OOC ___________________________________________________________________________ Rick tapped a cigarette out of the pack before placing it in his mouth and lighting it. He took a drag and sat on the windowsill and looked through the broken pane at the reflection of a magnet train in the canal below as it buzzed across one of the many bridges that crossed the waterways of New Tong-Li. The echo of sirens slowly became audible and Rick glanced over at the body lying face down on the floor of the room. His stomach sank every time he looked at her, the newer androids looked too human, he hated killing them. This one was made to look like a young Chinese woman, about 20, her dark lifeless eyes stared blankly at the tattered old carpet, if it wasn’t for the tangle of wires and bare metal in the wound in her back it would be easy to mistake her for a human. Looking back out of the window at the glowing neon town that stretched out before him he took another drag from his cigarette before standing and sighing. Walking to the android’s body he searched her pockets and put the contents on the stained coffee table; a Martian money card, various pieces of paper with dates and locations written on them and single key which Rick knew to be for the apartment door. Taking the key he unlocked the door and left it slightly ajar before returning to the window sill and looking out. He heard the cops long before they entered, their boots pounding on the stairs and down the hall. Turning he inspected the pair as they entered both were Chinese Martians, the younger of the two was overweight and his face was red and his breathing heavy when he entered having just climbed three flights of stairs to get to the apartment. The older man, who Rick took to be the superior officer, had silver hair and the face and demeanour of a seasoned lawman. They inspected the scene in silence before the older man approached Rick. “Mr Dravot is it?” The lawman asked. “It is.” Rick replied before taking a drag and blowing smoke in the man’s direction. The lawman looked at the android on the ground then kneeled beside it and pulled its head up to look at the face. “That’s the one alright,” He said standing. “Shot her in the back did you? Fitting for a bottom feeder like her.” He chuckled at his own joke, Rick remained silent. “Well I suppose you’ll want your bounty, three thousand xen.” “Hold on a minute, the Network said the reward was in gals, I don’t want to have to change Martian plastic for real money when I leave this cess pit.” Rick cut in, Martian Xen had been nearly worthless on other planets since after the war, the galactic currency Galileos or “Gals” were the most robust and widely used currency these days. “Stop wasting my time and give me real money.” The lawman give an irritated sigh, he was likely going to keep the gals to himself and use xen from his own pocket in exchange, it was a common scam since the end of the war. “Okay then, one thousand gals it is.” He reached into his coat pocket and handed Rick and envelope. Rick opened it and checked the contents, the blue polymer bank notes were all in denominations of one hundred and Rick quickly counted them before putting them in his coat pocket. “We’ll take it from here.” The lawman said and Rick took it for what it was, a dismissal, and walked out of the apartment and down the dilapidated hallway, down the even more dilapidated stairwell and out into the street. Glancing back up at the window he had gone through earlier in the night. A pang of guilt hit him, he wished he hadn’t had to shoot her in the back. If she hadn’t gone for that gun he would have likely been able to take her without having to shoot her. Likely she would have been taken in and had her memory wiped and her AI rebooted or even rebuilt from scratch. He couldn’t work out what was worse, being shot in the back or having your whole mind and personality erased and replaced. As he contemplated it began to rain and his mind snapped back into focus, putting up his collar against the steady downpour he headed down the empty streets until he reached the magnet train station. Looking up and down the platform he could see he was alone, few people walked the streets this late at night but it was unusual to be alone anywhere on any planet these days so Rick took a few moments to enjoy it before the magnet train buzzed into the station. The automated carriage came to a halt in front of him and the doors slid open, he entered and sat down among the scattering of other late night passengers. The doors closed and the train engines whirred and the carriage lurched into motion along the magnet rail. It didn’t take long to reach the station at the dock where The Harlequin had been left while they worked. Stepping out onto the platform he walked back out into the rain and made his way down the dock, this part of the city was never empty. The neon signs of bars lit up the faces of the prostitutes, thugs and lowlifes that seemed drawn to space ports. The crews of some of the ships weren’t much better either, he picked out uniforms of some of the larger trading companies and some smaller ones that he didn’t recognise, there were even some off-duty Martian military pilots. Rick was largely ignored as he made his way through the throng, except for the occasional prostitute trying to get his trade and the occasional drunk attempting to say something to him but not quite managing it through their drunkenness. Eventually he found row F where the Harlequin had been moored. Stopping briefly at the Network terminal located at the side of the road he tapped the screen and looked at the active bounties in the city, no new names had been added but the droid he had just decommissioned was still there. “Tang Yan,” Rick said aloud as he looked at the droid’s picture. It occurred to him, not for the first time, that decommissioning droids was the lowest form of work he had ever had to do. While he understood that rogue droids were an inherently bad thing he couldn’t blame them for wanting to escape a life of servitude. Some droids were used in terrible ways, it was no wonder that if they gain self-awareness they want to run. Rick felt anger at himself for feeling guilt at shooting a rogue android. “You’re going soft,” he said quietly to himself. Turning off the terminal screen he walked down the row of ships of all shapes and sizes until he reached the Harlequin. It was a middle sized former cargo vessel and it had been his home for some time now. Punching numbers on the keypad beside the small crew door he waited as it slowly slid open before ducking inside and pressing the button to close it behind him. Looking around at the cargo bay he looked his ship, the Viper over briefly before walking into the ship proper. “Is anyone here?” Rick called out into the corridor.