Monday, April 4, 2011

In Coromaur's Debt - Part 3.

Conscious gradually crawled it's way back to the luckless Lobain only to provide him with a puzzling situation. He was setting in a non-descript steel chair, his hands and feet completely immobile, bound tightly with plasteel bands. As his vision cleared he tried to make sense of his surrounding, but the only thing in the room he now occupied was the chair, himself, and a mounted vid-screen on the wall. Was he even still on the outpost, or had he been turned over to an A.D.U. transport? At least he was alive, by the tribes, that alone was a blessing. Especially considering the penalties he had witnessed in some systems for being engaged in a bar fight.

Chirping the vid-screen came to life, displaying the face of Gideon Coromaur. Pale, with no distinguishable sign of age Coromaur's visage was unknown to his captive. But his regal posture and prismatic gaze froze the Lobain in place as he began to speak. "Greetings, my young friend. Jonathan is the name is it not?" With only the subtlest pause, Coromaur continued his eloquent  monologue. "It appears you now find yourself at my mercy. That was quite the rampage you took part in back there, you managed to shut my pub down for an entire 5 minutes. As a man of business I must now seek means to recoup that lost revenue, and as a perfectly sensible fellow, I am sure you can agree."

Seizing the opportunity, the Lobain jumped at the chance to interrupt. "Whoa, pal, first off; nobody calls me Jonathan. I don't know how you managed to root up my name, but folk's call me Viper. Secondly, I didn't start that fight, those other two did. So why aren't they in here playing chatty-cathy with you instead?" Viper was sure he was dangling on a hook here, but he didn't have to like it. If this might lead to him getting out of trouble, he was going to take it, there was no way he was going back to a outer rim penal colony. 

The faintest half grin started to form on Coromaur's face before being brushed aside to return his mask-like features. "Well, Viper," he spat the word with a just enough contempt to still seem the hospitable host. "You would do well to give those two a wide-berth should you ever cross paths again. While you managed to shut down my pub for a mere five minutes, those two have managed to not only shut it down for days. Once, they even managed to shut the entire outpost down for a week for repairs. They happen to be regulars here, but I digress. My revenue has been disrupted, and that must be rectified. I cannot allow a single moments loss in profits or quickly the whole machine will fall apart."

"You however, are here enjoying this pleasant conversation, because I have an idea as to how we may square your debt and be mutually beneficial. Believe me, I always find a way to balance the books, so if there aren't any further interruptions, I would like to proceed with my offer. I do have a schedule to keep, there are pressing and delicate transaction I must see to, this outpost won't run itself you know. That is, of course, if you don't mind?" Coromaur paused, strategically to maintain his image of the hospitable host. Viper nodded, trying to ingratiate himself as best he could.

"Uh, sure thing, but what do you need the likes of me for? I mean, I doubt you have a Bioid toyslave or Type II replicant you need me to deliver or something. It's your place though, right? So, shoot, I'm all ears."

A singular image replaced Coromaur's face on the screen; a rotating black box. "This unremarkable package measures 3 inches by 6 inches by 1 inch, and bears no distinguishing characteristics save that of a single jack port. I have arranged for you to intercept it's transportation in order to re-route it to a subsidiary of mine. A simple courier job, nothing dangerous, and you will be provided with all the appropriate documentation. In exchange I offer to excuse your debt to me for lost revenue and compensate you to the sum of, shall we say, a thousand Regals. Or do you prefer New Republic credits?"

Unable to hide the hunger in his eyes, Viper did his best to seem above such simple jobs. "Well, I suppose I could take something on for you, to repay your generous hospitality. But, I couldn't possibly take anything on for less than 1200, plus operating expenses that might arise. And I would need that in hard coin, don't insult us both by even offering credits. Neither one of us want our finances public record for anybody to query whenever they got curious."

In a theatrical gesture Coromaur clapped his hands together, emphasizing his agreement. "Done. I must warn you though, this cargo, while innocuous, comes with a single caveat that must not be broken. Under no circumstances is the item to be analyzed, examined, tampered with or inspected in any way. It must arrive to my associates untouched and intact. If anything were to happen to it, well let us say I have other retainers that I can call in to trace you down. Ones that would make your previous acquaintances pale in comparison."

The haunting memory of the Pathenian's sneer and the Altain's glare sprang back to the forefront of Viper's mind. If there was anyone who could eclipse them, he did not want to meet them. Gulping he lowered his head and nodded agreement. "Good, pleasure doing business with you my new young associate. The information will be provided you shortly, in the mean time, prepare yourself. This task must be completed with the utmost urgency."

Something about how Coromaur said 'newest young associate' bothered Viper. Somehow it ruffled his fur, hopefully this would be just an easy courier run. As the plasteel restraints fell off him, he wasn't quite sure what he was getting himself into. But he desperately needed those funds, and a debt is a debt.