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Screaming Metal (Part 025)

by Made in DNA 3 years ago in science fiction

The trio of junk-mercs walk into a bar... or three.

Suen was visibly shaken. She was clearly not happy to be here, but perhaps more than that, she seemed confused.

"I don't understand," Suen said.

"If we walk into this bar, or perhaps even the one after, and everyone knows who we are, there could be trouble." Priyanka stated.

"If our assailants are keeping their own counsel, then there's a good chance we can mingle and pick up information."

"Remember, we're still scheduled for three more deliveries. If we can use that bluff, all the better. So keep a cool head."

Exiting the aircar, Priyanka led them into the bar, cautiously surveying the place as they took a table just off the entrance.

The Tender called a greeting without turning from his work behind the bar.

There wasn't another soul in the place until the harsh sound of a vac-flush heralded the entrance of a patron from the back.

An older gentleman, he was quickly gone with a nod to the Tender. He didn't even bother turning in the direction of Priyanka's group.

Priyanka ordered and paid for food and drink for trio. The Tender served them quickly and took their cash just as fast.

If he knew they were off-worlders, he neither indicated nor cared. As was his nature, he kept to himself, staying behind the bar unless called.

They ate in calm silence, thankful for the respite and the chance to eat something other than the prepackaged food aboard the Alley Cat.

After a quiet hour later during which no one else entered, they decided to move on.

The next two places were as quiet as the first, so the trio stayed for a drink and moved on without delay.

"There it is." Deshel stated over the commset as they rounded a street corner.

In the backseat Suen nodded as Priyanka turned to her for confirmation.

Ahead, a well-lit, large tavern with several vehicles and patrons seated on an outdoor balcony on the second floor.

"This is where you heard the Metal?" Priyanka asked.

Deshel's voice was clear, even without the commset. His face held a raw, hard expression – determination, regret, or maybe anger. "Yeah."

Deshel parked the aircar, and the trio took a collective deep breath and strode in.

Though far livelier than the first three places, it wasn't overly raucous. Laughter and conversation gave it a warm feel.

Priyanka was on-edge nonetheless, guiding her companions to a high-wall booth in the corner for a full-view of the place.

She looked around the room, listening carefully. "You said there was music."

Deshel nodded. "Yeah, there was. Maybe the Metal broadcast again and they shut it off."

Or perhaps it had all been a ruse, and there wasn't a point in continuing it now that the locals controlled the junkyard, she thought.

Ruse or not, if they were going to find answers – or trouble – this looked like the right place.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a server who set a small bowl of mixed nuts on the table. "Evening."

"Do you have a house drink?" Priyanka inquired.

"Yes, ma'am."

"Three, please." The server smiled pleasantly, nodded and was gone.

Ruse or not, if they were going to find answers – or trouble – this looked like the right place.

---

Part 025 marks the halfway point of the story; from here the plot will accelerate. Comments are extremely welcome. Though edited, there is always room for improvement as long as readers are willing to supply their voice. Please, let me know how I'm doing. Finally, keep an eye out for a collected version of Parts 001 - 020, still free, of course.

science fiction
Made in DNA
Made in DNA
Read next: Understanding the Collective Intelligence of Pro-opinion
Made in DNA

The not-yet bestselling, non-award winning author of work you haven't read yet!

Work spans various genres -- scifi, weird, non-fiction, opinion, life in Japan. Adult titles all under "Filthy".

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