Fourth Rock

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by ze_kraken, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. July 22nd, 2166
    23:30 Standard Time
    Brown’s Folly

    For the first time in ages, it felt cool outside. Not the chilly draft of coolant units inside houses and hanging out windows, this was the air and the air alone. The only lights still on in the town came shining from the Last Memento and the Quarry, the rest having been turned off to conserve power in the absence of the sun’s rays. The light din of music and revelry sounded from out of the brothel’s doors, filling the empty and deserted dirt roads with a quiet ambiance of subdued joy. All Garrett Warrens could hear, however, was the crunch of his own boots upon hard-packed sand and dirt as he left the Quarry, the mechanic’s shop doors shutting dutifully behind him with a clatter of gears, parts, and gyros.

    Nils had requested a mechanic for a low-paying hop to Leford, a nearby town barely worth the MagLev ticket over. As was usually the case with such criminal ventures, the messenger had come by night, asking that Garrett to confirm by night, and no doubt the job itself would be carried out by night. While he had no reason to distrust or suspect Nils’ intentions, the mechanic had strapped his pistol to his belt before setting out into town. The simple slug-thrower sat bouncing in its holster with every step, a weight he had never quite accustomed himself to.

    Lost in his own thoughts, Garrett jolted as he heard another set of feet walking not too far behind him. No door had opened or closed before the steps began, of that he was sure. The mechanic turned to greet the figure, pushing his paranoia aside; clearly someone wishing to attend the Memento like so many others. Before he could get beyond a glimpse of the silhouette it had rammed him into the alleyway to his right, forcing him to a wall. It paused for a brief moment, enough for Garrett to reach for his revolver.

    “Now now, none of that.” The figure spoke, voice oily and barely above a whisper. “Shooting me will not lessen my purpose, regardless of your temporary joy in the action. Listen to what a man has to say, and perhaps one can leave with his bloodline intact, no?”

    Garrett stammered.

    “Good. A man knows how to make one listen, quite easy given-”

    “Speak your damn piece.” The mechanic growled, hand retreating from the weapon at his side.

    The click of a retracting switchblade sounded and the man stepped forward. “My house of Venus has interest in this pìyǎn.” He made a vague gesture, knife still in hand. “Would one wish to stand in the way of my noble house? If so, do speak before potential issues need arise.”

    “How would I get in the way of what you yín chóng want? Ain’t nothin’ but a lowly mechanic workin’ his trade.” Humility had often earned him little more than a single glance.

    The man chuckled, low and echoing in the dark, smelling alleyway; the sound left a chill in Garrett’s veins. Relish mingled with a grim amusement into that sound and again the man took a step forward, barely within the light of a nearby flickering wall-mount. All that was visible now came in the form of a pale face cast in intense shadows, the flickering light making him as if he had wandered out of a campfire tale.

    “You have ties with the military, with criminals, with the people of this town. You are a threat to my noble house, one we do not wish to deal with. Do not worry, your shop will be kept and you may even work it so long as you work through us. We will become your source of employment so long as you work for our cause. Anything short and your loyalties will be questioned.”

    “And that would entail?” The old man questioned dryly.

    “Ah, of course! Where are my manners?” The man stammered at his own faux paus, entirely ignoring the question. “I am Vladimir Heyette.”


    “I am fully aware as to who you are. One cannot live a week in this town and not hear of Garrett Warrens. Oh and how well respected the name sounds, a shame if that were to change, no? A shame to see one live to your age and lose his good name.” At this the man let out a tut tut and began to leave the alleyway.

    “And what if I shoot you right now?” Garrett questioned at the retreating figure, grabbing for his revolver.

    “Oh, but you won’t.”

    Then he was gone.

    July 23, 2166
    08:00 Standard Time
    The Last Memento

    “You nāozhǒng!” The angry voice cried out after the doors of the Last Memento slammed shut with hisses and clanks.

    “You’re letting other bastards pick your bones. I’m not the issue.” Garrett responded with a grunt, turning to face the source of the disquiet - Zona Harris, Nils Blackheart’s heiress and lapdog.

    “Oh, what’s that mean?” The young woman asked, clearly annoyed.

    The mechanic didn’t answer; he seemed too preoccupied with his drink to care. The furious Zona stomped over to the bar and sat herself next to him with a creak of rusty hinges from the stool’s swivel. From there, he could feel her eyes boring into him as she fumed and waited, hands curling into fists under the table. Chuckling, Garrett turned to her and rolled his eyes.

    “You’ve got some Orderly bastard scaring people off. This is your turf, so I can’t be blamed for bein’ late when you can’t even make sure I get there on time.”

    “Orderly? Gao yang jong duh goo yang…” She paused. “This‘ll be an interesting turn, but don’t really matter. We need you on the job, and I had to argue the go tsao de case to Nils all night. Can’t say no anymore.”

    After taking a long draft out of the mug before him, Garrett’s face contorted at the taste as he replied. “Got another idea. You send my pì jīng assistant out and I keep to my shop. No questions, dong ma?”

    Zona let out a sharp intake of breath, grabbing for Garrett’s mug as she pondered the offer. He made no move to stop her, and within the time it took for her to take three gulps, the liquid was gone. She paused after this, sliding the mug off to the side, the sound of glass scraping faux wood the only noise in the room. At last, biting her lip, the young criminal responded.

    “Dong ma.”