"I can’t believe this…he’s wasted…on walnuts…again…
“Harrrry!” This time the appellation was accompanied by a dainty (she was so small it could only be described as a dainty) kick.
"Arabella. He made another run to Amarr, with those designer drugs of his, didn’t he? Didn’t he!
"And now he’s wasted, and we can’t go clubbing in 'Dixie, cause he’s wasted. I can’t believe this, except for, I can, cause hedoesthiseverysingletime…
"He probably auto-piloted through Niarja, on his way home!
“Oooooh why couldn’t Smurfy have podded him!!!”
"What do you mean Summer is on break! She’s not in a union, she’s a locator agent, she’s suppose to…to…locate! Twenty-five minutes…more, more…is she serious?
"Okay, okay, fine, fine, twenty-four minutes more. What about that guy in Eglennaert, Celync what’s his name?
"Level Two. Are you sure? I thought he was moving up, lvl 2 only gives me what regional?
"That won’t do. That won’t do at all.
"Oh fucaroo starcakes…
“I’m going to clubbing without that…that… meat popsicle!”
(A small, some might say dainty smile appears.)
“Waiiiiittttt…I know exactly what I’m going to do with that meat popsicle!”
Somewhere in Vylade a shriek reverberated, “Harrrrryyyyyyyyyyy! Where did you set your medical clone!”
“Mini, you look down.”
“I am, Ed. That meat popsicle… got wasted…on walnuts…again.”
“Harry? Harry got wasted on walnuts?”
(Dainty grimace.) “Again. Aaannnnnd, I wanted to go to 'Dixie and have a drink; so I decided to pod Harry. Get him in a new clone and go.”
“Ed!!!” (Her delicate little stiletto-heeled foot stamped, this time.)
“So, I podded him, but he’d changed his clone bay, and I don’t know where it is, and now he’s gone, and I don’t know where to look, except for some dive with dancers, and I’m boooooorrrrreeeed.” (Tiny pout.)
“Oh, no you don’t.”
“Don’t? Don’t what! You don’t even know what I’m going to say!”
“You were going to bat your eyelashes in about two seconds and con me into taking you over to 'Dixie and buy you some spirits.”
“So?” Quafe smile flashing. “What’s so bad about that? You’d be with a fabulous woman, going to 'Dixie. Surely, there are worse fates.” (Batting those eyelashes.)
“Ohkay, okay” laughing, “okay, Mini. I’ll buy you a drink in 'Dixie.”
“Eddddddddddddddd, you’re the best.”
“Edddddddddd, what is this place?”
“The Boom Boom Room.”
One dainty eyebrow rose, “The Boom Boom Room?”
“Yes, The Boom Boom Room, it’s a place for haulers, miners, assorted others.”
“Did you just snort?”
“I’ll have you know I never snort…ooooooeeeeeeeeee, the table’s sticky. What sort of place did you bring me to, EDDDDDD, even haulers like clean tables.”
“Look, Mini, I’m meeting a guy here, and it’s less suspicious looking if I’m with a woman. And a woman that looks like you attracts all kinds of attention…attention away from me.”
Mini looked mollified, “Oh, right, gotcha, Harry does stuff like that too, all the time. So, am I suppose to be ditzy?”
Ed gaped, as if the thought of Mini being ditzier than she was normally had temporarily stunned him. “No, your usual ditz will be…fine.”
Mini’s Quafe smile hit ultra wattage, “Oh, hihi,” she said to the servo. “I’ll have a sunspot, he’s paying.”
“Make that two sunspots.”
“So, who’s this guy we’re meeting?” The eyelashes went berserk.
“You can quit batting those things at me, you know. By the way, are they real?”
This time Mini definitely did snort, “Of course they’re real, Ed. What sort of a question is that!”
“Accepted. Sooooooo, who are we meeting?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got that part. What’s he do?”
“He’s a miner.”
“Oh, yeah? Where’s he work?”
“In Sinq, on the border of the 'Tweens.”
“Well, that’s… informative, not. The 'Tweens covers a lot of territory.”
“Look I don’t wanna say.”
Mini finally sensing a story, asked “Why not?”
“Cause his boss has been building ships.”
“Ships going though the Pipe, down to Amarr, somewhere.”
Mini sat up “They build ships in Amarr.”
“And, keep track of them, too,” Ed added somberly.
Ed stood, “Tom…Mini…Mini, Tom.”
“Whoa, tone that thing down girl, a smile like that could blind a guy.”
“I like your friend, Ed. So, Tom, whacha up to? Inquiring minds want to know,” Mini grinned.
Tom pulled up a chair. He looked around, trying to make the glance casual; but there was a tense urgency about it. “It went down in here, two nights, ago.”
Ed shot a preventative “keep your mouth shut” glance at Mini, before asking, “And?”
“I was in here having a drink when The Fixer walked in. That merc she hangs with came in a couple, maybe ten minutes later.”
“What happened then?”
“What do you think happened? Brass bands? Who knows? All, I know is if The Fixer and that Merc show up bad things happen…to someone, sooner or later. Oh lord.”
Ed and Mini turned to look in the direction Tom was facing. A smartly dressed woman was just entering the bar. Mini looked her over closely, the woman was wearing a one of a kind outfit, which in a society where everything could be and was, almost certainly, replicated, owning an original anything was a mark of status, finances and power. The woman went to stand at the bar and slowly turned to face the room, sticky didn’t seem to bother her.
“And…there’s the other one, The Merc.”
The Merc was tall, really tall. Black hair, black eyes, his face was average, except for the scar. It was the kind of scar you got in a knife fight. He moved to join the woman at the bar.
The time, Mini said it for Tom, “Oh double Lordy. There are two of them.”
The second man was almost a twin of the first. No scar on him, though. He joined the first two at the bar. The bartender jerked a thumb toward the back, and the three headed off; but, the woman stopped, fixed her eyes on Mini, and mouthed, “I read your stuff.”
Then, she winked, before disappearing into the back, of The Boom Boom Room.