Looking down the barrel of a gun was not something new for Marek, but it was certainly not a position he liked to find himself in too often. The Constipated Dalek Saloon had a varied and interesting clientele, but relationships with one particular patron had deteriorated rapidly and, as conversation took a turn for the negative, a disruptor pistol had appeared at the end of his nose.
"...and I told you I wanted another drink," continued the cyborg menacingly, his one mechanical eye shining redly with laser light as he reiterated his limited but somewhat insistent argument.
The forked end of the barman's tongue flicked out over his lips, tasting the air and betraying his nervousness as he considered his somewhat limited options.
"Alright old son, no need to get tetchy now," said Marek, recovering his poise and reaching for another bottle of spirits. He unstoppered the bottle of whisky, poured another glass and relaxed as the hulking form who stood on the other side of the bar lowered the weapon, noting as he did that the ‘borg’s natural eye was almost as red as his artificial one due to the effects of the amount of whisky that he'd drunk since his boss had slid regally under a nearby table.
The weapon was still clamped firmly in the metal fist of the cyborg as he drank and Marek thought it best to keep him talking rather than give his limited brain time to think. He had listened to enough of the earlier conversation between him and his now unconscious boss to determine much of his recent history, and estimate his intelligence level at somewhere around that of dried pasta.
Plekk; a mercenary who had only recently landed on the desert moon of Anpalaar and bodyguard to the unconscious and drunk lord who he served, and who was slumped in inglorious slumber in a puddle of his own vomit nearby. Even if he had not overheard the earlier conversation, Marek would have been fairly certain the 'borg's name was Plekk as he’d had it helpfully tattooed across his forehead in reverse, presumably so he could read it in the mirror, although he suspected that his lips would still move while he was reading it.
"You do know those are illegal in this colony don't you?" he noted, reaching for another glass and feeling more relaxed as the cyborg slid his weapon into its concealing casing embedded in his leg armour.
"You think someone is going to stop me?" he snarled belligerently.
"Ah, I take it you haven't met our local officer of the law yet then? The Sheriff usually takes a slightly sarcastic view of lawbreakers, tending toward the blunt side of law enforcement.
“For example, I happen to know your boss, the Lord Vaalk there, is wanted for killing a man in a Crask game on Vladimir 4. If the Sheriff catches him, the law here allows your boss to be executed on the spot, which I presume is why he’s hired you for protection.”
Plekk looked momentarily puzzled and Marek carried on conversationally.
“Ah, perhaps your employer forgot to mention that little detail. If you’d like a piece of advice, perhaps you should leave the drunk, seek out the Sheriff and hand him in for the reward. That’ll put you in the clear, and give you a little more spending money. I don't mind giving you a hand to tie him up if you want me to and we can share the dosh then too.”
“No.” The answer was dealt in a flat monotone. “I have taken commission; I will see the job through to the end. Plekk is man of honour.”
‘…and three remaining brain cells’ thought Marek to himself, hoping that they would manage to leave quietly before…
‘Frakk!’ his eye caught the movement in one of the many screens that sat to the right of him, the picture showing the Sheriff striding swiftly towards the Saloon. He pushed a button and a small cleaning bot whisked busily from a panel in the wall to clean up the vomit on the unconscious Lord Vaalk’s clothes and floor around him. If the Sheriff wanted to take him in at least he’d be clean and he might act as a diversion to Marek’s other somewhat shadier business practices. He tapped a couple more buttons and a holofield shimmered to life, disguising a small trapdoor in the floor by the back of the bar.
YOU ARE READING
Orion's LawShort Story
A spacewestern short story. All Marek wants is a quiet life in his saloon, but a cocktail of cyborg, drunken criminal lord, the local Sheriff and a few of the Dalton clan turns out to be a volatile mix... A spacewestern based on four photos for Forb...