Chapter 02: The Journey

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"You two have firearms on you," one of guards replied.

"Yeah, so?" Trent asked.

"You got permits?"

Trent sighed. He and Drake had never bothered with permits, because they were absurdly expensive and the kind of places they usually hung out in didn't bother asking for permits. He considered it for a moment.

"Fine, I get the message. How much do you want?" he asked.

"You think we can be bribed?" the other guard asked.

Trent hesitated. What was going on? This wasn't how it was supposed to go. He scanned the crowd again and saw nothing out of place.

"Well no shit, dumbass. I bribed you guys on my way in, hoping I wouldn't have to on my way out. This is a seedy, run-to-shit station in the middle of nowhere. You cater exclusively to criminals, mercs, and soldiers. Why do I even have to explain this to you?"

"I'm afraid you're going to have to come with us to the detention center."

Someone cleared their throat, garnering everyone's attention. Sergio and Sharpe stood on the other side of the security center.

"They're with us," he said.

"Whoop-de-fuck, I don't care, they have to go to the center," the guard replied.

Sharpe took a step forward and the pair of guards took a step back. Sergio held up a hand. "If you don't drop the matter, I'll have you all fired and burn your bank accounts to the ground. Do understand me?"

The guards glanced at each other, then back at Trent and Drake, then at Sergio. They sighed and stepped out of the way.

"Fine, get the fuck out of here."

The pair of mercenaries moved through the security checkpoint and joined Sergio and Sharpe. The four of them moved across the area, headed for one of the docking chambers. Judging by the security hanging around the entrance, Trent figured it to be a private bay. He tried to guess the name of corporation by studying the guards, but they wore bland black armor, free of logos or any distinguishing features.

"You don't have your permits?" Sergio asked.

"Fuck no. We're not pissing away two grand for two documents that say we can carry guns when we can carry them just fine," Drake replied.

"Huh, didn't know they cost that much," Sergio murmured.

"They do if you're a freelance merc," Trent said.

They moved past the guards and into the private bay. The roaring sound of the transit hangar was cut off abruptly as the door closed behind them, and Trent let out a small sigh of relief. He stared around the small but cozy bay. Everything was wipe-clean and shades of sterling white and chrome. The windows were smooth and pristine and clear. Each wall held a single airlock bay and there were a few more security guards inside.

"Why do you maintain a bay here?" Drake asked.

"None of your business," Sharpe said. It was the first thing she'd said to them. Trent had expected her voice to be deeper.

"I'm afraid I must agree with Sharpe," Sergio said, apologetically. "The fewer questions you ask, the better."

Trent stared out the windows near the airlock they were approaching. A sleek black ship waited for them just beyond.

"Whoa, nice ship. Like a space limo," he murmured.

The circular airlock doors divided into pie-slice segments as it opened up, individual pieces sliding into the walls. The quartet stepped into the bay and waited for it to cycle them through. The far door opened and they stepped in after an uncomfortable moment of relative silence. The interior of the ship was small, but comfortable.

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