overlarge holster.

Shrugging, Kris collected that one too and followed at a decent distance, keeping her barely within eyeshot. As long as she walked confidently, she remained unmolested. She seemed to have a purpose, although she did stop to eye the docks occasionally as though looking for her ship, which was interesting as most captains could run to their ships blind, and with only one leg. Particularly here, where a quick getaway was more than likely.

She finally stopped at a dock, and Kris continued past her, eyeing the ship as well. He took up a post not too far away, but no crew emerged to greet the woman. It could be that she was the crew, and was waiting for her captain. That would mean that he should wait too. On the other hand, he was already bored, and she hadn't moved yet except to glare at the occasional leer thrown her way. Maybe she had something to eat.

"I'm Kris. Your captain probably wants to hire me," he said by way of introduction. When the stranger was looking at him properly, he held out the handful of credits he'd gathered. "These are yours. Do you have something to eat?" His expression, thanks to the same incident that had caused his untimely discharge, remained completely deadpan. Belatedly, he thought he probably ought to smile to look more personable. Oh well.
Irian was now oficially a full minute late, and the guy leaning against the grafiti'd "Keep Your Station Clean" sign hadn't moved in almost ninety-eight seconds. Kirsi was beginning to wonder if her ruse had been discovered and he was part of a League capture team. He almost startled her when he actually started to move in her direction, and her hand crept towards the butt of her newly-won weapon. He looked like your average street scum, except that he had a certain amount of discipline in his step, even wearing clothes that looked like they hadn't been washed in a week.

And then he started talking. He sounded like a GI who'd been coached, except that she didn't recognise any signs of him being a GI. Of course, SHE was a GI, and she didn't show any signs of it. Admittedly, she was an experimental, high-order GI, but that was sort of the point, wasn't it? Stars above, she was overthinking things.

"I'm not looking to hire anyone just at the moment, and Irian won't be in much of a position to hire anyone if she tries to welch," she said sardonically. He had started to turn away, his bland expression shading the tiniest bit towards crestfallen, when she had a thought. "Wait." She put a hand on the man's shoulder, halting him. "Give me a reason to think I can trust you, and we'll find you a berth once Irian gets here with the codes."

Just then, the end of the corridor exploded with activity - mostly people dodging out of the way of the oncoming mob. A small mob, admittedly, but the fact that Irian was leading by a good half-second and the rest had weapons in hand gave her a pretty good idea what it was about.

"Ah, here she comes now. I don't suppose you come with a gun?"
"I sold my gun last week for food," he remarked, but he reached into his jacket anyway and withdrew a long, flat knife. "And I like you. Isn't that enough?"

Without waiting for an answer, he trotted a few steps forward, allowed Irian graze past him, and jammed his hip into the first oncoming belligerent , helping the man up and over and then stomping on his back just to make sure he stayed down. Meanwhile, his elbow shot up into the neck of another person, using their own momentum against them, and a second later the opposite hand slammed the hilt of the knife into the temple of a third. He flipped the knife in his grip, kicking one of the prone men soundly while he slid into a different stance.

He frowned minutely as someone pulled out a small pistol. "Now, that's not fair. I've only got a knife." It would have been a complaint if his voice hadn't been so even. He edged to the side, trying to cover Irian and Kirsi at the same time. "I think I'm being aggressed. Is 'aggressed' a word?" Kris glanced at Kirsi for confirmation just as the man spoke.

"That gal has to pay," the gunman growled. "Has to pay ALL of us. An' we think the other one's bin cheatin' too. After all, they're here together. That 'un ran straight 'ere, din' she?" There was a chorus of agreement. "Ya got three seconds, and then..." He fired a warning shot at Kris's feet, since he was the closest.

"I'm definitely being aggressed," Kris muttered. "Okay, here's a warning too." He flicked the knife expertly and dodged the predicted shot, leaping in toward the gunman. The knife buried itself straight through the other man's shoe and into his foot right before Kris grabbed his arm, yanked, and slammed his head back with the heel of his other hand. New pistol in hand, he skipped back, training it slowly from person to person.