Chapter 02: The Journey

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Drake was getting dressed. Trent sat on his bed, smoking, staring off into space.

"So, what do you think?" Drake asked as he cinched the belt on his jeans.

"Seems shady," Trent replied.

Drake laughed. "Yeah, that much is obvious. Shitload of creds, won't tell us any details. But apparently we'll be working with a team. I wonder if it's anyone we've worked with before."

"Dunno. Maybe, maybe not. I guess it depends on their motives, what they want. Which company do you think it is?"

Drake slipped on a t-shirt. "Might be one of the mining corporations. They're usually the ones who stake claims out at the edge of known space. Maybe they dug something up and they want a team of tough guys to make sure it gets to where it's going."

"What bugs me is...why hire us at all? If it's a big secret, why not send the company mercs out to do it?"

Drake began lacing his boots up. Trent decided it was time to get packed. He stuck the cig in his mouth, turned and began putting his belongings back into his duffel bag. It was the only thing he carried. Both men agreed traveling light was for the best.

"You send company mercs, you draw attention, maybe. Harder to hide it when it's within the company," Drake replied.

"No it isn't. Company mercs keep their mouths shut. Guys like you and me blab."

Drake seemed to consider that for a moment. Trent finished up, then turned to look at him. His partner was already packed and ready to go, but he had a troubled look on his face. Trent shouldered the bag, shifting it into place.

"Well?" he asked.

"The difference between freelance mercs and company mercs is...fewer people ask questions when the freelance mercs die," Drake said finally.

Trent frowned, staring at him. "You think they're going to take us out there and kill us?"

"Once we get the job done, that's always a risk."

"Should we back out?"

Drake shrugged. "Two million is two million, though dead men can't spend good money. However, when have we ever not been able to out-think the corporations?"

Trent considered it, then grinned. So, a challenge, then. "Okay, let's do it."

* * *

With nothing but their clothes and duffel bags, Trent and Drake walked into Gibson Station's main hangar. Sergio had given him a ten digit number to contact him on. When Trent had made the call, Sergio had given them a docking number in the main hangar and told them to be there as soon as possible. With something like regret, Trent had called up Marie and told her he'd found a job. She'd been less than thrilled and had hung up on him.

Trent frowned as he and Drake waited to be scanned through security. The whole notion was honestly a joke, and Trent imagined most of the security personnel's creds came from mandatory bribes. But Gibson Station was technically run by law-abiding citizens, so they had to at least put on the bare basics of a show.

His headache still lingered somewhere in the background of his skull, and the cacophony of voices and bright lights started to bug him. He just wanted to be on whatever ship they were boarding and take a nap.

A sharp, rapid beeping caught his attention. Drake had just stepped through a scanner and suddenly two beefy security guards appeared in front of him. Trent sighed and stepped through the scanner as well.

"Don't move," one of them said. They both had their pistols out, and Trent spied another half-dozen security guards around.

"What's the problem?" Drake asked.

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