“All right, dear sirs,” said Escobede rubbing his hands, “This is my domain. Relax and watch a professional at work.”
“Well,” said Maxim, “You're no longer a pirate, remember?”
“In case something suddenly goes wrong, we have Kaa,” the privateer nodded at an intelligence officer that stood as straight as a column.
“Guys, what if I get tired of saving you?” Kaa asked without a shadow of emotion.
“That surely would be unpleasant news,” Escobede smiled.
“We have arrived, sir,” said Sandro calmly.
Four humans entered the casino hall, godforsaken and filled with tobacco smoke. The pirate station lived its usual life. Astronauts drank and gambled. A pair of holographic strippers danced on the stage. Someone had his face wrecked in the corner. Loud melancholic music sounded from nearly-dead speakers. A daily routine.
“Just for reference,” said Kaa, “We got noticed.”
“I know,” Fernando replied.
“And you are not a welcome guest”.
Four humans walked towards one of the corners.
“Why the hell did you show up?” a vocabulator croaked, translating the words of a shork boatswain, that stepped out of the crowd in front of them. A large group of pirates started to surround the four humans. Sandro slowly unbuttoned the holsters. Cossack put his hand on the beamer. Kaa defiantly ignored the horde. Fernando seemed to stay in great mood. He took off his coat of arms, detached the plasma sword from the belt, threw them to one of the thugs and patted the shork on his snout.
“Kruzu, you what, lost weight? Predator, you don’t feed your subordinates at all!”
A gloomy man in an old pressure suit and a worn broadbrim continued to look at the visitors.
“Do not stare at me like that, Kruzu,” Fernand raised his hands, “We are old friends. Have I ever wronged you?”
Shork twitched his cheek on which he carried a sign of an old argument with the Asteroid Fox.
“Oh come on, that’s over and done with.”
“Shut up already, scum,” Finally said Predator.
The grizzled space wolf did not raise his eyes and two companions that sat at his table tried to become as much invisible as possible. Predator turned around and put an eltofa power saber on the table: a good weapon with an ornate hilt and a long cavity to make the blade lighter.
“Scum, that’s what you are," repeated the Predator. Cheap servomotors of his artificial leg hummed with power. “You think you’re tough shit now? Coming here wearing your father’s coat of arms, like all of a sudden you’re so noble and clean? Your beloved Empire will feed you to the zurgs the moment it’s bored of you. Do you know why you are still alive? Cause I haven’t decided yet if I want to choke you myself or order the boys to tear you apart.”
“That’s one hard choice,” smiled the dark-haired young man, “I know.”
“You betrayed our brotherhood,” croaked the shork's vocabulator, “You sold us.”
“You would have sold me just as fine,” Fernando parried and looked at Predator’s table, “Who is there with you? They’re kja... sooo... Let me guess: captains Rifttail and Croosgil. My respects, gentlemen.”
Fernando mocked a curtsy, looking out from under the shork’s hand.
“So,” said Fernando, getting a flash drive out of his pocket, “I have a proposal for you, fine sirs and swashbuckling specialists.”
Predator looked in front of him, but both kja shook their heads. Thirst for profit is a common feature of all pirates. Finally, even Predator could not hide curiosity.
“And you think somebody’ll listen to your bullshit?” Asked Predator, “Or is there something that will stop us from taking that thing out of your cold hand?”
“There is,” Kaa answered instead of Fernand.
This short phrase sounded silent, on the edge of audibility amidst the noise of the hall. But everyone got crushed by it as if a concrete wall fell down. Kruzu broke into sweat and the rest of Predator’s cutthroats made a couple of hesitant steps back.
“The hell was that?” Predator looked at the Asteroid Fox.
“So, now we’re talking?” harshly and no longer smiling asked the privateer of the Empire.
“Sit down,” Predator nodded at an empty chair.