Episode One - Part FourMature

Episode One: Liberty for All, Part Four

Jonathan Alenko

There was this place, on the corner of first and Amistad, used to be a large textile factory, provided work for over a thousand drones, working twelve hours a day for shiz wages paid in corporate scrip. The workers tried to strike and soon there was Sec'star riot control in the place, they had sub-machine guns against bricks; didn't end well. a half-hundred dead and more arrested.

The strike ended quickly when the, redundantly named, Liberty Liberation Force firebombed the corporation's offices and manufactures. In a few hours, it was all reduced to nothing but ashes and twisted metal. The nearby part of town hadn't survived either, it slowly transmogrified into slums.

The chainlink fence that surrounded the plant had long ago been town down and the gate was down onto the concrete. Scavengers and squatters had long ago claimed the building and nothing remained but piles of junk, make shift tents and cardboard beds.

"Is it really here?" Markov asked, looking around. A handful of people looked at us, or more accurately at the cybered up beast that he was, either going back into their housing or slipping by the back door.

"That's where the client asked to meet us." I affirmed, sitting down on a punch of paddles that had been stacked, a sheet of dust set over it. A fire burned in a barrel nearby, making the heat even harder to bear and filling the air with the smell of chemicals burning.

Catherine and Markov stayed vigilant, the latter still relaxed while the former gripped her Damocles Manhunter tightly, the double barrel shotgun aimed at 45 degree toward the floor. A half-hour, a quarter pack of cigs and a water bottle later, another group came in.

"Mr Jackson!" I hailed him, raising a hand but keeping the other close to my coat's opening, ready to draw in case it didn't turn out well. I jumped down, raising a small cloud of dust in the air. The locals slowly began moving away, leaving us all in peace. 

"Mr. Drew, I presume?" He said, using the second most common name in liberty, which was part of the whole illicit deal protocol. "Tell me, you've got my package."

"Right here." I walked toward the crates and popped the first one open. Revealing a set of small weapons. I took one out, checking the clip and chamber for rounds, they were empty, before walking closer and handing the SMG to the man.

First rule of selling weapon; don't get shot with your merchandise.

"Halberd PD50, comes with a collapsible stock, integrated suppressor, adjustable red dot sight for visible and infrared spectrum, night vision reflex sight. As you can see, it's spec-ops issue, it doesn't carry any serial and it's ballistic markings won't be in any database."

Mr. Jackson fiddled with the weapon a bit, feeling the weight, looking down the sight and opening the stock. 

"Capacity of 50 bullets, they're auto capable. The high velocity bullets can go through  armor that don't employ heavy ballistic plating easily."

"You're a good salesman Mr. Drew." He said, looking satisfied at the merchandise. "Where did you get this merchandise?"

"A wreck floating in Novus space, was a few years old, but not too damaged, their engine went critical, left them stranded and well, dead. They destroyed their logs rather than have them be captured, so hell if I know what they were up to. The operation was clean, nobody spotted us and those guns aren't hot goods."

"How much units are we talking about."

"Two boxes of twenty, they come with four spare magazine each. Four hundred scrip a piece, like we agreed."

He turned back to the other and I kept my eyes on his hands, waiting for any negative signals. He whispered to another, I didn't need to look, but I could feel Catherine and Mark getting tense. The LLF wasn't exactly popular and known for it's business ethics.

He finally turned back, and the man on his left handed him a bundle of polymer bills stacked together. He quickly counted it before slobbing it my way. I grabbed the money and looked at it.

"Wait, what's this shit?" I asked, looking back up. "This is Xenocorp scrip. We agreed on Liberty Scrip." The bills although they were made of the same material, bore the Corp's logo and moto instead of the founder's mug. '

"It's worth just as much, I even marked it up by twenty percent." He said.

"To someone on Liberty, maybe, but I can't walk around swinging twenty thousand Xenos and having nobody notice. Nobody gets this much without being bribed or through illegal deals if he isn't a high placed drone."

I saw his jaw tighten, he wasn't happy. "The deal's off." I declared.

"You will take the money and say thank you, space boy. You'll walk away and feel happy for having helped the citizen of liberty fight back against oppression. Do you hear me."

I walked toward him and slammed the bills down his hand. "You've got a lot of fucking nerves, you know that. First you practically beg me for the opportunity, then you try to scam me and now you try to intimidate me?"

I moved faster than he could react and I slipped the Halbert Twelve-Seven from inside my coat, slinging smoothly out of the expensive quickdraw holster and placed it right against his chin.

"You're going to take your money and kindly fuck yourself with it." I whispered to him as everyone raised their weapon. 

"Say, do you think your boys can shoot faster than a wired ex-marine, go ahead, try us..."

I could smell the sweat coming down from him at that range, his hands shook a little and his eyes were fixed on me. The bastard was scared. Maybe he wasn't used to people not folding down to his bullying.

The End

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